Two days before the country celebrates Waitangi Day, ministers from the twelve countries making up the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) are expected to sign it off.
Auckland University Professor Jane Kelsey says a Chilean government official confirmed the signing, despite no official announcements from the New Zealand government.
Kelsey is among a number of people and organisations who have taken legal action against the government for its refusal to release detailed information on the TPPA.
She says this is “Consistent with the government’s obsessive secrecy throughout the TPPA process, we have to get confirmation of what is happening in our own country from offshore.”
She says offshore sources told her the meeting will be in Auckland. However, she expects the government will try to keep the actual venue secret until much closer to the day.
The government released the full text of the TPPA in November last year which amounted to over 6000 pages.
Critics argued the Crown had not fully addressed issues with Māori in terms of partnership and engagement. Urgent claims regarding these concerns were argued before the Waitangi Tribunal.
Some organisations saw a positive outcome for Māori under the TPPA.
Traci Houpapa of Federation of Māori Authorities (FOMA) has told Te Kāea that it provides Māori with a platform that could help engage further opportunities.
Houpapa said, "New Zealand is the only participant in the TPPA, whose treaty partnership and relationship with its indigenous people, are recognised in the TPPA."
Trade Minister Tim Groser says the overall estimated benefit to NZ would be $2.7b a year by 2030.
According to Kelsey a number of public meetings to discuss the TPPA will take place in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin at the end of January.