On 13 November, WikiLeaks released a confidential version of the draft Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Chapter. The TPP would be a regional free trade agreement between 12 countries - New Zealand, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam - and has been in the pipeline since 2005. A Leaders' Statement from 8 November indicates that participating countries' officials are still on track to complete technical discussions by the end of 2013, at which point politicians will step in to resolve outstanding issues.
IPR is one of the most controversial elements of the TPP negotiations and the eventual text will impact on a range of industries including medicines, biological patents, internet services and civil liberties. Important elements of the leaked text are negotiating positions and disagreements between the parties involved. To read the leaked chapter, please see here.
New Zealand politics has not been immune from the controversy surrounding the TPP. Opposition parties have voiced strong opposition to the negotiations. The Green Party has maintained a firm position against the TPP, citing hindered access to medicines, weakened local content rules for the media, stifled high-tech innovation, and restricted ability of future governments to legislate for public health and the environment. Following the release of the leaked chapter, there have been calls for the remainder of the text to be leaked. Labour has stated that the Government should have revealed the text, rather than leaving it to WikiLeaks.