The rebranded TPPA-11 is a high stakes gamble for Labour (I refuse to call it the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership – there is nothing progressive about it!).
Jacinda Ardern admitted as much when she recorded a propaganda video, hailing the changes she says Labour won, while she was still en route back from Vietnam. She and David Parker know their claims won’t stand up to scrutiny. So they did what the Nats did after the old TPPA was agreed and frantically spun their line to a largely gullible media (with a few exceptions) and a support base who desperately want to believe.
What happens now? We are told there are four country-specific issues the eleven have yet to reach consensus on. These involve changes to schedules for Malaysia on State-owned enterprises, Brunei on investment for coal, and Vietnam on trade sanctions for certain products. These are portrayed as solvable – presumably because the countries have limited bargaining power. The fourth, a ‘cultural exception’ sought by Canada, is seen as more problematic. The Trudeau government has gone back home to consult on a number of issues, and they are not only about culture.