Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Trade Minister disappointed at Labour's TPP vote

Trade Minister Todd McClay. Photo / Getty Images
Trade Minister Todd McClay. Photo / Getty Images

Trade Minister Todd McClay has expressed disappointment at Labour's confirmation it will vote against the Trans Pacific Partnership legislation.

A report on the TPP was last week presented to Parliament after public hearings around the country.

In its minority report, the Labour Party expressed strong opposition to the TPP, saying the Government had failed to effectively represent the long-term interests of New Zealanders.

"As it stands, we cannot support the ratification of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement," the Labour Party said.

New Zealand had "weakened" its sovereignty for relatively small gains, Labour said.

The $2.7 billion boost to the economy amounted to a 0.9 per cent lift to GDP in 15 years' time. The New Zealand economy was projected to rise by 47 per cent over this period, Labour said.

The Green Party and New Zealand First also expressed their opposition to the agreement in their minority reports.

Today, Mr McClay said he was not surprised by Labour's stance, although it "flies in the face" of the party's history of championing free trade agreements.

"TPP meets every one of the bottom lines set by the Labour Party. New Zealand businesses will rightly be questioning how Labour, by not supporting one of the most comprehensive and valuable trade deals ever negotiated for New Zealand, can claim to support exporters to grow and create new jobs."

Labour leader Andrew Little said the trade minister was right to point out Labour's long history of supporting free trade agreements.

"It goes back to the first Labour Government, and our support for free trade hasn't changed. But what we won't support is the erosion of New Zealanders' democratic rights and to have a sovereign government. That's what the National Government is selling out."

In January, Mr Little gave senior MP Phil Goff special dispensation to vote for the TPP, because during Mr Goff's time as trade minister he started the negotiations for the agreement's predecessor.

Fellow Labour MP David Shearer had told the Herald he personally supported the TPP, but later said he would be voting along party lines.

- NZ Herald

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