A statement by Andrew Little on the TPP

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People have been telling me that they don’t really understand Labour’s position on the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Look, it’s quite simple.  Let me be very clear about where we stand as a party on this issue, because some people don’t seem to get it. We’ve been accused of all sorts of things, but there is nothing cynical or opportunistic about Labour’s stance on the TPP.

As I keep pointing out, we haven’t even seen the final text of the TPP. But from what we’ve heard so far it doesn’t sound as if it will meet the bottom lines we indicated were essential before we could support the trade deal.

So at this stage we won’t be supporting the TPP, although we may end up supporting it once we’ve seen the details. We’re absolutely opposed to this trade deal as things currently stand, but that could all change tomorrow.

Our opposition to the TPP is principled and based on what we think is best for New Zealand. We don’t want New Zealand to sign up to the TPP, but nor would we pull New Zealand out of the deal. It wouldn’t be in New Zealand’s best interests to pull out, even if we happen to think it’s a bad deal. It may be a bad deal, but a bad deal is still a deal, and pulling out of this bad deal would be a bigger deal that not doing the bad deal in the first place.

Labour is not opposed to free trade. We recognise that as an exporting nation we need to honour our international commitments. What kind of example would we be setting as a developed nation if we looked to back out of our international obligations? That’s why a Labour government won’t pull New Zealand out of the TPP. We’ll instead just ignore the bits we don’t like.

New Zealand is not a banana republic, and we can’t just tear up the treaties we sign with other countries. That’s why a Labour government will honour all of the international commitments entered into by this government on behalf of New Zealand, even if we don’t like them, unless we change our minds and decide we won’t honour those commitments because we don’t like them.

See, that wasn’t difficult to grasp, was it?

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