1 Feb 2016

Not signing TPP 'disastrous' says minister

6:46 pm on 1 February 2016

It is a very big deal for New Zealand to be hosting the signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal this week, Trade Minister Todd McClay says.

Representatives from the 12 nations involved in the TPP are due to sign the agreement in Auckland on Thursday.

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Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mr McClay told Checkpoint the TPP was the country's biggest ever trade agreement and it would be inconceivable for New Zealand not to sign up.

"It's a good agreement for New Zealand, it opens up access to 800 million consumers in 11 countries who spend $27 trillion on GDP every year."

He said the government had also managed to arrange a powhiri to welcome those coming to sign the TPP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will release the details tomorrow.

Several Auckland iwi have refused to perform the powhiri because they believe the multinational trade agreement will undermine the country's sovereignty.

Regarding the cost of medicines under TPP Mr McClay was adamant there would be little impact.

"The analysis that's been done on the agreement, that I will be signing on behalf of New Zealand on Thursday, says that there are some small increases in cost around the margins and I think overall they say for Pharmac it will be about $2 million a year."

He said as a percentage of an $800 million budget that was insignificant.

"It's a very, very good agreement, it's better than the China agreement and it would be disastrous for the New Zealand economy if we didn't sign."