TPP requires major sales effort to gain acceptance | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

TPP requires major sales effort to gain acceptance

New Zealanders are so deeply polarised on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that even if a good deal is finally negotiated it will take a major sales job on the Government's behalf so it's not viewed as a con job by many Kiwis.

This polarisation - which would be apparent to the Government's pollsters - may have been behind why John Key and Tim Groser stepped up the rhetoric on the pact this week.

Key used a sympathetic audience at Amcham's 50th anniversary celebrations in Auckland to stake out New Zealand's position on TPP and try to take the sting out of some of the wilder accusations which have gained currency in the absence of in-depth briefing from the Government side.

Groser's diplomacy has been more nuanced. This is not surprising given he is heading off to Kuala Lumpur this weekend for an Asean meeting where a Southeast Asian group-led meeting will endeavour to make more progress on the rival Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in which China is also a participant.

At the Amcham dinner Key said he would be concerned if the deal was not done by Christmas. He said it was really down to three or four leaders who could make it happen; the most influential by a significant margin is President Barack Obama.

It's Key's contention that Obama sees the deal as forming part of his presidential legacy along with the Iran deal and Obamacare, and was prepared to devote political capital to get it across the line.

The Prime Minister pointed to the many myths about the TPP and claimed the Government had its hands tied behind its back and couldn't talk about the detail.