The Māori Party will oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Amendment Bill that will be introduced in Parliament today.
Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says a recent report from the Waitangi Tribunal confirms concerns that the TPP could have a “chilling effect” on the Crown’s ability to meet its Treaty obligations.
“While the Treaty exception clause generally permits the Government to take measures that favour Māori, there is some uncertainty as to how the Treaty exception will actually be interpreted,” he says.
“We agree with the Tribunal’s findings that we simply don’t know whether the exception will ultimately prove to be the effective protection of Māori interests the Crown says it is,” Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox says.
“Uncertainty also remains that the ratification of the TPP could mean a less active protection of Māori interests in the future,” she says.
“It is for Māori to define their interests and tell the Crown how they might best be protected. Māori are not just another interest group; and as the Crown’s Treaty partner their interests are always entitled to active protection,” she says.
Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says: “We are not anti-trade and we understand the benefits that flow to the economy – the problem we have is with to whom those benefits flow and how far.”
“Clearly the free trade agreements New Zealand has previously signed do not benefit all of society, otherwise we wouldn’t have rising levels of poverty and homelessness,” Mrs Fox says.
“With the growing gap between rich and poor we’ve learnt that the ‘trickle down’ theory doesn’t work, so we’re not going to fooled by it this time. Free trade needs to also be fair trade.”