TPPA repeats Treaty of Waitangi injustices

New expert analysis of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) shows that it will take power away from Māori, the Green Party said today.

The analysis criticises a lack of consultation with Māori and shows how the TPPA limits the ability of tangata whenua to exercise control over their own affairs because it transfers power from the government, which has obligations to Māori, to multinational corporations, which don’t. It finds that the TPPA’s intellectual property chapter will ‘make it more difficult for Māori to achieve changes to New Zealand IP law that are necessary to protect rights and obligations of kaitiaki in relation to mātauranga Māori.’

“The Green Party supports international trade, but trade agreements need to preserve the right of tangata whenua to shield themselves and their taonga from exploitation by multinational corporations,” Green Party Māori Development spokesperson Marama Davidson said.

“It looks like the TPPA repeats some of the same mistakes made with interpretations of the Treaty of Waitangi, because the TPPA only accepts the Crown’s version of what’s important and side-lines Māori views.

“The TPPA locks in new rights for multinational corporations to challenge New Zealand laws, which goes against the rights Māori have under the Treaty of Waitangi and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“The expert analysis is very clear that the TPPA’s Treaty of Waitangi exceptions aren’t strong enough and rely too much on the Government’s interpretation of its Treaty of Waitangi commitments. This isn’t good enough because often iwi Māori disagree with the Government about how the Treaty applies.

“The analysis also shows there’s no evidence that economic gains for Māori from trade under the TPPA will outweigh the costs.

“To add insult to injury, New Zealand will be hosting the TPPA signing just days before Waitangi Day.

“The damage the TPPA could do to Māori rights and the Māori economy are two more reasons to add to the long list of reasons why New Zealand shouldn’t sign the TPPA,” Ms Davidson said.

The expert analysis is available online and was prepared by Dr Carwyn Jones at Victoria University of Wellington and Auckland University’s Associate Professor Claire Charters, Andrew Erueti, and Professor Jane Kelsey. It was peer reviewed by Moana Jackson.

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