Trade Minister says 'extreme claims' by ideological opponents wide of the mark.
Trade Minister Tim Groser has lashed out at public opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership, saying he won't let "anti-trade forces" stand in the way of the contentious deal.
Speaking to Southeast Asian and New Zealand entrepreneurs at a summit in Kuala Lumpur, he said resistance to the TPP was deeply ideological and extreme claims were being made, including that it would lead to the end of democracy.
"I mean, really?" Groser said. "It is a mixture of a set of deeply ideological opponents to the use of markets ... [who] focus on trade liberalisation to express a deeply ideological view that is the antithesis of all countries' practical experience over the last 40 years."
Thousands of people took part in anti-TPP demonstrations across New Zealand this month.
Talks between the 12 nations involved in the agreement broke down in Hawaii late last month.
Key sticking points include improved access for dairy products into the United States and Canada and US pharmaceutical firms' demands for longer patent terms.
Groser told the business summit that the TPP negotiations were politically challenging because they had to be kept confidential.
"But when we've done this deal - if we do this deal - then we'll be able to get the facts out and confront these ludicrously exaggerated concerns," he said.
"I'm absolutely beyond the stage of argument on the value of integrating our communities in a politically sensitive way and we're not going to be stopped by these anti-trade forces."
There is also widespread opposition to the TPP in Malaysia.
Elina Noor, of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Kuala Lumpur, said Malaysia's Trade Minister, Mustapa Mohamed, had been holding public roadshow events around the country aimed at educating people about the deal.
"I think there is political will for it [the TPP], but there's very strong opposition at a public level," Noor said.
"I'm not sure if the political will will carry it through."
Groser is in Kuala Lumpur for talks on another free trade deal - the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which involves the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and six other nations.
Christopher Adams is being hosted in Malaysia by the Asia New Zealand Foundation.