Government to sign controversial UN Migration Compact

This looks a bit like a decision dumped at the end of the parliamentary year knowing that it could be controversial – Winston Peters has announced that the Government will support a UN Migration Compact after getting advice it won’t compromise New Zealand’s sovereignty.

If there is no problem why make the announcement now? Perhaps Peters thought it might compromise his and NZ First’s strong anti-immigration stance prior to them getting into power. That had already fizzled somewhat.

NZ First immigration policy (prior to last year’s election) included:

  • Stop the knee jerk annual immigration planning and start working on ten year and 25 year plans.
  • Create a new organisation to protect the integrity of New Zealand citizenship known as the Immigration Inspectorate.
  • Create an “undesirables” category, to ensure those from dangerous and unethical regimes are red-flagged before they get here.
  • Remove the capacity for New Zealand to even consider for refugee status, those with terrorism related convictions in other jurisdictions.
  • Make the Refugee Status Appeals Authority more directly responsible to Parliament.
  • Make DNA testing compulsory when any doubt exists over immigrant/refugee family relationships.
  • Refugee family reunification will be limited to spouses and immediate dependent siblings.
  • Consult New Zealanders about the make up of those coming here.

Peters has avoided talking about this UN Migration Compact until making this announcement, let alone consult with New Zealanders about it.

In particular:

  • New Zealand First will meet UN refugee obligation but believes humanitarian benevolence has been abused by family reunification policy.

NZ First’s tough stance on immigration seemed to be the attraction to voters, but things was whittled down to this in immigration in the Labour-NZ First Coalition agreement: As per Labour’s policy, pursue Labour and New Zealand First’s shared priorities to:

  • Ensure work visas issued reflect genuine skills shortages and cut down on low quality international education courses.
  • Take serious action on migrant exploitation, particularly of international students

The NZ First Party itself still wanted more vetting of potential immigrants. From their conference in September: NZ First members want migrants and refugees to sign to core values:

A remit to introduce a Respecting New Zealand Values Bill for migrants and refugees was passed by party members despite some opposition, and will now go to the caucus for policy consideration.

These values would include respect for gender equality, legal sexual preferences, freedom of religion and a commitment not to campaign against alcohol consumption.

New Zealand First MP Clayton Mitchell helped draft the bill and read out its intentions.

“New Zealand is a tolerant society. Our tolerance means that if an individual wants to immigrate to New Zealand, they must accept, respect and adhere to the tolerance our society expects,” it said.

“Immigrants must agree to respect New Zealand’s values and to live a life that demonstrates that they respect New Zealand values.”

From a NZ First announcement two days ago: Common sense approach to immigration welcomed

The Government is taking serious action on the immigration system to make it work better for New Zealand businesses and the regions.

Today’s announcement proposes introducing a new framework for assessing all employer-assisted temporary work visas and replacing the Essential Skills in Demand Lists with Regional Skills Shortage Lists.

“New Zealand First celebrates the end to the previous Government’s open borders approach which did not adequately address our skills shortages and put significant strain on our infrastructure,” says Mr Mitchell.

Also two days ago from Todd McClay, National’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Peters’ still hiding stance on Global Compact:

Winston Peters’ continued refusal to make a decision and tell the public what New Zealand’s position on the United Nations Global Compact on Migration is shameful, National’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“This morning the Prime Minister confirmed that a final decision is yet to be made on whether New Zealand is signing up to the Global Compact on Migration or not and we are all waiting on the Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters, to make up his mind.

“It beggars belief that the Foreign Minister is still considering what New Zealand’s decision will be.

“The Government has been negotiating this agreement since February, and the Minister signed off on our negotiating position then. The Minister also received a final draft in July, and New Zealand attended the adoption meeting in Morocco last week and yet New Zealanders are still being kept in the dark.

“This is a serious matter. When New Zealand commits to frameworks such as these on the global stage, it is the public’s interests at stake.

“But even after weeks of questioning by National, the Government seems no closer to providing information on whether they will commit us to this United Nations framework

Also two days ago in Parliament’s question time  Labour’s David Parker spoke on behalf of Peters (Peters was in Washington):

10. Hon TODD McCLAY (National—Rotorua) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs: Has he made a decision whether New Zealand will sign up to the United Nations global compact for migration?

Hon DAVID PARKER (Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs): On behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the member continues to display a fundamental misunderstanding of the diplomatic processes that apply. There is no document to be signed; there is a vote.

