Trade Minister Tim Groser is promising transparency over the
controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed regional
free trade agreement that is being negotiated by 12 countries
throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
Despite understanding New Zealanders' concerns over the lack
of public information in negotiations for the TPP, Mr Groser
said the negotiations themselves were delicate.
''To do anything delicate requires discretion.
''If we had sent out some of the earlier drafts, New
Zealanders would have thought 'This is completely
unacceptable' and I would be in the ridiculous position of
saying `Yes, and that's why we negotiate, because I'm not
going to agree to this ridiculous position'.''
And while he expressed sympathy for those in New Zealand
concerned over the talks being conducted behind closed doors,
he said transparency would be achieved at the parliamentary
''We will have to present the whole show with all the details
and appendices and all the technical explanations to the New
Zealand Parliament,'' he said.
''It will then be subject to a massive political debate and
we have to work that through in a democratic way.''
Mr Groser was in Otago to support National's Southland-Clutha
candidate Todd Barclay in the historically National-safe
A strengthened US economy would benefit New Zealand exporters
as the New Zealand dollar would fall to a more appropriate
level, he said.
With export prices falling and primary industries leading the
way down, the way to avoid the ups and downs of the commodity
cycle ''is to get into the most sophisticated end of it''.
''The story on agriculture is a little bit caricatured,'' Mr
Groser said. The image of a ''low-tech'' industry, important
more as New Zealand's past, is unfair and ''fundamentally
With 70% of the world's trade in sheep meat and a growing
dairy sector that can only produce the amount by which global
demand increases, New Zealand - a country that he said could
feed 50 million to 60 million people - is well positioned for
''We know that the world demand for food is explosive now,''
''World food consumption has to increase by 70% by 2050. And
there are massive environmental and other sustainability
issues around agriculture in most of these ... economies from
which this demand is emerging.
''We are seeing the biggest wealth creation process the world
has ever seen going on in front of our eyes and it is
transforming our opportunities.''
The trade policy platform would exploit the opportunities, he
''We've got essentially free trade coming into New Zealand.
Our trade negotiation agenda is all about improving it on the