National wants to see full TPP text before supporting it

The government needs National's help to pass CPTPP, but transparency comes first, says Todd McClay.

The government must release the text of the updated version of the TPP to Parliament before any vote occurs, National’s Todd McClay says.

The opposition’s trade spokesman says Trade Minister David Parker doesn’t have the requisite number of votes to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – commonly referred to as the TPP – and needs National’s buy-in.

Mr McClay says the government shouldn’t wait for other members of the enormous Pacific-wide agreement before releasing the substance of the text for parliamentary perusal.

“It’s very important that not only do we receive a briefing but that the document itself, with the changes they are claiming have made the deal better, are released so the public can make up its own mind.

“The original TPP text of the agreement was released three months before signature [in Auckland in 2016] and the assessment of the deal for how good it was for New Zealand was released about a month before signing,” he says.

Mr McClay notes both NZ First and Labour at the time were insistent in 2016 about “openness and transparency” and it would be “cynical” for them not to release the text when they are in government.

“My view is the TPP is likely to be a very good deal for New Zealand. The vast majority of what’s in it was negotiated by the National government and I don’t think there are any significant changes that have altered it to such a degree that makes it different,” he says.

“But because they don’t have the numbers in Parliament, they must demonstrate a strong bipartisan approach."

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