Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
10 March 2016
Submission to Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee
International Treaty Examination of the Trans-Pacific Partnership
We (Pala Molisa and Renee Gerlich) are making this submission to the above committee as individuals.
We request that MFAT, or a Ministry facilitated by MFAT, should do an assessment on the specific impacts the TPPA is likely to have on women, in particular, on Maori and Pasifika women. Our concerns regarding the TPPA are as follows:
● Inadequate consideration of the specific impacts the TPPA is likely to have on women, given the gendered nature of poverty and income inequality, the overrepresentation of men and male interests in business and commerce, and the overrepresentation of men during the production of the TPP agreement.
● The privileging of corporate rights over women’s rights particularly in cases of male violence against women, abuse and sexual harassment in the workplace.
● The creation of more favourable conditions for the expansion of the sex industry. This amounts to a form of coercion, particularly considering the gendered nature of poverty in New Zealand.
● Increase in trafficking and street prostitution as a result of sex industry normalisation.
● Increase in child abuse through trafficking and street prostitution as a result of sex industry normalisation.
● Increased difficulty for women abused within the sex industry (both in registered brothels and illegal operations) to seek protection.
● Increase in pornography and promotional material portraying women as objects for consumption.
● Increase in exploitation and abuse of all women by men – this is already epidemic. 1 in 3 women experience abuse at the hands of men, and sex industry expansion and promotion encourages this behaviour.
● Increase in negative mental and physical health impacts for women and young girls.
● Undemocratic process used to produce the text – privileged access was given to a predominantly male group with commercial interests, lack of access was given to elected representatives.
● The select committee is an all-male panel unlikely to investigate the potential impacts of the TPPA on women sufficiently.
● Excessive investor rights in general, and ISDS in particular (e.g.: the tribunal set-up and lack of appeal rights)
● The lack of consideration of what support services (i.e. women’s refuge, shelters, rape crisis centres, etc.) will be required as a result of the increase in economic inequality and hardship that is projected to result from the TPPA. NZ is already undergoing a number of cuts to essential women’s support services such as the under-funding of women’s refuge centres, the closing down of rape crisis centres, and the projected increases in inequality and hardship will only put further pressure on these services.
● The TPPA’s projected increase in inequality on Maori and Pasifika women who are already overrepresented in our poverty statistics.
● Lack of consideration of how income inequality as expressed in the gender pay gap will be reduced, given the way men have dominated the decision-making and formulation of the TPPA text to date.
The TPPA creates rights for foreign corporations to challenge government laws and policies, overriding Parliament and the courts. These have been shown to undermine laws to protect the public interest, including environment, health, mining, fracking, labour rights and energy. We are concerned about the impact that will be had on women, particularly as a result of expansion of the sex industry, but not restricted to women who are exploited within the industry.
There are better alternatives. The TPPA is an attempt to lock in failed policies of the past rather than providing a fair and balanced set of rules for the future.
We request that MFAT, or a Ministry facilitated by MFAT, should do an assessment on the specific impacts the TPPA is likely to have on women, in particular, on Maori and Pasifika women.