Auckland University law Professor Jane Kelsey is wrong.

Specifically, she is wrong with her constant criticism of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. For years she has pumped out press releases and opinion pieces and given endless interviews to scare us witless about the evils of the TPPA.

She has complained it "raises the price of medicines and handcuffs the right of governments to regulate in their national interests", that it would "bust the Pharmac budget" and "make SOEs prime targets for privatisation".

She has said Prime Minister John Key is enabling "Hollywood to sell us down the river", that at stake "is a battle between life and death for New Zealanders and life and death for the tobacco industry" and that governments are signing up to an agreement that "surrenders their domestic economies and grants undue influence over their policy decisions to powerful, largely US, corporate interests".


She has also complained "New Zealand stands to get almost nothing [but] will pay a very high price in return", that the agreement would render us "collateral damage in a new version of the Cold War," and so on and on.

Kelsey doesn't believe TPPA proponents are wrong or misguided, but are conspiratorial in favouring the profits of big corporates at the expense of the health and well-being of everyday people - especially the poor.

The conspiracy must extend to former Prime Minister Helen Clark who, contrary to Labour leader Andrew Little, declared it "unthinkable" for New Zealand to be left out of the TPPA.

Well, the deal has now been agreed. And miracle of miracles, the sun still shines. The agreement covers two-fifths of the global economy and eliminates or reduces about 18,000 tariffs, taxes and non-tariff barriers.

It's a huge boost to world trade and prosperity. The only criticism is that it does not go far enough.

So why is Kelsey so opposed? Well, she was taught her political views by left-thinking Marxist scholars at Cambridge. Her Marxism means it is not the specifics of the TPPA that concern her but the agreement itself.

To Marxists, free trade is evil because it makes the rich richer at the expense of workers who are kept poor on subsistence wages.

Of course, that's not true. Marxist theory was contradicted by common sense and everyday experience even while Marx was still scribbling. The Industrial Revolution doubled real wages in England between 1819 and 1851. People trade to improve their lot and workers in free economies prosper while workers in controlled economies do not.


The Marxist view of the world is twisted and false. It persists only in Western countries that have never experienced Marxist dogma in action and even then only in the universities where there is no consequence in being wrong and where political activism is propped up by the economic system Kelsey so despises.

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