A group of 50 New Zealand businesses has launched a public relations campaign to sell the benefits of the Trans Pacific Partnership deal to ordinary New Zealanders.
The aim to counter what they called ''scare-mongering'' by opponents of the deal.
Malcolm Bailey, chairman of Dairy Companies Association of NZ and a Fonterra board director said : "It's not just about our business and what we can do - it will create jobs and benefit ordinary New Zealanders."
About 500 officials from 11 countries are today beginning the 15th round of talks and President Barack Obama of the United States has set an informal deadline of October 2013 to have the deal concluded.
Officials were greeted by a group of about 30 demonstrators this morning outside the Sky City Convention Centre, including leading critics Professor Jane Kelsey of the Auckland University faculty of law.
The counter campaign was launched in Auckland this morning by the NZ US Council chief executive, Stephen Jacobi, Erica Crawford, founder of Kim Crawford Wines and managing director of Loveblock Wines and Mr Bailey.
Mr Bailey said it should also be remembered that New Zealand enjoyed bipartisan support for its trade agreements between National and Labour.
Former Labour Trade Minister Phil Goff concluded the China free trade agreement, still the only one China has with a developed country, and he initiated the expansion of the P4 trade agreement into the TPP trade talks.
The Greens, New Zealand First and Mana are the minority of parties that generally oppose free trade deals.By Audrey Young Email Audrey