Mixed views as full text of TPPA agreement is released

By Heta Gardiner

The full text of the TPPA agreement, amounting to more than 6000 pages, has finally been published.  Despite the concerns of critics who say more background information is needed to make sense of the text, there are benefits for Māori.

Jane Kelsey believes, "The Crown has simply not addressed the issues with Māori in terms of partnership, and engagement."

Kelsey has studied the text carefully.  Her conclusion?  The whole truth is yet to be revealed.

Some of Kelsey's concerns include cross-border financial transactions and foreign investors, notably from America and Japan, who, she says, have special rights not available to New Zealand investors. 

"There are other important issues, about, regulation of foreign investments, especially in areas like mining, and the pressure on those investors, especially if there are tighter regulations, such as those like Te Whānau-a-Apanui, and Ngāpuhi are seeking," Kelsey says.

While the deal reached on dairy fell short on what New Zealand had hoped for, agriculture is still seen as a big winner in the TPPA where Māori are expected to benefit.

Traci Houpapa from FOMA says,"We also think that provides us with a platform, which helps by which we might engage in further opportunities."

There are 12 countries involved in the world's largest regional trade agreement.  Trade Minister Tim Groser says the overall estimated benefit to NZ would be $2.7bil a year by 2030.

Houpapa says, "New Zealand is the only participant in the TPPA, whose treaty partnership and relationship, of its indigenous people, are recognised in the TPPA."

There is a 90-day stand down period, which America will take, after which they will sign the agreement.  It is expected that all other countries will then follow suit.