What precisely is Labour’s actual position in free trade these days?

Labour can’t seem to make up their mind on free trade these days.

They vehemently opposed the TPPA, then after the deal was done said it wasn’t good enough, but that they would probably support it, while Andrew Little said if he was in government he would ignore the bits he didn’t like.

Phil Goff has come out yesterday with clear support.

Senior Labour MP Phil Goff says it is unlikely the party would have to breach parts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPPA) free trade deal if it came to power, with “more than one way to skin the cat” regarding its concerns.

Goff, a former Labour leader and the trade minister who signed a free trade agreement with China in 2008, told TV3’s Paul Henry?he had encouraged his party colleagues to consider the costs of opting out of the deal, which was “not the monster” that opponents were afraid of. ?

He denied Labour was “stuck in the dark ages” regarding the TPPA, and said the party had not yet decided whether it would support or oppose the deal.

“I think the party is doing the right thing at the moment – until you read the fine print, you don’t sign the document.

“We’ve had a briefing from Tim Groser and that was really helpful, but there are things that he couldn’t answer…and we’ve got to see the detail of it.”

Goff say he “maybe [knew] a little bit more about the trade than some of the others” in Labour due to his involvement in initial negotiations, and said he had asked his colleagues to consider the costs of not being in the TPPA.

“This is a deal that’s going to get bigger: It’s 12 countries now, but I can conceive that China will come in, South Korea will come in.

“Let’s look it at it honestly: This is not the gold standard that I set out to achieve – dairy is frankly third rate and that was disappointing – but nor is it the monster that TPPA opponents were afraid of.”

None of the scaremongering came to pass, and opponents look more than a little bit foolish.

Goff though is slapping his own caucus members with his comments and clearly undermining Andrew Little, though to be fair the former mining union boss is making a good fist of undermining himself.

Labour though have shown they can’t be trusted with the economy or government. Any party that says they will ignore binding agreements is really a joke party.

All of which explains why National rose off the back of a FTA and Labour sunk back under 30%.


– Fairfax