Confused about the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

Don't worry, it appears Whangarei's MP is too.

Whangarei MP Dr Shane Reti has been accused of trying to mislead the public, after he told media that the Government's signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - likely to take place this year - signals the start of public consultation and that the deal's terms can be modified after it is signed.

Green Party trade spokesman Russel Norman said Dr Reti either had "a pretty loose grasp on the workings of Parliament" or was trying to mislead the public through information that was "blatantly not true".


Dr Reti is deputy chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee which would play a key role in progressing the agreement through its ratification, yet seemed unclear on exactly what this process would entail.

He said the key public concern was around the secrecy of negotiations, but that the bill was subject to "government scrutiny, parliamentary scrutiny and public scrutiny" once it was signed.

"As part of ratification, the agreement comes before Parliament and opposition parties and select committees for debate and modifications," Dr Reti said in a press release to the Advocate.

However, the terms of the deal cannot be modified once it is signed.

Dr Reti later conceded this and put his initial statement down to "bad grammar".

Dr Reti said the agreement would be voted on by "every MP and every party", which Mr Norman said was also incorrect.

"There is no all-of-Parliament consideration," Mr Norman said. "A select committee considers it once, there is no vote in Parliament, the agreement can't be modified, and only Cabinet decides on ratification, not Parliament."

Dr Reti had moved to calm his constituents' unease at the deal, following a series of protests across Northland and New Zealand in August which drew thousands into the streets.


The consequences of being excluded from the TPP could be "substantial", he said.

The TPP has been pitched by the National Party as a way for the 12 Asia-Pacific countries involved to access each others' key markets, reduce tariffs and set common ground on issues like intellectual property rights.

Critics have said the deal should not be negotiated in secret and that it favours profiteers over everyday people.

According to Dr Reti, a potential increase in the price of medicines - one of the key issues surrounding the deal and touchstone for many of the protesters - would be absorbed by the taxpayer and would be more than off set by extra revenue in other areas as a result of the TPP.