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Therapeutic Products Bill Is A Treaty Breach

Te Pāti Māori Co-leader and health spokesperson Debbie Ngarewa-Packer is calling on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Labour Party to withdraw the Therapeutic Products Bill, which brings rongoā Māori into Pākehā law without the active consent of Māori, a breach of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“This is a dangerous Bill. The regulation of rongoā poses huge risks to the protection and restoration of mātauranga Māori and would remove the power for decisions relating to rongoā from whānau, hapū and iwi to the state”, said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

“We have been contacted by many of our people over recent months who are deeply concerned with these reforms and have communicated that to government, yet they have failed to listen. We are now calling on them to immediately withdraw this Bill.

“Rongoā Māori is a Tiriti-protected taonga. If Māori rights under Te Tiriti were being acknowledged and reflected in this process, then engagement with tangata whenua would have occurred before the bill was introduced to parliament.

“Minister Little’s press release suggests this bill is the result of a ten-year work programme in government, and yet they failed to work with tangata whenua on rongoā regulations. That’s totally incompetent.

“This was followed up with another press release from Minister Henare announcing a process to consult with Māori during the summer and told people to submit at select committee. This only shows that the government failed to do anything about rongoā until the right before bill was introduced.

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“While we are open to a discussion about protecting rongoā through regulation, this needs to be driven by tangata whenua or at the very least have the active consent of our people. This bill doesn’t protect rongoā at all but brings it into Pākehā law, which puts rongoā practitioners at risk of civil and criminal penalties.

“Aside from requiring the regulatory body to have the ‘capacity and capability to give effect to the principles’ of the Treaty, there are no other Tiriti guaranteed protections.

“The Crown continuing to ignore its Tiriti-partner in this way rightfully creates mistrust and anger among our people. It’s not good enough” said Ngarewa-Packer.


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