In September the Government took the country by surprise by announcing it was opening negotiations for a full blown Free Trade Agreement with the US. The US has been brought into negotiations to extend a two year old trade and investment agreement, the grandly named Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership – often known as the P4. An earlier proposal to open negotiations with the other current signatories Singapore, Chile and Brunei to extend the P4 into investment and financial services, and to invite the US to join, has become the means to open negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with the US, which will (among other things):
- Remove any remaining “restrictions” on foreign investment, as the US regards NZ’s (purely token) oversight regime as “discriminating” against US transnational corporations
- push up the price of medicines by potentially hundreds of millions of dollars a year by attacking Pharmac;
- make access to digital recordings more expensive, and copying more restricted;
- attack our GE controls and food labelling,
- weaken our controls on food imports where they might carry diseases.
New Zealanders concerned about this country getting back into bed with the US war machine will be disturbed by yesterday’s statement by Trade Minister Phil Goff: “One example of facilitating new opportunities for New Zealand exporters is in the US Territory of Guam, where US Marines are transferring to from Okinawa over the next five years. This involves contracts of around
$14 billion for work such as building and support services around the new base. A Free Trade Agreement with the US could allow New Zealand companies to bid directly for Defense Department projects”.
Both Labour and National myopically see a US FTA as being the Holy Grail of their adherence to the cargo cult of “free trade”. So it won’t be affected by the outcome of the election.
CAFCA is calling on other groups and individuals to join us in the campaign against this very dangerous proposal. As a first step we’ve set up the New Zealand Not For Sale Website www.nznotforsale.org There you will find a wealth of information about just why this proposed Free Trade Agreement is such a bad thing. We particularly recommend that you read Bill Rosenberg’s excellent article “Who Wins If We Get A Free Trade Deal With The US?” https://nznotforsale.wordpress.com/who-wins-if-we-get-a-free-trade-with-the-us/
And we’re asking all of you to write to MPs saying that you oppose this proposed deal and why. Below is a template letter (which is also downloadable from the Website).
Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa
Box 2258, Christchurch, New Zealand
Let your parliamentary representatives know what they should be representing!
Here is a template letter/e-mail to send to MPs and party leaders, opposing the extension of the P4 Free Trade Agreement to include the US and investment and financial services.
Real letters are taken much more seriously than form letters, so the draft letter below has some ‘mix and match’ options (in italics) to help you craft an individual letter without too much extra trouble.
OR you could just use the headings provided (in bold) to provide a logical structure for your letter, and say things entirely in your own words.
You can send free letters to MPs (no stamp required) to Parliament Buildings, Wellington; or email them in the standard format [firstname].[lastname]@parliament.govt.nz
Dear [MP/Party Leader]
What I am writing about and why I am writing about it.
I am writing to express my concern (I would like to express my concern/I am concerned/I am appalled/ I am very disturbed) that New Zealand and the US have agreed to start negotiating a Free Trade Agreement, which is to be done by means of extending the existing P4 trade and investment agreement with Singapore, Chile and Brunei to include the US and investment and financial services.
Information on New Zealanders opposing multilateral investment agreements
Are you aware/(do you know) that in the late 1990s there was a massive successful campaign across many sectors of New Zealand society against the proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI)? This showed a clear rejection of/ (a lack of support for/ a hostility to/ a dislike of) such agreements among the electorate.
What’s basically wrong with the proposed extended Free Trade Agreement
With regard to investment the proposed extended Free Trade Agreement is just a mini-MAI/ (just another kind of MAI/just as unwelcome as the MAI/just as bad as the MAI and should be opposed/rejected/stopped) for the same reasons as the original MAI. It will remove any remaining “restrictions” on foreign investment, as the US regards NZ’s (purely token) oversight regime as “discriminating” against US transnational corporations.
With regard to both financial services and investment, it will make it more difficult to prevent and protect ourselves against financial crises like the one currently crashing world markets.
With regard to trade it will: push up the price of medicines by potentially hundreds of millions of dollars a year by attacking Pharmac; make access to digital recordings more expensive, and copying more restricted; attack our GE controls and food labelling, and weaken our controls on food imports where they might carry diseases, and further restrict central and local rights to favour New Zealand made products.. And those are just some of its negative effects.
More information on what’s wrong with the proposed Free Trade Agreement
In case you are unaware of/ (do not know about/would like further information on) the proposed Free Trade Agreement and how damaging it would be to New Zealand’s best interests/(how it would lead to further economic exploitation of New Zealand/how it result in further loss of sovereignty) I have enclosed/ (I have attached – OR – here is a link to https://nznotforsale.wordpress.com/who-wins-if-we-get-a-free-trade-with-the-us/) a briefing paper by Dr Bill Rosenberg, an expert on overseas investment and trade issues.
Party policy and personal opinion on the proposed Free Trade Agreement
I would like to know/(could you please tell me/ I would like to be advised) what your party’s policy is on extending the P4 to include the US, investment and financial services..
Also, do you personally have any concerns about/ (are you personally bothered about) New Zealand being further exposed to foreign takeovers and speculative ‘investment’ if this Agreement goes ahead?
Express your opinion on the proposed Free Trade Agreement and MPs/parties that support it
(Optional – you might want to wait for a response to your questions first.)