Selling Godzone in Secret

Larissa_1Tens of thousands of Kiwis out in the rain over the weekend to protest against  the TPP which many thought had  been killed off  in the  last,  failed round of talks. But no.  In the collective race  from commonsense and responsibility to their peoples and institutions, governments are expecting the deal to be finalised later this month. Meanwhile  some Ministers have already dismissed the protests.

TPPAIt’s  all good news for corporations which pushed this free trade deal, which  as history has shown, deprives citizens of their rights.  Take a look at what will happen once the deal is  done at: ‘The Dirtiest Deal you Never Saw’ at http://www.exposethetpp.org/

Just a passing glance at the way the negotiations have been carried out tells you much more than the details.

  • Secrecy.   Negotiations are completely concealed from the New Zealand public but are available to more than 600 United States  corporations… The documents will remain confidential for four years after negotiations are concluded or abandoned.
  • The Government won’t release the text of the negotiations, we can’t hold them to account. So, R.I.P. that corporate watchword, accountability.

Those terms were the cliches of Marketspeak – the language of the managerial governing class which treats everything as a commodity.  Marketspeak was skewered in the prize-winning book, Death Sentence – the Decay of Public Language, by Don Watson. He analysed the way marketing had steadily usurped language, writing:

…managerial terms reveal a managerial ideology at work: a set of ideas refined into a self-reinforcing belief system. In this case, weirdly, the ideology managerialism most resembles is a debased Marxism.’

However we view the TPP, comments by ministers have revealed an astonishing sense of entitlement:

Trade MinisterTim Groser:

  • “We need adults to do this, not breathless children to run off at the mouth when the deal is not actually finished.”
  • ‘Associate Trade Minister Todd McClay says the people who want to see the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating text just want it so they can derail the deal’, (Radio New Zealand News)

And yet and yet, it all began so promisingly, so to speak. The NZ Herald told us that John Key yesterday began his third term as Prime Minister with a warning to National MPs and ministers:

  • “I won’t be wanting to see any hint of arrogance creeping in…”
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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.