FOMA supports TPP but wants assurances

5:30 pm on 1 February 2016

The Federation of Māori Authorities (FOMA) is supporting the signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership, but says its members still want assurance that national sovereignty and Treaty partnership will be maintained.

Traci Houpapa.

Traci Houpapa. Photo: Landcorp

FOMA said it was comfortable with the TPP, but thought there needed to be independent analysis of the agreement.

Established in 1987, FOMA is the largest national Maori economic network representing around 150 Maori authorities with a collective asset base of around $9 billion with interests largely in the primary industry.

Many of FOMAs members are established exporters to Asia, North America and Europe.

Chair Traci Houpapa said there were benefits and opportunities for Māori and all New Zealanders.

"We've analysed those documents ourselves and while we have a level of comfort we agree with the 12 month consultation process that the signing on the 4th of February triggers."

Ms Houpapa said the removal of some or most tariffs for exporters would have financial benefits for the federation's regional members.

"Māori have a predominate footprint in primary sector industries, we are land, water or sea based so our exporters have obvious benefits if the removal of tariffs are in place and TPP provides for that."

FOMA is happy with the provisions within the agreement that acknowledge the Treaty of Waitangi, which say it must be enshrined, but FOMA recognises further analysis of what that means is required.

According to the federation over the last 10 years around 110 treaties and agreements related to trade and export have been passed by the New Zealand government, all of which include provisions for protecting and upholding the Crown - Treaty partnership.

"New Zealand is unique. We are the only TPP partner amongst the 12 countries to have recognised its indigenous peoples by enshrining Te Tiriti O Waitangi and exempting the WAI262 claim," said Ms Houpapa.

"FOMA will work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry for Primary Industries and other officials in a comprehensive consultation strategy to ensure FOMA members had time to consider the document and make an informed decision on TPP."

"We recognise TPP is a complex trade arrangement which requires time to fully digest and understand. Our members support the trade benefits and want assurance that our national sovereignty and Treaty partnership are maintained. We welcome proper engagement with government and our members on this important matter," said Ms Houpapa.

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