Trump means TPP down but not out, Kiwis say
Editor's note: as this article shows. opposition in NZ to the TPPA is dominated by the Left, who are glad the agreement may not go through, but still remain skeptical as they are convinced Trump represents big corporate interests (as if Hillary didn't).
Kiwis who opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement may be breathing a sigh of relief at its apparent demise, but are not letting their guard down.
On Thursday, John Key said the trade deal was dead in the water because of Donald Trump's election as president of the United States.
The agreement's 12 participating nations signed the deal in Auckland in February.
For it to come into effect, the nations then each needed to ratify it.
Donald Trump was against the TPP throughout his campaign. His website lists scrapping the deal as number one on his plan to rebuild the American economy, and says trade agreements were costing millions of American jobs..
Sue Pugmire has organised protests in Palmerston North against the deal.
"I'm very happy it might not get through at this point, it would be the best thing that could have happened for New Zealand, because there's nothing in it for trade for New Zealand, and there's a lot of risk.
"I don't 100 per cent trust [the stall]. It gives us longer to make sure it doesn't get through at all."
The TPP would benefit the wealthy, and though Trump said he was a people's politician, ultimately he would be working for "rich America, and corporate interests".
If it was dead in the water, it was important New Zealand did not pass legislative changes bringing the county in line with TPP provisions through Parliament, she said.
Fellow protester Cherylee Hemopo was also not reassured.
"I'd like to believe that this is going to be the end of it, but I'm worried about them rushing it through in the lame duck period [before the new Congress takes power].
"If it has squashed it, having Trump as president, it's worth it. A lot of people are quite hopeful."
Palmerston North lawyer Liam Hehir supported the deal and was disappointed it could fail.
"I thought it was good for the country, to deepen ties with other countries in the Pacific, so of course I think it's disappointing.
"It's over with now. We'll never find out if it was as bad as people said, or as good as others said. It's only academic now. I think Trump is completely ignorant in terms of trade."
Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway was cautious about renegotiating in the new political climate.
"The reasons Donald Trump has expressed he's opposed to the TPPA are very different to the reasons people in New Zealand have expressed opposition, and I imagine any renegotiation with the Trump administration would move toward a place that most New Zealanders would be very uncomfortable with.
"I think any negotiation with the US, whether for a multi-lateral deal or a bi-lateral deal, will involve a lot of pressure. We should only sign up to agreements that are in our best interests."
Massey University international relations associate professor Bethan Greener said it was likely Trump would face internal pressure from his party to reconsider his stance on trade deals.
There was some argument that closer trade ties created stronger security relationships between countries, and the loss of the TPP deal for the 12 nations could create some new challenges for the delicate balance of international relations.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, championed by China, could now become more attractive as an alternative for TPP countries.
"New Zealand is very good at playing a very tempered role where we want to be friends with everybody, and particularly in trade," she said.
"It does provide the opportunity to reassess our thinking about how we might continue to balance those relationships. We'll have to reassess what ideals each country is prioritising – under Trump the ideals we hold strongly might not be as important in the US, but if China continues to become more open, and to improve human rights we might be interested in pursuing a closer relationship with them."