'Signing not the end of the deal' - Kelsey
Although the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is being signed today, there's still a long way to go before it becomes set in stone.
Auckland University Professor of Law Jane Kelsey an ardent opponent of the deal says it's important that protesters keep letting the Government know they are unhappy with it.
"The Government has turned a deaf ear not just to the analytical work that we've done, but to the views of people throughout the country," Dr Kelsey told the Paul Henry programme this morning. "We've had big protests, as you know, peaceful protests, family-friendly protests throughout the country over the last couple of yearsâ€¦ people saying again 'Don't sign, we don't want this deal'."
As a small country, New Zealand's fate will be particularly influenced by the deal, she says.
"For us it does make a difference and from what I hear from people internationally, the opposition in New Zealand is the strongest of anywhere."
And even though pen is being put to paper today, there is still a lot more work to be done before the deal is pushed through.
"What the Government is going to sign today, and it will sign it no matter what people say, is not going to be the end of the deal because the current text cannot get through the US Congress," says Dr Kelsey.
Trade Minister Todd McClay says it could be another year before the deal goes through in New Zealand, and although he believes it is a good thing for the country, he respects people's right to protest.
"It's fair to say that people have a lot of views in New Zealand and in many other countries and I will always support their right to be able to express those. The signing today is the end of the negotiation and for New Zealand it's the start of the Parliamentary [phase].
"This is quite an accomplishment. Twelve countries of the world, where nobody said it was possible, have come together and created a deal that gives New Zealanders access to 800 million consumers who spend $27 trillion on GDP every year. This is the biggest agreement New Zealand's been in involved in."
Watch the video for the full interviews with Jane Kelsey and Todd McClay.