Catholic and Anglican bishops call for openness over TPP

New Zealand’s Anglican and Catholic have asked the Government for more transparency about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) currently under negotiation.

This is so New Zealanders can better evaluate the trade deal’s implications, the bishops stated.

The bishops acknowledge the right and duty of any New Zealand Government to promote the nation’s trading opportunities.

And they are mindful that the well-being of New Zealanders depends on economic growth.

But the lack of transparency and public involvement on the TPP is a cause for great concern, the bishops stated.

“The sense of unease stretches across the community, and includes people in business, academics and unionists.

“Corporate interests are party to the TPP negotiations and able to exert influence in favour of their own interests, while the people are excluded.

“This leads to the belief that ordinary New Zealanders, and particularly those who are poorer, will be disadvantaged by the TPPA and all the benefits will accrue to those who already have considerable wealth.

“The bishops accept that secrecy may be the norm in ordinary trade agreements, but the TPP is more than just a trade negotiation.

“It has the capacity to reach into domestic economies, and to dictate what happens within a nation’s own political and legal systems.”

The bishops pointed to the parallel Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, where the European Commission has introduced measures to increase transparency and allow public scrutiny and consultation.

The bishops asked New Zealand’s Government to give serious consideration to making the draft text of the TPP available, so that New Zealanders “are able to evaluate for themselves, according to their own principles, the potential negatives and positives of the TPP”.

Last month, Bishop Charles Drennan joined a public protest in Palmerston North against the proposed trade agreement.


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