Hon Todd McClay: Why has the Government not yet been able to make a decision, given he has had the draft text of the UN compact since July?

Hon DAVID PARKER: On behalf of the Minister, because we are carefully checking all of the facts, including the irresponsible and incorrect assertions that this somehow curbs the sovereignty of countries that vote for the compact.

Hon Todd McClay: Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs confirm that the Government have been negotiating the compact since February, they’ve had the draft text since July, adopted it in Morocco last week, and are actually just keeping Kiwis in the dark until after Parliament has lifted for the summer recess?

Hon DAVID PARKER: On behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, no. I can confirm that the gymnastics of the Opposition, who signed up to the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants on—

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Stop telling lies.

Hon Todd McClay: Was the Prime Minister correct on NewstalkZB this morning when she said that it’s Winston Peters who would be making the decision to sign the UN compact later this week and not Cabinet?

Hon DAVID PARKER: I have seen the transcript of that interview, and that is an improper characterisation of it. [Interruption] It’s an incorrect characterisation of it.

Hon Todd McClay: Does he agree with the statement that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters, made to media that the problem with these non-binding agreements is over time they become binding; and, if so, will he inform his Cabinet colleagues of his long-held position on UN agreements?

Hon DAVID PARKER: …The first point to make would be that I’m sure that the Minister of Foreign Affairs was speaking in respect of treaties. This is not a treaty. The second point I would make is that the reversal by the National Party on its earlier position is desperate, opportunist flip-flop, which appears to show that the National Party takeover by Judith Collins is just about complete.

This demonstrates the contentious nature of the UN Compact on Migration.

Yesterday’s announcement:

Government legal advice says UN Migration Compact doesn’t compromise sovereignty

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand will support the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration after being satisfied fears about the document are unfounded.

“The Government would not support the UN compact if it compromised New Zealand’s sovereignty or could in any way take precedence over our immigration or domestic laws. But the compact does not do that,” said Mr Peters.

“The Crown Law Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have provided legal advice which confirms this UN cooperation framework is neither legally binding nor constraining on this country setting its own migration policies.”

Specifically the legal advice has stated that:

  • The compact is non-legally binding and does not create legal obligations;
  • It does not establish customary international law;
  • The compact should not be taken to give the legal instruments referred to in the text as having any binding effect that those instruments do not already have in international law;
  • It reaffirms the sovereign right of States to determine national immigration policy and laws and that States have the sole authority to distinguish between regular and irregular migratory status;
  • The compact does not establish any new human rights law, nor create any new categories of migrants, nor establish a right to migrate.
  • The compact in no way restricts or curtails established human rights, including the right to freedom of expression.

“The legal advice from Crown Law is not surprising but is important advice in debunking falsehoods or misguided perceptions being spread about the implications of this framework,” said Mr Peters.

“We are aware that the statements of other countries voting in support of the compact, such as the United Kingdom, are underpinned by legal advice supporting their positions.”

“In the end, New Zealand will be voting for a cooperation framework that was clearly set out at the start of the compact’s negotiations process in 2016 when the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants was unanimously adopted by all UN member states, including New Zealand under the previous government,” said Mr Peters.

“New Zealand is voting for the Compact because we support greater efforts in controlling migration issues while also being confident our own sovereign decision making isn’t compromised,” he said.

Reaction from Simon Bridges from NZ to vote in favour of UN Migration Compact (NZH):

National leader Simon Bridges has said the compact treats legal and illegal migration in the same way.

“There is no automatic right to migrate to another country without that country’s full agreement, a view which the UN’s Global Compact on Migration seeks to counter.

“While not binding, the compact could restrict the ability of future governments to set immigration and foreign policy, and to decide on which migrants are welcome and which aren’t.”

Newstalk ZB (audio): Misinformation around the UN migration compact is wrong

“It does not mean that you have a right to migrate, it does mean that your sovereignty is in any way compromised, and it does not mean that this overrides or prevails over the immigration law of any one country.”

The Free Speech Coalition says the UN Compact for Migration prohibits all critical speech of open-border migration, and encourages reporters to be educated on migration terminology. They say that’s unjustifiable in a free society.

But Peters says they haven’t read the whole thing.

“It begins by saying this, this and this, and it reaffirms that the media have the utmost right to practice their trade, free without fodder from politicians or governments.”

