Former Prime Minister Bill English says New Zealand should not give up on trying to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership over the line.

He told reporters in Wellington that the Government should "try and get negotiations back on track using whatever relationship it's got with Canada, in particular, to try and get them to understand the benefits for the whole region of completing that agreement."

English said New Zealand had "taken a leadership position" in the last 12 months and the lesson was to not give up. He wanted to support the Government to get talks back on track.

"Look, it looks hard, no doubt about that, but the benefits are significant and we would rather see them committing to getting it back on track, than giving up on the agreement," he said.


"News out of Vietnam that an agreement has not been reached is deeply disappointing and represents a real missed opportunity for New Zealand and the countries of the Asia Pacific to do better.

"The TPP is hugely important for promoting growth and stability in our region. It would make a genuine difference to the lives of New Zealanders and those in the other TPP countries, helping grow businesses, create jobs, raise incomes and lift people out of poverty.

"It would mean more opportunities for our exporters through significantly improved access to markets including Japan, Vietnam, Mexico and Peru. It would put our exporters on a more level playing field and we know that when given those opportunities, they will succeed.

"I urge all parties to get back around the table and resolve any outstanding differences, and encourage the New Zealand Government to do everything it can to bring Canada into the camp and conclude the deal."

Trade Minister David Parker said today that he still did not know why Canada decided at the last minute not to sign the deal. He said officials from all TPP countries would meet in the next few weeks to see if there was still scope to revive it.

English said most of the work had been done and a high-quality trade deal was "all but completed".

"Seeking changes opens the door to other countries seeking concessions, as we are now seeing, and jeopardises years of hard work and tense negotiations and an agreement with real benefits," he said.

"The previous National Government, backed by New Zealand's outstanding trade officials, fought hard for this deal over many years because it was in the best interests of New Zealand.


"We believe in the benefits of free trade, including growing our national prosperity and helping to lift people out of poverty.

"The Government can be assured of National's full support to get the agreement over the line because TPP11 is in the best interests of New Zealand and our region.

"It must do it all it can to get the agreement over the line."