20 May 2015

Groser not sorry for upsetting Canadians

7:29 pm on 20 May 2015

Trade Minister Tim Groser is unapologetic about offending the Canadians after describing their dairy industry as belonging in the former Soviet Union.

Tim Groser

Tim Groser Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

But Labour's trade spokesperson David Parker said Mr Groser's blunt talk had spawned a new term in Washington to describe undiplomatic language as "grossing".

Mr Parker asked Mr Groser in Parliament whether he stood by his description of the Canadian dairy industry during negotiations on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"Yes because Mr Parker it's called a negotiation and to use one of Tana Umaga's memorable phrases we aren't here to play tiddlywinks," Mr Groser said.

Mr Parker then asked this.

"Has he seen international media reports that his abrasive and arrogant negotiating approach has spawned a new urban slang term in Washington DC for quote 'counter productive undiplomatic sledging', that term being grossing."

Mr Groser said unfortunately he had not but at least it showed New Zealand was making its mark.

Mr Parker asked Mr Groser whether he would admit he had poisoned negotiations if the terms of the TPP did not reduce tariffs on dairy exports to Canada as much as they had been reduced in the China free trade agreement.

"I'm prepared to make an offer to the member that if this negotiation is successfully concluded I'll introduce him to the adult world of New Zealand and Canada on dairy over the last 30 years where they have pitched their interests diametrically opposed to New Zealand's interest and it takes just a little bit of spine to stand up to it," Mr Groser said.

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