The Mendacities of Mr Key #5: Has Tim Groser shown the P.M. to be a liar on the TPPA?



lying politician


In the ongoing debate on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, Dear  Leader John Key has been at pains to try to reassure New Zealanders that any TPPA document would be “first  presented to Parliament”.

On 1 October 2013, Key said;

With all [free trade agreements] the way that they work is that have to be ratified by Parliament, and we have to build a parliamentary majority, and all of that has to happen through the transparency of the deal.”

“…my advice is that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will require legislation, so, ultimately, once it has gone through the select committee and the public have had their chance to have input, and it has gone through all of those various stages, the Government of the day will require a parliamentary mandate, so by definition people would have had a lot of input.”

And on 31st March this year, Key asserted on NewstalkZB;

In the end, this thing has to go through our Parliament has to be ratified by our Parliament and has to bear scrutiny and I believe is in the best interests of New Zealand.”

Professor Jane Kelsey was one of many who countered Key’s assertions that Parliament would “ratify” any final agreement. Also on 31 March, she stated;

 “How many times do the Prime Minister and other members of the government have to be hauled up for misrepresenting the role of Parliament in making treaties, especially the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement’? The Prime Minister is either woefully ignorant of the fundamental process of treaty making, as set out in the Cabinet Manual, or he is wilfully misrepresenting the process to the New Zealand public.

Parliament’s role in treaty making is largely symbolic. It has no power to decide whether or not the TPPA should be signed or ratified and no ability to change its terms TPPA or require it to be renegotiated.

The select committee process is a farcical exercise because its members know they cannot change the treaty.

At most, Parliament could refuse to pass legislation that is required to bring a particular law into compliance with the TPPA. But the government will have plenty of non-legislative ways to achieve compliance.”

Finally, on 15 June, on TVNZ’s Q+A, National’s own Trade Minister, Tim Groser responsible for TPPA negotiations clearly and utterly refuted any notion that the TPPA would have to be “ratified” by Parliament;

TDB Recommends


“Oh well, we wouldn't put [this] before the New Zealand Parliament. If we're the government of the day, that has to put the ratifying legislation through Parliament, a deal didn't make a great deal of sense to New Zealand.”
Oh well, we wouldn’t put [this] before the New Zealand Parliament. If we’re the government of the day, that has to put the ratifying legislation through Parliament, a deal didn’t make a great deal of sense to New Zealand.”

Note the first part of Groser’s response to interviewer,  Corin Dann (@ 8:58);

Oh well, we wouldn’t put [this] before the New Zealand Parliament.

There we have it. The Trade Minister himself confirming what Jane Kelsey and other critics of the secret deal-making  surrounding the TPPA have said all along: once the government agrees to a final document, it will not require ratification by Parliament.

John Key making a mistake once, is understandable.

John Key repeating that same mistake at least  three times is no longer a “mistake”. It becomes willful misinformation. A deliberate lie.

Caught out again – this time by one of his own Ministers!

Charge: broken promise/deflection/half-truth/hypocrisy/outright lie/misinformation?

Verdict: Outright lie/misinformation




TV3: Key accused of spreading TPPA ‘mistruths’

Parliament:  Questions for Oral Answer — Questions to Ministers

NewstalkZB:  Key defends TPPA negotiations

Scoop media: One more time, PM: Parliament does not get to ratify TPPA

TVNZ: Government may not seek bipartisan support for a TPP – Groser

Previous related blogposts

The Mendacities of Mr Key #4: “Trolls & bottom-feeders”




TPPA thuggery

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes



= fs =


  1. Now I’m not a fan of the TPPA, and I wouldn’t trust Groser as far as I could throw him, but you’re totally misrepresenting him here, Frank.

    The question he was asked was essentially “what happens if you’re offered a deal that isn’t good enough for NZ”, and his response is that he wouldn’t put it before parliament. Fair enough, he doesn’t need to put a deal before parliament if he’s going to reject it anyway.

    • Hi Bennet, I’ve come to the same view as you. I’m not sure why you have the negative score.

      It is possible that Groser and the Nats do have a notion of National Interest that is different to the Yankee version of National interest. It is also possible that there might be a few agendas running in the Gnat camp, however that’s speculation.

      Also Groser is careful in his words, the deal only goes to Parliament for ratification of the enabling legislation, then the deal is ticked by Cabinet which retains the Crown power to Assent to International Treaties.

      The latest Parliamentary Convention which is in the Parliamentary Standing Orders requires that (with the exception of Urgency, whatever that might be) all enabling legislation is passed before the Cabinet Assent is affirmed.

      This means that the deal if agreed between the 12 nation’s negotiators will require Parliamentary scrutiny, however this is only for legislative changes to allow the TPP deal to be effected. The formality of final Assent being the Crown’s right through the Executive (Cabinet) of the New Zealand Corporation.

      Whether John Key told a porkie pie in all that is so much drivel in relation to all the meat in the sandwich.

      We need to get to grips with the guts of TPP!

      It’s a bear trap!


      • Thanks for that Greg.

        You’re right, taking the deal to parliament is really no more than a rubber-stamping exercise. Still, I don’t doubt that they will take it to parliament before signing, and Groser certainly hasn’t said otherwise in the interview above.

        There are plenty of clear examples of lying and corruption from this government – we really don’t need to resort to fabricating stuff like this. When we do, we make it easy for the right: they can tear it apart by just paying attention to what was actually said.

  2. It is clear that John Key’s view of a parlimentary mandate is that he was voted in and that gives him the mandate to sign anything he wants, and he can say the majority wanted it because they voted him in..

Comments are closed.