The 15-nation RCEP – if that’s a secret agreement, someone should tell MFAT and the PM

The secret – or so-called secret – is out.  New Zealand has signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, then proclaimed the fact very publicly on the Beehive’s web-wide bulletin board.

The partnership encompasses Japan, China, South Korea, the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia and New Zealand and creates “a free trade zone” which covers nearly a third of the world’s trade and economic output.

The word “free” is much more open to challenge than the claim about secrecy.

The piles of documents which set out the rules and regulations make nonsense of any notion this is a free trade zone for the signatories.  It’s an  easier trade zone for them, perhaps, but free? No.

The announcement of the public signing was one of just a few Beehive released in the past few days.  The others tell us – Continue reading “The 15-nation RCEP – if that’s a secret agreement, someone should tell MFAT and the PM”

Psst! If you want to keep a secret, put it in Clare Curran’s custody

We learn today of two Cabinet ministers attending a dinner hosted by Google’s top lawyer under secretive “Chatham House” rules, but they made no notes of what was discussed.

According to a report at Stuff, Google’s chief counsel, Kent Walker, hosted the dinner at  the capital’s Wellington Club. Among the guests were Justice Minister Andrew Little, Open Government Minister Clare Curran and top public servants and lawyers.

In response to requests under the Official Information Act, Little and Curran both said they kept no notes or memos from the event.

National’s spokesman for open government, Nick Smith, accordingly is complaining of Continue reading “Psst! If you want to keep a secret, put it in Clare Curran’s custody”