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TPP: Protect our Rights, Protect our Taonga, Health & Future

Media Release – 5 August 2015

Protect our Rights, Protect our Taonga, Protect our Health, Protect our Future

The Government is selling our birth right to big businesses without regard for our people or our taonga.

The ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement’ (TPPA) is a proposed regional free trade deal between 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region: New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, United States, Vietnam, Mexico and Canada.

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated does not agree with the secrecy surrounding the

‘Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement’ process.

Negotiations have been underway since 2005 but until very recently there has been considerable uncertainty about whether the deal would be concluded and, if so, when this would occur. With an agreement imminent the iwi wanted to ensure that our members and community were aware of the views of the iwi.

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated has consistently argued that the Crown must not assume international obligations that may adversely affect our ability to protect our language, our traditional knowledge and our taonga. In 2008 Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated made a submission raising our concerns about the about the issues under discussion in the negotiations. We also made it clear that Ngāti Kahungunu wanted to have the opportunity to review any proposals and to amend the agreement while in the development stage to ensure that the agreement did not contravene Te Tiriti. This did not occur.

With all of our historical claims about to be settled in Ngāti Kahungunu, the iwi is keen to ensure that no new breaches occur to affect these settlements or the rights of the iwi going forward. Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated support, as an interested party, the applications for Māori claims about the TPPA to be heard urgently by the Waitangi Tribunal. The Waitangi Tribunal has now issued a decision confirming that it will hold an urgent hearing on the claims and has acknowledged the importance that these issues have to Maori, and to all New Zealanders.

In addition, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated will also be a party to the legal challenge to the decision to withhold TPPA documents under the Official Information Act lead by Professor Jane Kelsey. Other litigants include Consumer NZ, Internet NZ, Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, NZ Nurses Organisation, Oxfam and Greenpeace. Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated’sinterest in these proceedings is a continuation of the work completed in the Waitangi Tribunal Report into the - WAI262 claim (Flora, Fauna and Intellectual Property) and our continuing advocacy for substantive engagement with Māori in relation to matters that directly affect our rights and interests.

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated is also concerned that there has still been no action by the government over the Waitangi Tribunal’s Wai 262 report which dealt with the Crown's obligations when entering international agreements despite the fact that four years have now passed since the report’s release in 2011.

We will continue to advocate for the protection of our taonga, our rights, our health, and our future under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We see this action as our “koha” to the rest of our community who also share similar concerns regarding the potential implications of this Agreement on the sovereignty of our country and the possible impacts on ordinary New Zealanders.

© Scoop Media

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