NZ First all aboard the CPTPP train despite pre-election opposition

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. Photo credit: Getty

New Zealand First will give its support to the rebranded TPP agreement, despite not having seen the final document.

NZ First leader Winston Peters said the newly-named CPTPP has changed significantly in character.

"It's not the deal we inherited. It's no longer the TPP. It's the comprehensive progressive TPP, with substantial changes," he told RNZ on Thursday morning.

"[Trade Minister] Mr Parker should get some serious credit for it."

It's a change in position for NZ First, which has previously not supported the deal. Since the new Government was formed, the party said it won't decide whether it will support the deal until it sees the final document. 

In recent years, the Greens and NZ First have both taken strong anti-TPP stances. The Greens remain opposed to the agreement, saying the agreement doesn't provide "sufficient safeguards" for people and the environment.

Like most groups opposed to the deal, Mr Peters has previously raised concerns about secrecy around the negotiations. He says that's still a concern, and one he will raise with coalition partner Labour.

But in August 2017, when parties were jostling hard for two ticks on the ballot paper, Mr Peters had quite a different perspective on the TPP.

In an opinion piece for RadioLIVE, Mr Peters said the TPP is about protecting multinational corporations.

"The TPPA was never about free trade  it's all about being a protection racket to help multinational corporations. It sells our producers and exporters short," he wrote.

In May 2017, on his own Facebook page, he said the agreement is "much more about multinational corporate greed than trade."

He said the TPPA could only be saved if non-trade agendas didn't get in the way.

"The only way to save the TPPA is to go back to the small group of countries who came up with the original concept and finalise a trade agreement without non-trade projects and agendas getting in the way."