The various government bodies negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) have been criticized repeatedly for their lack of transparency. In the last few negotiating meetings, they've tried to respond to this by arguing that they allowed public interest / civil society groups various ways to meet with and interact with the delegates. For the most part, this interaction was way too limited, but it was something. However, for the latest negotiating round in New Zealand, it appears that these groups have been almost entirely excluded. Representatives from a bunch of groups fighting for the public interest -- including EFF, KEI, OpenMedia.ca, Public Citizen and others flew all the way to New Zealand... only to be barred from the premises where the negotiations are being held
, save for a brief 15 minute session for each on one day of the 10 day negotiation.
Academics, experts, consumer groups, Internet freedom organizations, libraries, educational institutions, patients and access to medicines groups have flown a long way from around the world to Auckland, New Zealand, to engage with delegates in the 15th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.
For the first time, however, we have been locked out of the entire venue, except for a single day out of the 10 days of negotiations. This not only alienates us as members of public interest groups, but also the hundreds of thousands of innovators, educators, patients, students, and Internet users who have sent messages to government representatives expressing their concerns with the TPP. All of us oppose the complete unjustifiable secrecy around the negotiations, but more importantly, the IP provisions that could potentially threaten our rights, and innovation.
These new physical restrictions on us are reflective of the ongoing lack of transparency that has plagued the TPP negotiations from the very beginning.
This is really shameful behavior on the part of the New Zealand hosts.