I had the privilege of speaking on Parliament steps this Saturday to add NZ First's voice to the protests across the country against the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, or the TPPA.
I stood on those steps and I abused the Government for their secrecy and their sales pitch for this agreement, "Trust Us".
This country is being sold a deal that I believe seeks to undermine the rights of New Zealand businesses and the people of New Zealand and the very sovereignty of this country,
The Prime Minister has insisted that this deal must be negotiated in secrecy. But yet again Key has been proved wrong.
The EU, negotiating a similar treaty with the US, has now agreed to be more open. They have bowed to public pressure and the ombudsman's finding that the EU treaty will impact on all the lives of the peoples of Europe.
If it is good enough for the EU to be open then it is good enough for the National Government.
Those fighting this "deal" know that the TPPA is a special deal for the big corporations. It's aboutthem siphoning off more wealth, and growing wealth and income inequality in this country.
There are several clauses within the "deal". One particularly insidious clause is the "Investor state dispute settlement" clause.
This would give foreign-owned firms preferential access to sue the government in "court" cases not actually heard in any actual court in New Zealand or even the rest of the world.
Countries have become targets. For example: oil company Occidental sued for $2.3 billion after Ecuador ended an oil concession contract.
Germany is facing a massive lawsuit from a Swedish company after it decided to phase out nuclear power plants.
Australia is being sued for its plain packaging laws on cigarette packets.
We must be able to keep our right to make our own laws, and not worry about the profit of big foreign corporations or their inevitable litigation that will cost this country hundreds of millions of dollars.
I have introduced a private member's bill to the ballot, "Fighting Foreign Corporate Control."
It seeks to ensure that should we be unable to stop this Government from signing a secret "trade" deal then we should at least remove any Investor state dispute settlement clause.
It is another tool in this ongoing protest. We must all do everything we can to make this whole process more transparent so that, like the EU, the people of New Zealand can make an informed decision for or against this trade deal.
NZ First believes that trade is good, but not when it comes with these hooks.
-Fletcher Tabuteau is a Rotorua-based NZ First list MP.