Peters says that in their statement to the United Nations tomorrow morning our time, they will be making it clear how New Zealand is interpreting the compact.

Countries can interpret the compact however they like? That seems odd.

And does it leave it open to future New Zealand governments to re-interpret it?

Signing the UN Compact is probably not an achievement that Peters will be campaigning on next election.

Peters: Commonwealth leaders excited about trade agreement

Winston Peters has said that Commonwealth leaders are excited about a putting a 53 trade agreement together, and want to start before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union next year – but I don’t think the UK can start trade deals until they are out of the EU.

RNZ: Excitement over Commonwealth-wide free trade agreement

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is talking up the prospect of a free trade agreement between all 53 commonwealth nations after discussions in London over the weekend.

New Zealand is already working on trade agreements with Britain and the European Union as Brexit looms, but Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said there was a lot of excitement at CHOGM about a possible free trade agreement between all the commonwealth nations.

He said leaders want to get started on the deal before the UK leaves the EU next March.

“There’s a whole lot of excitement about that and how we might begin to put some flesh to an idea, which was levelled two years ago, but since 23 June 2016 it’s become real and so that was very exciting.

“A whole lot of countries – without saying too much about it – realise there’s something very exciting and new about this,” he said.

That’s an odd statement – he thinks they are all excited without saying much?

It would be a big task putting a deal together with so many countries. It would need to be quite general and could be relatively limited. Otherwise there could be a lot of inter-country details to work out.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there was potential in the deal, but New Zealand’s main focus was on the EU and UK Free Trade Agreements – which represent $15 billion and $5bn in trade.

“That’s where we’re focused, but at the same time we do see there being benefit to us continuing to nudge along the fact that where we have these platforms – as we have with the East Asia summit and the Pacific Alliance – that actually the platforms provide a good starting point for a discussion around trade.”

Ardern is one leader who doesn’t seem as excited as Peters suggests, but maybe she could get absolutely excited at nudging it along.

The UK and EU agreements are expected to take years to work out, and if the main focus is on them then a Commonwealth wide agreement could take a long time – quite possibly longer than Peters is a Minister.

National Party trade spokesperson Todd McClay said he was hopeful of Commonwealth discussions, but was wary of so many players being involved.

“India hasn’t done a high-quality free trade deal with any country of the world yet, it would be really good if they would do one with New Zealand.

“I’m just a bit cautious around how much progress could be made Commonwealth-wide, because the more parties you put around a table the greater the challenges. We saw that with TPP,” he said.

Mr McClay also said any notion that a Commonwealth deal could be struck before Brexit took place was impossible.

“That’s just not going to happen – TPP with just 12 countries took nine years to negotiate, the countries were similar, the Commonwealth are very different types of economies and very different parts of the world.

“It is worth us being part of that conversation and helping to move it forward, but it can’t go before our desire for a free trade agreement with the UK and with the European Union,” he said.

It may be difficult for Peters to sustain his excitement.

Talks on TPP minus USA

In May Japan surprisingly indicated an interest in reviving the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Talks get under way in Japan this week without the US.

Donald Trump withdrew the US from the TPP as soon as he became president.

RNZ:  Japan’s change of heart on TPP good for English

The commitment of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Trans-Pacific Partnership clearly came as a surprise to both Mr English and his Trade Minister Todd McClay.

In terms of Shinzo Abe’s sudden decision to get back on the TPP-train Mr English credits Mr McClay’s work getting around the region talking up the agreement and trying hard to convince the other remaining 10 nations that it’s worth sticking with.

It may be Mr McClay’s hard work that helped convince the Japanese, but it is also true that Japan is increasingly nervous about its rogue neighbour, North Korea.

The TPP is both a trade deal and a strategic deal and with Japan having it written into its constitution that it can’t use war as a means to settle international disputes, it needs strong allies – hence its obvious preference at having a deal which involves the United States.

Mr Abe wants the TPP text to remain as it is, which means the United States will get the benefits of the agreement even if it isn’t signed up.

But it also means it is easy enough for the United States to rejoin the grouping should it wish to in the future.

Either way the change of heart by the Japanese looked good for Mr English after his first major meeting in Asia as Prime Minister.

Now: TPP reps meet in Japan ahead of APEC

Countries that signed up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have sent representatives to Japan to work on an agreement this week – without the United States.

