Te Taumata has released a comprehensive report that deep dives into what Māori could stand to gain from Aotearoa New Zealand’s new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union.
The report is the result of two years of research, during which Te Taumata has travelled the motu, speaking and listening to whānau, Māori business, iwi and community leaders, Māori academics and government officials about the benefits Māori specifically can gain from international trade.
Te Taumata is currently the only organisation with this level of influence that is solely focused on Māori interests and benefits in trade.
Through regional hui, Te Taumata has heard from our people that trade is important, creating more employment and wealth for whānau. This is particularly seen with new trade agreements where the interests of Māori are expressly represented.
That is why Te Taumata has played a significant role in advocating for Māori trade interests in both the NZ/EU FTA, and the NZ/UK FTA, which comes into force at the end of this month.
The purpose of the report is to assess whether the NZ/EU FTA provides a reasonable balance and assurance that the benefits and protections contemplated in the agreement are tika, pono and can support us to be Tūpuna Pono.
Some of the questions considered in the report include:
- Are we being Tūpuna Pono, good ancestors now, by agreeing to this FTA?
- Are our actions supporting both tino rangatiratanga and the long-term?
- Can we explain the FTA’s benefits through the intergenerational wellbeing outcomes for our people?
- Is this a mana enhancing kaupapa for Māori and our European partners?
Our overall assessment is that the NZ/EU FTA doesn’t contain all that Māori hoped for, with some rōpū Māori potentially wanting more, and as a result, they have reservations around endorsement when compared to others.
However, Te Taumata believes this FTA does provide a reasonable balance and assurance that the benefits and protections contemplated in this agreement are tika, pono and can support us to be Tūpuna Pono.
For us, the NZ/EU FTA is a seed, and this one is full of potential.
Aotearoa and the EU have brought negotiations on all outstanding issues in the NZ/EU FTA to a close. The deal was concluded last year, and the official signing is expected later this year.
Once signed, both sides will begin their legal processes to bring the FTA into force. This could occur in 2024, subject to domestic processes on both sides.
View the full report here.