TPPA will remove consumer rights
The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement is the biggest threat to consumer rights New Zealand has ever seen” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ.
Her comments come following the closure of the 15th round of TPPA negotiations at Sky City, Auckland recently.
Over a hundred and fifty protestors gathered at Sky City during the negotiations, to present a petition signed by 750,000 world citizens against the TPPA which organisers refused to accept. One of the implications of the TPPA, with regard to food, is that consumers will be denied the right to know what is in their food. “Current labelling laws will be revoked for fear of prosecution by investor interests should a label, for example identifying ingredients as genetically engineered, negatively impact their profits” says Swanwick.
Protests throughout the country have demonstrated the level of public discontent on the issue which has also attracted comment from public representatives, in agreement, in local council.
“We recently elected a new Auckland Council that wants to build resilient communities across the region, support local business and retain our public assets. I believe a TPPA would pose a barrier to those three laudable roles and give foreign investors too much power in New Zealand’ said Auckland Councillor Cathy Casey of the TPPA.
A poll conducted by Consumer Link in mid November expressed public concern around the lack of transparency around the TPPA. Sixty five percent of New Zealanders think the Government should make the contents of the agreement public before the negotiations are completed.
“The lack of public consultation and a lack of response despite repeated calls for the release of draft documents is undemocratic and does not deliver on a governance mandate to serve the interests of the public. A leaked draft of the legislation affords powers to investors over consumers. As it currently stands, precursor legislation currently affords investors 88% of all claims against governments, which is paid by the taxpayer. Placing profits before people has never been acceptable behaviour” says Swanwick.
Soil & Health is one of the oldest organic organisations in the world and promote fresh, healthy, organic food – GE, pesticide and additive free and advocate for consumers rights. Oranga Nuku, Oranga Kai Oranga Tangata.