Peters: Govt 'stifling debate on TPP'

  • 04/03/2016
Winston Peters
Winston Peters

The Government is being accused of stifling debate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Parliament's foreign affairs, defence and trade select committee, which is dealing with the 12-nation free trade agreement, has refused to extend the deadline for public submissions.

Labour and the Council of Trade Unions asked for the March 11 deadline to be extended, but National MPs on Thursday used their majority on the committee to deny the request.

It is, however, going to consider any "substantive submissions" received after the deadline.

NZ First leader Winston Peters says the Government is stifling debate because it wants to get TPP legislation through parliament as quickly as possible.

"Because the TPP is a large and detailed document of 6000 pages, the committee should be allowing the public sufficient time to produce the best submissions they can," he said today.

Labour's David Clark, who asked for the extension, says it's vital for those who are reviewing the text to have the time to make meaningful submissions.

The CTU's policy director, Bill Rosenberg, says he was told on Thursday the committee wasn't going to extend the deadline.

He isn't happy about its decision to hear "substantive submissions" that are received after the deadline.

"We are deeply concerned that the committee will self-select which submissions they will hear," he said.

"People are being asked to put considerable work into writing a submission on this complex agreement, which even experts are still struggling to fully understand, without the certainty that it will even be considered."