Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

John Key, Andrew Little face off in Parliament return

Prime Minister John Key during his statement to the House. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister John Key during his statement to the House. Photo / Mark Mitchell

John Key and Andrew Little traded verbal blows in Parliament today over the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Mr Little objected to other countries having a say on New Zealand laws that could affect them but Mr Key said it was no different to Mr Little wanting a say on Australian laws that affected New Zealanders.

The Labour leader travelled to Canberra last November to make a submission to a select committee on a law that changed the immigration status of New Zealanders who have been sentenced to a year or more in an Australian prison.

"So he has got a massive problem with everybody else doing it except himself," Mr Key said.

"Anyone is free to come and put in a submission about New Zealand but this Parliament determines its law, and this Parliament on its own."

Mr Key drew attention to the fact that Phil Goff and David Shearer had publicly supported the TPP and said other MPs had been telling the business community they supported it.

He said that in Labour, TPP meant the "two-position party".

The debate began after Mr Key tabled his formal statement to Parliament about the Government's plans for the year.

After a 13-hour debate on the statement, the first confidence vote of the year will be held.

Mr Little said that on the economic side, the TPP locked in agricultural subsidies for the big powers.

He also said the Government had traded off the constitutional rights of New Zealanders against the economic interests, sparse as they were.

"It is a failure of statecraft."

He said the Government was out of touch with New Zealanders and it was a party of the elite and the self-interested.

"I am proud to say that on this side of the House there is a new generation of leaders now emerging who are principled and who reflect the demands of a new New Zealand.

"Doing that does not require selling out to other, more powerful states than our own."

Meanwhile Trade Minister Todd McClay formally presented the TPP and the national interest analysis by Government officials to be examined by the foreign affairs and defence select committee.

Legislations enabling the TPP to be implemented will then be introduced to Parliament and considered by the same committee.

- NZ Herald

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