7. BARRY COATES (Green) to the Minister of Trade: Why is he advancing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, when it is widely reported that the agreement will not get through the US Congress this year and countries like Canada, Australia, and Vietnam have delayed their ratification processes?
Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (Acting Minister of Trade): Because ratification is actually in New Zealand's best interests. I note the question talked about things being "widely reported". It is not the case that other countries are not committed to ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Most countries have the process of ratifying the TPP under way.
Barry Coates: Does the Minister agree with Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics Sciences winner Joseph Stiglitz, who called the TPP agreement the "worst trade deal ever"; the founder of Research in Motion, Jim Balsillie, who said it will inhibit innovation; and Professor Dani Rodrik from Harvard, who says the TPP agreement risks a protectionist backlash?
Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: No. I much prefer the sentiments expressed by people like Gordon Coates, who said New Zealand never got rich by trading with itself.
Barry Coates: Given that most New Zealanders oppose the TPP agreement, will the Government now change direction and develop a 21st century trade agreement that supports market access and trade for New Zealand businesses without restricting our right to regulate in the public interest and without opening us up to be sued by foreign corporations?
Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: It will come as no surprise to the honourable member that I dispute the phrase that began with "given that New Zealanders oppose the agreement …". He is simply wrong.
Barry Coates: Given that most New Zealanders also opposed the way his Government negotiated the TPP agreement in secret, will he follow the leader of the European Union and release New Zealand's proposals to the controversial Trade in Services Agreement currently being negotiated today; if not, why not?
Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: I dispute the underlying supposition of that question.