PM backs TPP talks secrecy

MICHELLE COOKE
Last updated 09:01 04/12/2012
John Key
JOHN SELKIRK/Fairfax NZ
JOHN KEY: "The people who are opposed sometimes are just opposed to free trade and live in a world that doesn't want to see New Zealand intersecting globally with the rest of the world".
JANE KELSEY
KEVIN STENT
JANE KELSEY: The move to hold TPP negotiations behind closed doors was "hugely depressing and totally unacceptable".

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The Prime Minister is backing holding Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations behind closed doors and says the public should ignore protesters "who live in a world that doesn't want to see New Zealand intersecting globally".

The 15th round of TPP negotiations among 11 countries began at SkyCity in Auckland yesterday morning but were shrouded in secrecy.

Protesters picketed outside, among them Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey, who is highly critical of the negotiations and the secrecy that surrounds them.

Kelsey said even the dates of various meetings were withheld until she secured them under the Official Information Act.

The move to hold the negotiations behind closed doors was "hugely depressing and totally unacceptable," she said.

But John Key disagreed and told TV3 this morning that the New Zealand public should ignore protesters such as Kelsey.

"People should ignore them and rely on the history, which is the history of New Zealand signing FTAs has been in New Zealand's interest and it's been successful," he said.

"The people who are opposed sometimes are just opposed to free trade and live in a world that doesn't want to see New Zealand intersecting globally with the rest of the world.

"That's fair enough, they're entitled to their view but in my view they're wrong."

The advice his government had received was that the partnership would add $2.9 billion to New Zealand's economy, and that translated into jobs.

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