Andrew Little and party have backed themselves into a corner by refusing to see potential benefits of trade deal

Good morning and welcome to TPP signing day.

I know, I know, I know. We've thrashed this thing to death, but here's your reality: It's a done deal.

It will get signed today, the legislation will be passed, and all there is left to do is sit back and basically sees who's right.

Will it be like every other free trade deal and open new markets, bring new opportunities and boost our wealth? Or are the doom merchants right and we're heading for corporate armageddon, where we spend the rest of our lives in court and have our sovereignty whipped out from under us?

Advertisement

The really big question not many people seemed to ask in this whole debate was: Why would our Government sign us up to all this so-called trouble?

What Government in its right mind would take us down a path of disaster, and with it the political fallout?

Further, why would 11 other Governments do exactly the same thing?

If this is such a dastardly deal, how is it possible that a dozen countries all got sucked in and put their name to the sort of trouble and political mayhem the placard wavers are proclaiming?

To be fair, the deal is not gold-plated.

Dairy didn't do as well as we would have liked, Japan doesn't appear to be as open to us as we might have wanted, but if the analysis report is correct $2.7 billion is $2.7 billion and as a trading nation I'd take that any day.

Which brings us to those in the Labour Party. What a mess they've found themselves in over this.

The ultimate irony of course is they were at the table at the beginning.

Phil Goff, who actually understands the deal given he was there, is for it, and as inconvenient as that might be for Andrew Little, a former Trade and Foreign Affairs Minister in a party that forged the China free trade deal tends to carry a bit of kudos.

It's not as if Phil is a maverick who stirs for the sake of it, and it's not as if the party hasn't had quite a bit of trouble coming to the conclusion that it is in fact against the whole deal.

For weeks if not months it's been nigh on impossible to get a straight answer out of Labourites, and now that they've actually taken a stand they've brought themselves more trouble by finding themselves offside with exporters.

Export NZ quite rightly points out that previously it has been able to rely on a consistent two-party stance on trade, and that consistency has helped in doing new business in new markets.

Complicating matters is Labour still insists it is free trade, just not this time, which is a mixed message if ever there was one.

Further, much of its worry seems to come from a fear over sovereignty which is nothing more than exactly that; "fear", it most likely will never come to pass.

Cast your mind back to the last election, and cast your mind back to when Andrew Little took over the leadership post that election, what was one of the party's biggest acknowledged tasks?

Winning over the business vote.

Looking like a party that understood business and stood alongside business.

This stance does exactly the opposite of that.

Long term, here's Labour's potential nightmare: Assuming those of us who like trade deals are right, as the numbers roll in, as the sales get made, and if this deal is like every other deal, it actually produces way more than the paper work ever indicated, think the China deal which is many times better than was initially thought possible.

As that all happens, Labour is going to be backed into a corner explaining just what it was it couldn't see that the rest of us could.

And part of that explanation comes in the form of attitude.

The reason the current Government is gunning for four terms is that it's aspirational, and most New Zealanders, whether you're applying it to politics or not, are exactly the same way.

Most of us want to do well, most of us aspire to better days and greater achievements.

Since the mid-80s when the Labour Party of a completely different hue shook this country out of its protectionist slumber, we have embraced the concept of hard work, of efficiency, of being judged on our own merits and ideas and hard work.

These free trade deals are the out workings of all of that.

The world has caught up with the concept that we as a small nation at the bottom of the world forged all those decades ago.

It's still not perfect, but the barriers are coming down, and we're winning, and we are a country that likes winning.

So assuming all the other countries tick the same boxes - America still remains an issue, but assuming it all gets ratified - this will be sorted once and for all over the next handful of years and the proof, as they say, will be in the pudding.

I'm backing us as winners.

Debate on this article is now closed.