The Maritime Union says the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) free trade deal is a threat to democracy in New Zealand.
Maritime Union General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says the current TPPA negotiations are a “thieves charter” that sell out workers and the environment to control by global corporate bosses.
Recent discussions at the APEC leaders forum in Hawaii showed that democratic issues and workers rights were at the bottom of the pile in the TPPA.
“There is no open debate, no public discussion, it’s all done behind closed doors, and will be kept under wraps for the next four years – longer than a New Zealand term of Government.”
Tangling New Zealand up in free trade deals means that global big business will have the right to sue the New Zealand people if they don’t get their way, says Mr Fleetwood.
He says this situation had already occurred overseas including Australia and Mexico.
“Let’s get it straight, free trade does not mean free people.”
Free trade deals and plans to privatize New Zealand assets by the National Government were a major threat to the future of New Zealand, says Mr Fleetwood.
“We will become tenants in our own land.”
Mr Fleetwood says that most New Zealander’s have not been told about what is in these agreements, and most MP’s wouldn’t have the first clue about what is going on either.
“We have to understand that this is not a one off. We are on the slippery slope and if we don’t start demanding answers from our politicians they will sell us down the river.”
He says in the TPPA negotiations the United States was already on the attack to try and undermine our right to give priority to enterprises owned by the New Zealand people.
Mr Fleetwood says that the labour problems in the fishing and maritime industries give a taste of what will happen if New Zealand is sucked into free trade deals.
“Big corporates from China have already indicated that want to get control of the supply chain, their plan is to buy up the mines, the agriculture, the land, the transport system, they have already tried to buy a port as they already own our shipping.”
“We will see more short term, casual workers brought in from low wage economies who are already being exploited in New Zealand. It already happens in the fishing industry and it is already moving onto land.”
The Maritime Union is backing the New Zealand Not For Sale campaign and endorses its demands that the New Zealand Government:
• cease negotiations on the Transpacific Partnership agreement; and
• not sign this agreement; and
• cease work on any other in-progress or proposed international trade and investment treaties containing clauses which limit or abrogate New Zealand’s sovereign and democratic right to make and enforce laws and regulations and provide services which differ from those of other states or transnational organisations.