Could the TPPA make the smart meter situation in NZ worse?

The smart meter situation at present in NZ is not good.

Companies in the electricity industry are putting in smart meters as fast as they can.  Not surprisingly, considering the fact that the pulses of RFR that smart meters produce can be intense, some people develop new symptoms after these devices have been installed at their own home or a nearby neighbour’s home and there is now peer reviewed research on adverse health effects associated with smart meters.

In NZ, electricity companies are often reluctant to remove smart meters even when people report health issues after installations.

I have also had reports of people who do not want smart meters being bullied by their electricity retailer to try to get them to accept a smart meter.  (For an example of some bullying behaviour, please see this link: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/company-tries-to-bully-chronically-ill-woman/)

There is no law or regulation that states that people in NZ have to accept a smart meter which gives some protection to consumers.  However, it is legal to install smart meters (despite the health and privacy risks) and increasingly, NZ electricity retailers are using their supply contracts with consumers to try to enforce smart meter installations upon reluctant customers.

This contrasts with the situation in many parts of the USA where municipalities have acted to protect public health by banning the installation of smart meters in their local areas.

Such enlightened legislation/by-laws has yet to be passed in NZ (and has not even been drafted); however if the NZ government or local authorities were to take this step, the gains to public health could potentially be negated if the NZ government signs the so-called “Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement” (TPPA). (The TPPA is also known as the TPP.)

Unfortunately the NZ government has indicated that it plans to sign this agreement.  The text of the TPPA is still secret.  However, from the small amounts of information that have been leaked into the public domain, it is clear that the agreement would favour the interests of large corporations and is potentially  a disaster for any country that signs it.  The reason for this is that the agreement apparently would allow  corporations to sue governments should a government pass a piece of legislation that could be deemed to impact adversely on corporate profits.

The TPPA is opposed in NZ by a diverse range of individuals and groups, including the Public Health Association, environmental groups and unions who are concerned about how the TPPA could adversely affect ordinary New Zealanders by putting the profits of big corporations ahead of the needs of people who live in New Zealand.

Nationwide protests against the TPPA have been organised for March 7, 2015.

You can find out more about this issue (including how to join local protests) at http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/  and here http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/events/