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|" WELLINGTON Zach Ertz Raptors Jersey , March 26 (Xinhua) -- Opposition to the New Zealand government's trade policies mounted Thursday as critics claimed new international agreements were undermining the country's democracy and sovereignty.
The focus was thrown on to two completed agreements -- the free trade agreement (FTA) with the Republic of Korea and a World Trade Organization-brokered Government Procurement Agreement -- as well as the ongoing secret negotiations of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.
On Monday Trade Minister Tim Groser signed the FTA in Seoul to criticism that its investor-state dispute provisions would allow big corporations to sue the government over laws and regulations that affected their profits.
Parliament's Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee announced Thursday it was inviting submissions of the agreement before it was discussed by lawmakers.
However, trade unions blasted the committee after it refused to hear submissions on the Government Procurement Agreement, which they argue will enable big foreign corporations to lock smaller local businesses out of government contracts.
""This sets a terrible precedent for future international agreements Vince Carter Raptors Jersey , which increasingly impede our sovereignty and our ability to improve social and economic conditions for working people,"" Council of Trade Unions secretary Sam Huggard said in a statement.
""MOCKERY OF DEMOCRACY""
New Zealand's treaty approval process was so bad that public did not even have the opportunity to comment on an agreement after its signing.
""The process is a mockery of democracy in any case, because it leaves virtually all the power to sign with Cabinet -- only changes in legislation go to Parliament for approval, and for this one Tracy Mcgrady Raptors Jersey , none is needed. Lack of public submissions makes it even worse,"" he said.
""If the CTU had been able to make a submission we would have highlighted the fact that it prevents preference being given to local suppliers for economic development purposes.""
The agreement also tied the hands of local and central government agencies in using purchasing to raise health and safety, employment and pay conditions, and stopped ethical purchasing.
Also Thursday Serge Ibaka Raptors Jersey , Wikileaks posted documents that appeared to show the government had caved in to the United States demands for investor-state dispute settlement provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.
HELD TO RANSOM
The Investment Chapter highlighted the intent of the TPP negotiating parties, led by the United States, to increase the power of global corporations by creating a supra-national court, or tribunal Pascal Siakam Raptors Jersey , where foreign firms could ""sue"" states and obtain taxpayer compensation for ""expected future profits,"" said a statement from Wikileaks.
The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals were designed to overrule the national court systems and enable multinational corporations to force governments to pay compensation if the tribunal stated that a country's laws or policies affected the company's claimed future profits.
The opposition New Zealand First party has introduced to Parliament a Fighting Foreign Corporate Control Bill to ban New Zealand governments from agreeing to ISDS provisions.
New Zealand First commerce and trade spokesperson Fletcher Tabuteau said the leak showed the Bill was more important than ever to protect New Zealand's sovereignty.
""By accepting almost everything America has proposed this government will undermine New Zealand business because multi- nationals will operate in a privileged position, holding us to ransom over our own lawmaking,"" Tabuteau said in a statement.
The TPP agreement would put ""a massive handbrake on domestic lawmaking"" on matters such as the environment or supporting local economic development OG Anunoby Raptors Jersey , said the opposition Green Party.
""Setting up special courts for foreign companies that give them more rights than our own government is just plain undemocratic,"" Green Party trade spokesperson James Shaw said in a statement.
The leak showed the New Zealand government had accepted virtually everything the U.S. had proposed with absolutely no effective safeguards, said University of Auckland Law Professor Jane Kelsey.
""There is no code of conduct, no appeals Norman Powell Raptors Jersey , no accountability of the private individuals who pass judgement on crucial matters of public policy, and no effective exceptions to protect the right of the government to regulate in the national interest,"" Kelsey said in a statement.
The virtually concluded text showed the TPP parties had completely ignored the tide of international sentiment that was rejecting such special rights for foreign investors, she said.
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