21 Feb 2016

Call to extend deadline for TPP submissions

7:29 am on 21 February 2016

The Labour Party is seeking to extend the deadline for submissions on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Caucus run 21/07/15

David Clark Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade committee is considering the TPP and public feedback on the controversial agreement is due by 11 March.

One of Labour's members on the committee, David Clark, said people had told him they wanted more time to go through the more than 6000 pages of text.

Mr Clark said an extension would be fair and appropriate.

"To make sure that those with an interest in the TPP, who are making the effort to wrestle with the text and understand what the meaning is and implications for the future of New Zealand, are given the appropriate opportunity to make meaningful submissions so we make better law."

The committee's chair, Mark Mitchell, said it was too early to judge whether an extension was needed, but the option was on the table.

"The committee's got the discretion to be able to accept late submissions. Certainly we did that on the Korean free trade agreement with substantive submissions.

"The other option is, if we've got a heavy flow of submissions, we can also look at extending the date."

Mr Mitchell said about 13 submissions had been received so far, and one of them requested to make an oral submission.

The committee is due to report back to Parliament in May.

The government already has the numbers it needs in Parliament to ratify the deal.