25 Jan 2018

David Parker defends new TPP agreement

8:26 pm on 25 January 2018

Trade Minister David Parker is defending the revamped Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, saying it will support New Zealanders' job and incomes.

No caption

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Trade Minister David Parker. Photo: AFP

Eleven countries, including New Zealand, are preparing to sign the new deal - now renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive TPP (CPTPP) - in Chile on 8 March.

However, New Zealand failed to get the controversial Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism removed altogether.

The Green Party has said they will oppose the deal, as long as those provisions remained.

New Zealand First leader and Foreign Minister Winston Peters is defending his party's switch to support the new TPP, saying enough changes have been made to the deal to allay their concerns.

Back in February 2016 , thousands of people took to Queen Street protesting against the TPP, including its ISDS provisions.

But Trade Minister David Parker, who's in London, told Checkpoint with John Campbell that the Labour government had reversed the previous position and opposed ISDS provisions - despite not getting rid of them completely.

"The next question is what have we achieved in TPP in respect of ISDS clauses and the outcome there isn't perfect, but it's better than what it was," he said.

"We have narrowed their ambit. The last version of the agreement - for example - if you had disputes between the government and an overseas contractor building the Waterview Tunnel - they could have sued the government if they were in dispute through an international tribunal - now they can't."

An overseas contractor would now have to pursue the government through the New Zealand courts.

The government also had a bilaterial agreement with Australia and other countries that they would never use the ISDS clauses.

He said the "residual risk" arising out of the ISDS clauses was balanced by the advantages of being able to sell more goods and services to overseas countries, which supported New Zealanders' jobs and income.

The government will need National to pass the enabling legislation.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs