Documents leaked from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement talks allegedly show that Australia has refused to sign on to provisions that would allow foreign companies to sue Governments for policy-related losses under the agreement while New Zealand has accepted the terms. The Council of Trade Unions has since called on the New Zealand Government to explicitly clarify its position in relation to the provisions, known as investor-state dispute clauses.
Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman has called for New Zealand to follow Australia and reject the provisions on the basis that they are anti-democratic and "limit New Zealand's ability to make domestic laws".
Former Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton says similar provisions were included in the New Zealand-China free trade agreement and can work to protect New Zealand investments overseas. Under the Zealand-China free trade agreement, investor-state disputes may be submitted to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes for conciliation or arbitration, or to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law for arbitration.
Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser has said that the Government would not sign onto any deal that would restrict its rights to legislate on social or environmental issues. Prime Minister John Key has refused to discuss the details of the deal but considers it unlikely that Australia would be offered any sole exclusion and thinks that ultimately the nine TPP countries will sign up to the same terms.