The Council of Trade Unions tonight said a claim by cabinet minister Steven Joyce that it walked away from Government briefings on the Trans Pacific Partnership were untrue.

Mr Joyce made his claim in Parliament today while answering questions on behalf of Trade Minister Tim Groser who has been in Singapore at TPP talks.

Mr Joyce said Labour trade spokesman Phil Goff often suggested that Labour and National had differences in approach, namely that when Mr Goff had been Trade Minister he had kept the CTU briefed on trade negotiations but the current Government had not.

"The reality is that it walked out on being advised," Mr Joyce said.


"It walked out and it has been invited by the Minister of Trade to come back any time it likes."

"The process has been identical to Mr Goff's process."

But CTU economist Bill Rosenberg said Mr Joyce's statement was "absolutely not true."

"I have had regular briefings from the negotiators on the labour chapter of the TPPA, and have had briefings from time to time on a range of other aspects including government procurement (most recently), financial services, investment, and environment, as well as meetings with the chief negotiator [David Walker]."

Dr Rosenberg said he had also travelled to negotiating rounds in Melbourne, Auckland and Chicago where he had met with New Zealand negotiators.

"It is another matter whether these briefings have been informative," he said.

18 Nov, 2013 6:00am
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"They are general and in most cases give me little information as to New Zealand's negotiating stance.

"In general I get much more detailed, informative and up to date information from international contacts than from local briefings."