Unions respond to the publication of the full TPP text

22 February, 2018: Yesterday the New Zealand government published the full text of the ‘Comprehensive Progressive’ Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement, which Australia and 10 other countries intend to sign on March 8 in Chile, along with a National Interest Analysis of the deal. As Fairfax’s Peter Martin writes, the Australian government will not release their analysis of the deal, done by the Department that negotiated it,  until after the signing ceremony. The government is still rejecting calls for an independent analysis.

However, NZ Council of Trade Unions (CTU) economist Bill Rosenberg says the New Zealand government’s analysis of the deal is ‘deeply flawed’. There is no analysis of health or environmental risks posed by the CPTPP, and it ‘assumes that working people will find new employment immediately when their jobs are displaced’. Mr Rosenberg says:

“Like previous studies, its estimates of gains in GDP are tiny - a one-off gain of between 0.3% and 1% of GDP in 16 years’ time. Even these small benefits are unlikely to be evenly spread. At the same time, citizens risk losing our ability to use government purchasing and our state-owned enterprises for the public good. We need to retain our ability to drive the economy towards higher wage, higher value industries like the local processing of New Zealand timber and other materials.”

The Australian Council of Trade Unions made similar criticisms of the CPTPP. ACTU Assistant Secretary Scott Connolly said the deal puts corporate profit ahead of jobs and wages and will allow companies to exploit more temporary migrant workers and allow foreign companies to sue the Australian government over domestic laws. Yesterday AFTINET called for independent studies of the economic and social impacts of the CPTPP, and for a Senate inquiry that can critically assess whether the deal is in the public interest.