Key: 'Inconceivable' NZ not in TPP

Key: 'Inconceivable' NZ not in TPP

Prime Minister John Key believes the Government is "winning the argument" with the Kiwi public on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), although there is "a lot of misinformation" out there.

The Government yesterday released the national interest analysis of the 12-country agreement.

It boasts a number of benefits, including an estimated $2.7 billion a year to New Zealand's GDP by 2030.

But opponents still have their doubts.

Trade ministers from the 12 countries will be in Auckland on February 4 to sign the agreement and a protest has been organised to counter it.

It's something Mr Key says he expected.

"I think there'll be a protest, but there's been a group of people opposed to the TPP long before they saw the text, long before they saw the national interest analysis; they're just fundamentally opposed. They're just opposed to free trade deals," he said at his post-Cabinet news conference yesterday.

"I don't see any protests in New Zealand to rip any free trade deal we've signed. Why? Because they're in New Zealand's interest."

Mr Key says the TPP will give New Zealand access to 800 million middle-income consumers from countries across the Pacific Rim, including the United States, Japan, Chile and Mexico, and the economic benefits are more than twice the size of the China free trade agreement.

He believes businesses have seen the light in terms of the agreement's benefits.

"I think we're winning the argument with the New Zealand public, who have seen for a long period of time that asking New Zealand businesses to compete with one hand tied behind their back in the biggest economy in the world, the US, and the third largest, like Japan, puts us in a disadvantaged position.

"It is inconceivable that New Zealand wouldn't be part of TPP."

There are a number of concerns those against the deal have raised, including the Investor State Dispute Settlement clause meaning companies could sue foreign governments.

But Mr Key says other trade deals have had those provisions, and no one has ever taken a case against New Zealand. He says the threshold is high.

He pointed to an example in Australia where tobacco giant Philip Morris tried to sue the government over plain packaging but ultimately failed.

Labour leader Andrew Little says the analysis "reinforces the marginal gains New Zealand will make less than 1 percent of GDP by 2030".

He believes the agreement will prevent future governments from making laws in New Zealand's interests -- something Mr Key disagrees with.

Ngaphui leaders will meet next week to discuss whether Mr Key will be welcome on the lower marae on Waitangi Day.

The TPP is the main issue for kaumatua Kingi Taurua, who admits others don't share his view on the deal.

The deal also dominated annual celebrations at the Ratana Church at the weekend.

3 News