They’re hoping to have a proposal ready for trade ministers at November’s APEC meeting in Vietnam.

With continuing uncertainty over trade policy under the Trump administration in the US, there’s rising interest in how a regional trade deal might increase security.

New Zealand’s Trade Minister Todd McClay said economic and strategic benefits went hand in hand.

He said countries that traded with each other and were integrated economically were usually good friends.

“If you look over a period of time, it’s not the only reason, but often that’s why regions have been destabilised – when you don’t have that balance around opportunity and growth.”

There was more to trade and trade agreements that just people buying and selling, he said.

If there is a change in government in September I wonder if there will be a change in approach to the TPP.

One of the points of opposition to the TPP was giving concessions to the US.

The Nation – trade

On The Nation (9.30 am Saturday, 10:00 am Sunday):

Patrick Gower talks to Todd McClay MP about what happens next for New Zealand trade now the TPPA’s been Trumped.

Yesterday the Government launched a trade policy onslaught:

PM launches ambitious trade agenda

Prime Minister Bill English has today launched New Zealand’s updated trade strategy, Trade Agenda 2030, and reiterated the Government’s commitment to free trade.

The Prime Minister has also announced the Government’s ambitious goal of having free trade agreements cover 90 per cent of New Zealand’s goods exports by 2030, up from 53 per cent today, as well as investing $91.3 million over four years through Budget 2017 to help achieve this.

Also:


McClay is doing a good job of talking knowledgeable and reasonably frank about the prospects of future trade agreements.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says Government still wants to do a trade deal with Russia, even if Vladimir Putin is in power.

Trade Minister Todd McClay on a plane to meet Trump administration “within the month”.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says Saudi Arabia/Gulf states free trade deal will be signed this year.

 

 

Kiwibank ownership changed

NZ Post has sold nearly half of it’s shares in Kiwibank to two other Crown entities, the Super Fund and ACC.

The NZ Super Fund and the Accident Compensation Corporation’s purchase of minority stakes in Kiwibank has been welcomed by Finance Minister Bill English and State Owned Enterprises Minister Todd McClay.

“The deal keeps Kiwibank in public ownership and gives the bank access to additional sources of capital,” Mr English says.

“It also returns a dividend of about $200 million to the Government which can be used for other high priorities.”

Under the terms of the deal, NZ Post has sold a 25% shareholding in Kiwibank to the Super Fund and a 22% shareholding to ACC. The remaining Kiwibank shares are retained by NZ Post.  NZ Post, the NZ Super Fund and ACC are all owned by the Crown.

Mr McClay says the deal recognises that the business operations of NZ Post and Kiwibank are at very different stages of development.

“The transaction will result in a greater separation of NZ Post’s and Kiwibank’s operations and will allow the boards and management of both businesses to focus on their respective markets.”

Green co-leader James Shaw responded:

The privatisation of Kiwibank starts today with a 47% sale to ACC and Super Fund.

would have invested $100 million directly in Kiwibank meaning we’d still own it in 5, 10, 20 years’ time…

https://www.greens.org.nz/policy/smarter-economy/kiwibank-can-get-low-rates-all-us

More from McClay on China trade issue

Trade Minister Todd McClay has now revealed that concerns about possible trade reprisals from China first came to his notice in May, two months before the Government denied any issue.

Stuff: Todd McClay confirms China-NZ talks since May over trade reprisal fears

The New Zealand and Chinese governments were in talks as early as May over fears of trade reprisals, Trade Minister Todd McClay has revealed.

McClay said the “engagement” in late May – long before Zespri passed on a warning from a Chinese commerce official in early July – were at “various levels of Government”.

The July warnings made to Zespri, Fonterra and potentially other primary exporters indicated exports would be slowed down by the imposition of so-called non-tariff barriers.

McClay on Monday told Stuff there were limits to what he could say “given the legislative constraints around the reporting of competition complaints that are not yet under investigation”.

But he said the concerns in May “in broad terms … related to both governments explaining their positions; clarifying legislative and other requirements around trade remedy issues; or seeking assurances in the event of suggestions or rumours of possible trade retaliation”.

He said it was not until July 8 – at least six weeks later – that he was briefed by the New Zealand Embassy in Shanghai on “an industry specific threat”.

When Stuff first broke news of the July 8 threat, passed on by Zespri, it was dismissed by exporters and the Government as an unsubstantiated rumour.

