Trade Minister Tim Groser says Labour's objections to the Trans Pacific Partnership over the issue of house-sales to foreigners was "invented by the Labour Party as part of their belief that you can solve the Auckland rising house prices vie a trade agreement."

New Zealand has restrictions on the sale of sensitive land and farm land to foreigners but not houses.

After Labour set five bottom lines for TPP including the right to ban house sales to foreigners abroad, Mr Groser negotiated the right in TPP for a future New Zealand Government to set stamp duties at higher rates for non-resident house-buyers.

He said that would achieve the same thing as a ban if the tax was set high enough.


"So this is a piece of sophistry by the Labour Party," he told the Weekend Herald.

He predicted that Labour would vote for various TPP provisions that came before Parliament - "while pretending to their supporters that they are fiercely opposed to it."

The 30-chapter TPP text was released last night.

Speaking outside his party conference in Palmerston North, Labour leader Andrew Little said the right to ban house sales was a deep-seated issue of sovereignty.

If Labour became the Government in 2017, it would seek to renegotiate the TPP and would still pass legislation to ban house sales to non-resident foreigners.

But he could not say whether Labour would oppose other aspects of the 12-party deal - a deal begun by Phil Goff in 2008 when he was Trade Minister - such as improved tariff schedules.

He said he would fight "tooth and nail" over what he said was an issue of sovereignty.

"We will not support anything that takes away the right of New Zealand politicians in our democracy to make laws in the interests of New Zealand," he told reporters.


Later on in his opening remarks he said " "My commitment to you is we will not support or sign up to anything that cuts against the sovereign rights of New Zealand."

The four bottom lines which Labour says have been met in the TPP are protecting the Pharmac model, upholding the Treaty of Waitangi; meaningful gains for farmers in tariff reduction and market access; and preventing companies from suing Governments for regulating in the public interest.

National does not need Labour's support to implement the TPP.

Any legislative measures would be supported by Act and United Futures.

Mr Groser did not expect Labour's concerns to worry the public.

"The overwhelming majority of New Zealanders get it and understand that New Zealand has to earn an export living. This is just air-brushed out of these critics' view.

"I'm not the slightest bit concerned about New Zealand as a whole getting it."

Not being part of TPP would do two things: forgo the considerable long term benefits that will flow from it and secondly, as former Prime Minister Helen Clark had pointed out, bed-in discrimination against New Zealand trade as it competitors marched into the vacuum of New Zealand standing aside.

Meanwhile President Barack Obama has begun his 90-day notice period to Congress, before which time he cannot sign the agreement.

Anti-TPP campaigner and Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey said the United States political process was pivotal to the process.

"'With 5 February 2016 the earliest date Obama can sign, the TPPA is fodder for the US election cycle. That starts with the Iowa caucus, set for 1 February 2016, with eleven primaries set for "super Tuesday" in early March."

Access to the text had heightened the intensely polarised debate within the US.

"The TPPA is toxic among Democrat voters with any candidate, include Presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, facing a potential boycott from progressive supporters and a drought of campaign funds if they endorse the deal."'

NZH ml