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Labour's TPP opposition comes under fire

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 8/05/2016
Trade Minister Todd McClay © Getty Images Trade Minister Todd McClay

The Trade Minister has taken a swipe at Labour over its decision not to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Todd McClay says Labour's confirmation that it will vote against the 12-nation deal when the legislation goes to parliament is disappointing.

"TPP meets every one of the bottom lines set by the Labour Party," he said.

"New Zealand businesses will rightly be questioning how Labour can claim to support exporters to grow and create new jobs."

A committee of MPs that studied the agreement and heard public submissions on it presented its report to parliament last week.

The cross-party foreign affairs, defence and trade committee held public meetings around the country to explain the TPP and hear opinions on it, but didn't have the power to change anything in it.

Labour, which had two members on the committee, and the Greens and New Zealand First, which had one, all submitted minority reports explaining why they opposed the TPP.

"The TPPA will have ramifications for generations of New Zealanders.

"For their sake, we should not so lightly enter into an agreement which may exacerbate long-term challenges for our economy, workforce, and society," Labour said.

Mr McClay said the opposition was at odds with the view of former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Trade Minister Phil Goff.

"This flies in the face of Labour's long history of welcoming free trade agreements," he said.

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