TPPA free trade deal should be dropped

The Maritime Union is calling for the abandonment of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, describing the free trade plan as a “sell out to global corporations.”

Maritime Union General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says the great majority of New Zealanders and even our political representatives have little understanding of the implications of free trade deals like the TPPA.

“Free trade agreements such as the TPPA are giving global corporations more power to do as they want regardless of what is good for the majority of people.”

“Decisions that affect all of us are being made behind closed doors in free trade stitch ups.”

The Maritime Union is actively supporting a number of campaigns including TPPWatch and New Zealand Not For Sale that are calling for a halt to the TPPA and public accountability.

Mr Fleetwood says the free trade agreements harm the democratic rights of workers who make up the majority.

“These agreements are eroding democracy, in favour of control of our economy and society by powerful global corporations.”

He says that maritime workers work in the first globalized industry, the maritime industry, and understand what unregulated “free trade” means.

One example he says is the so-called “open coast” policy, that allows overseas owned and crewed vessels to carry New Zealand cargo between New Zealand ports, and which had devastated New Zealand shipping.

“As a result New Zealand is now a remote island trading nation that has allowed its shipping capability to be placed in jeopardy.”

The fishing industry had also had countless problems over the years with the abuse of overseas crew on overseas vessels fishing New Zealand waters.

Mr Fleetwood says the use of Flag of Convenience vessels and the creation of Ports of Convenience were a warning of where free trade deals could lead a small nation like New Zealand.

“One of the issues the Maritime Union has raised include the use of short-term cross border labour being used, which is becoming increasingly common around the world.”

“This is used to drive down wages and conditions and create a casualized, insecure workforce, hurting both the local workers and the imported workers.”

Other concerns of the Maritime Union include the privatization of assets such as ports and transport.

“New Zealand should be purchasing goods from local and public enterprises, and ensuring we maintain a balanced economy, with secure, high paid jobs.”

Mr Fleetwood says that New Zealand’s economy will always be based on trade, so the Union supported a system of global fair trade that worked to ensure secure jobs and balanced economic development.

He says there is a growing global movement against the deregulated free market and free trade policies that had caused economic disasters such as the global financial meltdown of the last several years.

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