From a New Zealand publication:
Concerns that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will result in the New Zealand Government being successfully sued by international corporations are unfounded and incorrect, says the NZ US Council.
"It is absurd to suggest that the New Zealand Government would be so naive to allow itself to be hoodwinked into an agreement that damaged its ability to regulate in the national interest," Executive Director Stephen Jacobi said.
"Modern investor state dispute settlement provisions in free trade agreements do not undermine the rights of sovereign states. In fact, the opposite is true - they explicitly protect the rights of states to regulate in areas like the environment, health and safety and other matters of public policy.
"What they do provide is protection against arbitrary and discriminatory decisions by governments leading, for example, to the expropriation of assets without compensation. Investment dispute settlement is about providing assurances to investors that governments abide by proper legal processes. Most people would see this as sensible and fair."
What do "most people" -- that is, average citizens, not trade and investment law types -- think of investor-state dispute settlement? I'm not aware of any polling on this. If anyone knows of something, I'd love to hear about it.
Here are the two questions I would ask (in the U.S. -- you can substitute different country names as appropriate):
"Would you be in favor of rules and procedures that allow foreign companies who invest in the United States to sue the U.S. government (federal, state or local) for monetary damages before an international tribunal, for acts that discriminate against them, expropriate their assets, or are generally arbitrary and unfair?"
"Would you be in favor of rules and procedures that allow U.S. companies who invest in foreign countries to sue foreign governments for monetary damages before an international tribunal, for acts that discriminate against them, expropriate their assets, or are generally arbitrary and unfair?"
Or something along those lines.