Foreign companies can sue New Zealand for protecting public health and the environment


There is a general exception provision that appears to protect public health or environment measures. But it is weak and has rarely succeeded when governments have relied on it in disputes. It does not even apply to the investment chapter. Instead, there are various provisions that refer to ‘legitimate public policy’ objectives, but they only apply to some rules or their wording is full of hidden traps. Some so-called protections for environment, health and regulatory objectives just allow the government to do what the chapter allows the government to do anyway. In places, there is less protection than agreements that NZ has with other countries, like China, South Korea and Taiwan – and they will now get the benefit of the TPPA’s pro-investor rules.

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