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TPP... have we been duped?

13 April 2018

If you recall, Labour was anti-TPP.

They opposed the TPP on a number of points whilst in opposition yet, as soon as they formed a government in the wake of the last election, they did a 180 and came out in favour... even signing us up to this faux trade agreement.

They justified this about-face by claiming that the elements of the TPP which they disagreed with had been suspended.

Note the word "suspended".

The draconian imposition of US copyright provisions on NZers would now be suspended. The ability for foreign companies to sue the snot out of the taxpayer if our government did something/anything which adversely affected their ability to make a profit in this country -- and several other must obnoxious elements of the TPP were "suspended".

Now suspended is an interesting word. It means that these unwanted provisions were not struck-out, they were simply (and almost certainly temporarily) not going to be enforced.

That was easy to do because the USA, under direction of President Trump, had withdrawn from the whole deal.

But now Trump is reportedly reconsidering that decision.

If the USA does decide to rejoin the TPP then you can bet your bottom dollar that those suspensions will be lifted.

When it was first announced that these nasty elements of the TPP had been suspended rather than struck out, I was deeply suspicious that this was solely done to try and lure the USA back to the party and it looks as if I was right.

How will the Labour government explain away the fact that, if/when the USA rejoins, they've signed us up to exactly the same deal that, just a year or so ago, they were claiming was totally unacceptable?

Are Labour really so naive that they didn't see this coming?

Or are they just so clever that they spotted an opportunity to pull the wool over voters eyes and then try to blame it on circumstances beyond their control?

How do you feel about potentially waking up one morning to discover that those awful, draconian provisions of the TPP that we all feared so much are now in force and the term of copyright protection has been extended by another 20 years, effectively strangling the public domain of works whose copyright is set to expire shortly. It is anticipated that this will represent a cost of over $50m a year to the NZ public and impact adversely on institutions such as schools and universities.

You'll also find that cracking any kind of DRM or electronic content protection scheme becomes illegal (no more exemption to copyright for the purpose of media-shifting as is presently allowed in NZ) and region-free DVD players become contraband.

Yes, despite the promises of our beloved Prime Minister and the assurances of her government, I fully expect that if the USA shows any sign of returning to the TPP table, all those "suspended" elements will be used leverage to get Trump's signature on the line.

And what power does little old NZ have to stop this from happening?

Absolutely none.

I for one believe that if the "suspended" elements of the TPP are reinstated by the USA's entry then we should simply withdraw and if we don't, the people of the nation should march in the streets until we do.

What do readers think?

Are our politicians really so naive as to believe that the "suspended" elements of the TPP will not be reactivated by the USA's entry?

Doesn't this mean that either we have a government of naive muppets or one that knew full-well that those suspensions would be lifted yet signed us up anyway?

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