Taxpayers splurging $500k on TPP promotion

The Government will spend almost $500,000 selling the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership to the public.

With the TPP already signed and sealed, critics are questioning if the half a million dollar sales pitch is too late? Source: 1 NEWS

Figures released to ONE News by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade reveal officials have budgeted $495,000 for a series of 16 roadshows and hui across the country.

It works out at $23,750 per meeting and MFAT says that will cover venue hire, accommodation, transport and other costs.  The remaining cash will cover other communications about the TPP.

MFAT says it is preparing to accommodate several hundred guests in the Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington events.  It said registrations "are tracking well" but didn't respond to a request for exact numbers. 

A new ONE News/Colmar Bulton poll suggests the Government still has a lot of selling to do - 42 per cent of respondents were concerned that the TPP may impact on New Zealand's sovereignty. Of that catergory, 82 per cent were Maori.

Trade Minister Todd McClay admits that number for Maori is "quite high".

"There has been a lot of misinformation about the ability for the government to meet its obligations to Maori under TPP. We can absolutely meet our obligations," he said.  Mr McClay says the deal will be "good for Maori business".

National support is unchanged in the first ONE News Colmar Brunton Poll of 2016. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr McClay says the roadshows are good value for the taxpayer, and those with strong opinions should come along and "be constructive and to voice their concerns calmly." 

He said the public should also make submissions to select committee once legislation ratifying the deal comes before Parliament.

Greens co-leader James Shaw was shocked by the roadshow costs but says people should go along and "challenge the Government".

The poll reveals that of the 46 per cent who weren't concerned about the impact on New Zealand's sovereignty, 52 per cent were male and 61 per cent have an annual household income of $100,000 or more.