Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Trans-Pacific Partnership legislation passes its first hurdle

Trade Minister Todd McClay welcomed today's vote. Photo / Supplied
Trade Minister Todd McClay welcomed today's vote. Photo / Supplied

The Trans-Pacific Partnership legislation has passed its first hurdle with support from National, Act, United Future - and one Labour MP.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Amendment Bill will now be considered by the Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Committee, after passing its first reading 62 to 59.

It was opposed by Labour, the Green Party, New Zealand First and the Maori Party. However, Labour MP Phil Goff voted for the TPP.

In January, Labour leader Andrew Little gave Mr Goff special dispensation to do so, 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.

Trade Minister Todd McClay welcomed today's vote.

"Successive New Zealand governments have pursued free trade agreements to support New Zealand's global connectedness, maximise opportunities for exporters, and in turn grow the prosperity of the economy for the benefit of all New Zealanders. TPP is the latest in this legacy," Mr McClay said.

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.

- NZ Herald

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