McClay had tried to brush off the issue but later apologised to the Prime Minister.

He also apologised to Prime Minister John Key who publicly reprimanded McClay for not giving broad enough answers and for “dancing on the head of a pin” with what he had said, leaving Key himself to provide false answers to reporters.

Key said McClay had left the impression that the only communication was between Zespri and a non-government organisation “and that’s not true”.

Trade and diplomacy has to be handled carefully in public but McClay too careful, or careless.

Last week Zespri said Chinese authorities had discovered on June 6 a fungus or rot in two containers of its kiwifruit. They had waited until early August to issue a “risk notification” that would have the effect of slowing down the clearance of kiwifruit at the border.

In response Zespri halted shipments to China for a week while it put in place “protocols” to address the issue. Meanwhile it diverted a million trays of fruit to other markets.

While the Chinese reaction matched the reported threat, officials and ministers have described it as a technical issue – reiterated by Key on Monday – and have denied any link to Chinese retaliation saying the timing was coincidental and an issue could have blown up at any time.

Are import issues common? Or is this an out of the ordinary ‘coincidence’?

It’s kinda ironic that one of our big exports to China are derivative varieties of what were known as Chinese gooseberries.

The truth, the whole truth

The truth is something a lot of politicians seem to have some difficulty with, especially the whole truth (except for a few politicians who seem to have no difficulty promoting mistruths).

Trade Minister Todd McClay learnt a lesson this week about what can happen about not being up front with the truth.

Audrey Young: Harsh lessons about telling truth in politics

Two politicians found themselves in trouble this week, one for not telling the truth, and the other for telling the truth.

Both were damaging.

Todd McClay’s failure to tell the truth reflects badly on him as Trade Negotiations Minister rather than his party. He has held that job for only six months but he has been a minister for three years.

He mishandled a media story that floated the notion of a trade war by the Chinese Government with New Zealand in retaliation against a possible inquiry into Chinese steel imports. It turns out that he and his officials had had enough information since the end of May to cast doubt on it. But he gave the story legs by denials about the Government then two different admissions as to what he knew and when.

McClay gave answers to questions that may have been technically correct in terms of a Chinese Government trade war but were misleading in terms of what he actually knew about comments made by a Chinese importer.

The Opposition tried to paint the political failings of the minister into a story about the failure of the Government to take threats of a trade war seriously. But the facts did not support the claim. Key himself had been kept in the dark by McClay.

Being publicly castigated by the Prime Minister and forced to apologise will be a lasting blight on his career. If in doubt, tell the truth, the whole truth.

It certainly reflected poorly on McClay, and it also added some taint to National.

I don’t expect we will ever get many politicians prepared to tell the whole truth unless it benefits them, but telling a decent chunk of the truth, and not misleading or telling lies, should be an essential.

The truth is important, even though we can’t expect to always get the whole truth. Nothing but the truth should be a basic minimum of elected representatives.

McClay reprimanded over Chinese trade issues

The Trade Minister Todd McClay has been publicly reprimanded by John Key for not being open and honest to Key or to the public after a story broke about alleged Chinese threats over trade.

Stuff: McClay rebuked by PM after failing to reveal wider fears of China retribution

After days downplaying Stuff reports, McClay on Monday revealed officials have been “for months” examining reports that China could retaliate if an investigation into steel dumping in New Zealand went ahead.

He also apologised to Key for not seeking more detail on the issue, but he stopped short of offering his resignation.

Key said McClay’s answers to media at a joint press conference in Indonesia, after Stuff broke the story, left the impression “that the only correspondence, the only discussion, had been between Zespri and a non-Government organisation and that’s not true”.

It’s not uncommon for Ministers to avoid telling the public everything about an issue, sometimes to try and protect themselves, sometimes to protect others from revelations that could be embarrassing.

But to not be up front with the Prime Minister can create serious problems for the Government, as it did in this case due to Key giving responses to media that turned out to be inaccurate.

There had been discussions and correspondence with others.

“He should have made both the media and me aware of that.”

“I think he took a very literal interpretation of the question that was asked of him. While that …may have been technically correct the point I was making to him is that’s giving a very specific and, I think, ‘dancing on the head of a pin’-type of answer to what was really a broader question. “

Key says that McClay has apologised to him but has not offered his resignation. McClay should be on notice not to stuff up like this again.

Labour leader Andrew Little called for Key to sack McClay. 

