Minister says trade deal will benefit Maori

By Mikaela Collins

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Minister of Trade Todd McClay.
Minister of Trade Todd McClay.

The Minister of Trade says there is nothing in the Trans Pacific Partnership which will prevent the Crown from meeting its obligations to Maori, in response to comments the Crown may be blocked from Te Tii Marae if the signing goes ahead.

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be reportedly signed in New Zealand on February 4. Andres Rebolledo, director general of Chile's International Economic Relations Bureau, reportedly confirmed the date in a meeting with the country's National Human Rights Institute and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed an event will be held in Auckland in early February.

This week Kingi Taurua, Ngapuhi kaumatua, said, if the document was signed by the Government, he would consider blocking them from Te Tii Marae. He said the secrecy behind the TPP discussions left Maori in the dark, which was a breach of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

In response to Mr Taurua's comments the Minister of Trade, Todd McClay, told the Northern Advocate the trade-agreement included a specific provision "preserving the pre-eminence of the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand".

"Nothing in the TPP will prevent the Crown from meeting its obligations to Maori. New Zealand's interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi is not subject to the dispute settlement provisions of the TPP," he said.

Mr McClay said the TPP would benefit Maori.

"The TPP will add at least $2.7 billion a year to the New Zealand economy by 2030. This will directly benefit the Maori economy, which boasts significant assets in the primary and export sectors."

- Northern Advocate

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