Mixed reaction to TPP signing

Newstalk ZB Staff ,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 6 October 2015, 3:49p.m.
(Getty Images)

Reactions to the concluded Trans Pacific Partnership deal have been mixed.

LISTEN: Fonterra chair John Wilson joins Larry Williams Drive to discuss his verdict on dairy access in the TPP.

Anti-smoking group ASH said it is a major victory for public health.

Director Stephanie Erick said it contains built-in protections to prevent tobacco tobacco companies taking legal action against governments over anti-tobacco policies.

She said the removal of tobacco companies from investor-state dispute settlement provisions means the New Zealand Government should have little to fear in passing plain packaging legislation for cigarettes.

And farmers are thanking government trade officials for their work on the Trans Pacific Partnership.

It's estimated a reduction on tariffs in other countries will be worth $259 million to New Zealand annually - and dairy's a big chunk of that.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says although the ideal situation wasn't reached, the deal's a good one.

"We're not there yet in terms of other countries getting rid of their tariffs completely, but we think as countries see the benefits of free trade they'll start to see that's not really affordable to the taxpayer."

However, The Labour Party is unimpressed with the deal the Government's struck.

Labour finance spokesman Grant Robertson is critical at a lack of gains for the dairy sector, saying the deal's failed on that score.

"This deal was always going to be judged in my view on the access it gave for our biggest export sector, our dairy sector, and there it has been a failure" he said.

"When we look at the sector that represents 20% of our exports, we've barely prised open the door."

Labour's not happy with foreign ownership provisions in the TPP but can't yet say if they breach its bottom lines for supporting the trade agreement.

Robertson said information released so far seems to indicate his party's position - that foreigners coming to the country be required to build new houses and not be allowed to buy existing ones - wouldn't be possible under the trade deal.

He said it raises serious questions about one of the bottom lines Labour has.

"We need to get into the actual text of the agreement to see what it is able to do, and whether it can cut across that bottom line or not. At this stage it doesn't look good."

The secrecy was also criticised by NZ First leader Winston Peters, who thinks the devil is in the details, and the detail we haven't got.

"It behoves the Prime Minister and those who are protagonists for this deal to tell us the exact details as to why it is so good. What we're hearing now is cause for real reservations."

Long-time opponent, Auckland University Professor Jane Kelsey, is also unhappy.

She said the language on the compromise around biologic medicines being so vague, means the United States will have its way.

That makes it a lousy "dairy for medicines deal" that is a total sell out, according to Kelsey.

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