“A Minister who does not appreciate the seriousness of possible retaliatory action by our biggest trading partner against some of our biggest export industries simply should not be in the job.”

I have no idea whether it warrants the sacking of McClay, but Opposition calls for sackings tend to be not infrequent and often overplayed. In any case McClay may have appreciated the seriousness of the issue with China, but not the importance of properly informing the PM.

McClay was hamstrung in what he could say about a possible complaint about steel dumping because under WTO rules the Government could not confirm that until a formal investigation was launched.

How much to tell the PM is an ongoing judgement call by ministers, in this case poorly judged by McClay, but if Ministers resigned or were sacked over every stuff up there would be a drastic shortage of experience in Cabinet.

Key still played down the seriousness of the trade threats.

Key continued to describe the fears of China retaliating as “unsubstantiated rumours”.

“I think it still does fit in that category.”

There had been “engagement” like the one between an NGO and Zespri.

“What has happened is where there have been questions raised about whether, if there was an action taken, there would be retaliatory action the minister and the ministry have sought assurances that wouldn’t take place,” Key said.

“And to the best of our knowledge they have received those assurances.”

There have been claims ranging from serious trade threats from China to the story being an over-egged political hit job in New Zealand.

If the latter then jeopardising trade relations with China for political purposes deserves some attention, but don’t expect openness with the public or resignations for stuff ups in that respect.

Anti-TPPA clowns

Some appropriately dressed clowns tried to disrupt the first TPPA information road show in Auckland today.

NZH reports: Clowns kicked out of Trans Pacific Partnership roadshow

Four people dressed as clowns have been kicked out of the first stop of the Government’s Trans-Pacific Partnership information roadshow in Auckland.

The quartet were honking horns, blowing balloons and laughing, Newstalk ZB reported.

Protesters complained about the public not being told enough about the TPPA, now a small number of them are disrupting a public information sessions.

The road show is taking place in Auckland today, before moving on to Christchurch on Friday and Dunedin and Wellington next week.Trade Minister Todd McClay said everyone was welcome – including those strongly opposed to the trade deal. All questions would be answered.

I’m registered for Dunedin’s roadshow.

But protest and placards should be left outside, so an open and frank conversation could take place, Mr McClay said.

He denied the roadshows were an attempt at political spin – they were held for every new trade deal, including one with China.

The morning session is general information, the afternoon session is to help businesses learn how to benefit from the TPPA.

Labour Party leader Andrew Little said he doubted the road show would change Kiwis’ minds.

The public was told nothing for the seven years while it was negotiated, then the entire document was dumped into the public domain and signed, Mr Little said.

That’s disappointing piffle from Little. Perhaps he should go to the roadshow when it’s in Wellington. He might learn something useful.

Labour ‘officially’ opposing TPPA

One News last night said that Labour finally confirms it’s opposed to controversial TPPA.

Labour’s leader says it’s now opposing the TPP. But the Trade Minister said Andrew Little should be very careful about trying to renegotiate.

Andrea Vance: Ambivalent until now, Labour has finally confirmed it is opposed to the controversial Trans Pacific trade deal.

Andrew Little: I don’t support it. We don’t support it.

Andrea Vance: Labour’s convinced the trade-off tramples over Parliament’s sovereign right to make laws.

Andrew Little: Very difficult as it is for us as a party that for eighty years has supported for, championed and advanced the cause of free trade, we see an agreement that cuts right across the rights of New Zealand citizens…

Andrea Vance: Plus Andrew points to US University analysis which predicts the deal will lead to between five thousand and six thousand jobs lost in New Zealand by 2025. The report also estimates GDP growth of less than 0.8%, again by 2025.

Andrew Little: They’re saying that the New Zealand economy as a result of the TPPA will have grown by 47% as opposed to 46% without the TPPA so they’re saying not much here…

Andrea Vance: So what’s it mean for the TPP if Labour gets in to Government?

Andrew Little: I’ll go to the other parties and say ‘right, this isn’t good enough for New Zealand, and New Zealand has said that, and we want to renegotiate these things.

Andrea Vance: The Government says these threats put Labour on shaky grounds.

Todd McClay (Trade Minister): I think they need to be very careful about the signals that they are sending.

Andrea Vance: At least Labour seems to have stopped serving up mixed signals.

That was Little last night. This morning: Labour split on TPPA