“Making laws and making sausages are very similar. The public will generally consume the final result, but you wouldn’t want them to watch exactly how they are made.”
TPP minister Tim Grosser
The arrogance and contempt of this government has no bounds
This is a third term government and it knows that it is likely to be its last. They seem to have decided to go for broke. They are hellbent to push all sorts of policies through without any regard for the people of New Zealand. They have given up on us, the voter. Can you get any more patronising than Grosser talking about the secret negotiations of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) saying to Hilary Barry :
“We need adults to do this not breathless children to run off at their mouths when the deal is not actually (cl)inched.”
This statement and the thinking and attitude behind it deserve a closer look. And we have to keep in mind that Grosser just represents ‘official’ government thinking and attitude.
Winston Peters in a radio live interview put it rather succinctly talking about Grosser’s arrogance :
“Tim is the brightest trade minister the country ever had indeed the whole Commonwealth perhaps the whole world if you would listen to him.”
That Grosser and the government think they are the big know alls is only part of it. The other is the insult to the rest of us “breathless children” daring to ask questions or even question the whole deal and its secrecy.
We have to be thankful for this insult as it exactly describes how the government has been treating us. We cannot pretend any longer to be happy with anything going on with the TPPA if we – the voter, citizen, sovereign – are treated as children by our government. That cannot possibly be right. We should be owning the government not the other way round. So the theory of our democratic system goes.
Another word for how the government treats us citizens is the mushroom treatment, keeping us in the dark and feeding us (horse) shit.
The secrecy and lies around the TPP negotiations are unparalleled. We are told that these kind of agreement are always negotiated in secret, which is the first lie. It is not western democratic tradition to negotiate deals affecting all of us immensely in total secrecy from the citizens. It is unheard off that just one interested side sits at the table writing the text. They are the international corporations like big pharma, big agri(cultural) business (Monsanto), big US entertainment industry (Hollywood), big food/sugar/fizzy drink drink industry, big tobacco, big alcohol. The other interested parties are totally shut out and kept in the dark. These are the doctors, unions, environmentalists and others representing us as citizens, consumers, patients, workers and just ordinary New Zealanders wanting to enjoy a clean environment and to be able to swim in our rivers as our parents did.
Governments and corporations resort to secrecy not to deliberately make us suspicious and angry. They are forced to use this tactic as the only way to pass the deal in the hope that we are not looking.
Our Prime Minister who has some experience in telling lies to the people of New Zealand has now has the unenviable task to own up to his lies about the TPPA. Examples :
Up till now – Concerns about Pharmac and the price of medicines just scaremongering.
Now – The price of medicine will go up. Nothing to worry as you will not pay higher prescription charges just higher taxes.
The biggest lie seems to be calling the TPPA a “trade” agreement when only a minuscule bit is about trade. Most of it is about intellectual property rights, investment rules, internet freedom or how to curtail it. The most hideous bit being the right of overseas corporations to sue New Zealand in private overseas Kangaroo courts if they don’t like any policies or legislation regarding work safety, consumer protection, minimum wage, protection of the environment and the list goes on just by claiming that the legislation will negatively affect the bottom line of their investment.
We are sold this agreement with the promise of gains in (dairy) exports leading to the holy grail of all politicians “economic growth”, which turns out to be another lie.
US Govt Dept of Agriculture did an analysis of the benefits of the TPP Agreement to all the participating countries, in the best case scenario where all agricultural tariffs and trade related quotas were abolished. The benefit to NZ in 2025 ? Just 0.01% increase in GDP. Worth trading our sovereignty for an extra 0.01% of GDP in 2025 ?
Who is the ‘double-agent’ selling our country to the Americans ?
In his radio interview Winston went on to call Grosser “a double-agent against our interests – selling out our country to the Americans“. And Winston had some strong arguments for his strong words.
But who is the real ‘double agent’ betraying our country. Could it be the son of a refugee who doesn’t know New Zealand history (the country was colonised “peacefully”) ? He, who doesn’t remember his own position in our history (can’t remember which side he was on as a young student during the 1981 Springbok tour) ? He, who spend most of his working life overseas with one of the most odious gone bust banks on Wall Street ?
He, who as a “non-politician” was parachuted from Wall Street into New Zealand’s parliament ? He, who tries to sell the country to his corporate mates ? He, who still holds a US green card and will bugger off to his home in Hawaii or back to Wall Street as soon as his mission here is accomplished ? He, who by pushing the TPPA and surrendering our sovereignty to overseas corporations shows that he has no loyalty or allegiance to New Zealand ?
Look Winston, what you have done with your “double-agent” remark. You made us remember, think and question.
Which brings us back to the sausage, which you wouldn’t eat if you knew what was in it. Which means that what’s in it must be really bad. Comparing the TPPA with that sausage our trade tzar Grosser surprised us with honesty. “You don’t want to know what is in the TPPA otherwise you wont swallow it”. And he is treating us accordingly by keeping things secret from us.
At least we now know :
Don’t touch that sausage !
While writing I got the good news that for now no agreement had been reached. This was not unexpected as one of the non-agreements was over dairy.
I can already tell you the spin you will hear from government.
“We fought valiantly for the best possible deal and in the end rather walked away from a bad deal.”
The truth is different. In the end there was no deal on offer we could have walked away from. Members of our team told us that New Zealand did and was prepared to even more “compromise“, read sell out. But there was nothing on the table to submit to.
Still the government and the media will celebrate our brave trade minister for protecting our interests by not signing a bad deal.
Exactly the opposite from what happened.
In politics what counts is not the truth but perception.