Archived News for April 2011

Tim Groser on Labour and the TPP

Here's Tim Groser, the Trade Minister, talking to the Americans about internal Labour party politics:

¶6.  (C) After asking his two DFAT advisors to leave the room, 
Groser opened what he termed a frank political discussion.  He 
outlined the political landmines that might befall any trade 
discussions with the U.S.  He described Opposition Leader Phil Goff 
as a man under "extreme pressure."  Goff himself is pro-U.S. and 
moderate, but there is an anti-U.S. component "at the fringe of the 
left wing of the Labour Party," which seeks to exploit 
opportunities to replace him.  Bringing the U.S. into the TPP could 
magnify anti-U.S. rhetoric.  If Goff remains opposition leader, he 
should be able to contain this potential.  However, if Goff fails 
and New Zealand is in the middle of negotiations with the U.S., you 
could suddenly see a "real anti-American element spring up." 
Groser emphasized that the New Zealand Government is trying to 
manage this process in a "mature way" so the opposition will be 
brought into the process early on to seek their buy-in.  Groser, 
however, expressed his confidence that Goff would remain at the 
head of the Labour Party and as opposition leader going into the 
next election. — 09WELLINGTON275

Two years later, I think the US negotiators have done enough to magnify anti-U.S. rhetoric themselves - they certainly didn't need any help from fringe elements of the left.

The EFF calls the TPP "a secretive, multi-nation trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property laws across the globe". Rick Shera calls the TPP "extreme" and "blatant negotiation bullying". David Farrar's position seems to be that the US playing hardball with our copyright legislation may make the weak trade concessions offered not worth it. These opinions are spread across the political spectrum, and they're signs of a growing consensus that we should be wary of the deal.

I certainly hope Groser no longer believes what he told the Americans.

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