TPPA: Sovereignty won't be traded away, says Key video

JASON DORDAY/Stuff.co.nz

PM John Key on the TPPA protestors

Prime Minister John Key has given reassurance that "sovereignty" won't be traded away with the TPPA, while iwi leaders urge communities to inform themselves.

There is a lot of "misinformation" about the trade deal undermining the Treaty of Waitangi, Key said on Tuesday.

"[The TPPA] doesn't have an impact there, it doesn't affect our sovereignty. Most of the provisions in there are not new. Other countries can't write our laws, they can make a submission.

Some Maori leaders are concerned their communities have not read enough about the TPPA.
JULIA WADE

Some Maori leaders are concerned their communities have not read enough about the TPPA.

"It doesn't increase our pharmaceutical costs. There's just a lot of misinformation."

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Maori leaders have urged their communities to inform themselves about the TPPA. 

Is this similar to the TPPA? The original Treaty of Waitangi document is on display at The National Archives.
FAIRFAX NZ

Is this similar to the TPPA? The original Treaty of Waitangi document is on display at The National Archives.

Northland iwi chair Te Waihoroi Shortland, of the Ngati Hine runanga, understood Maori were angry about not being consulted about the agreement.

However, he thought opinions were already "coloured" before knowing enough about it.

"There's not much to be gained out of being uninformed or just straight out shutting the door on these things," Shortland said.

Prime Minister, I am not 'misinformed'

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"At least this next part (the signing) is going to happen regardless of what we do...I'm more against the buried head in the sand stuff and hoping it's going to go away.

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Most iwi leaders will have "an interest in the economic outcomes that might accrue to Maoridom", he said.

"The text is out. But it's hardly the kind of text that Joe Bloggs could pick up off the street and come to grips with.

"It needs breaking down."

Key said the government had put out a lot of information, but it was "complicated". The TPP text is 6000 pages.

Nga Puhi kuia Nora Rameka believed it was up to the government to ensure Maori understood the ramifications of TPPA.

"For Maori we hear what's being said, we see and read what other people's thoughts are, but most of us - especially in the North here, are still really not sure what it is about.

"We're told it's bad for us, but we don't understand. We do need to be better informed."

She said the feedback she's heard from Maori in her area, they're "totally opposed" at this point.

However, the focus for a lot iwi are on "other priorities" that are more immediate for their communities: housing, schooling and health, for example.

"It takes away from putting our energy into the TPPA," she said.

Waikato-Tainui leader Tukoroirangi Morgan said he had not yet formed an opinion on the TPP as he had not read the text.

Ngati Whatua Orakei have been vocal about their disappointment with the new trade deal and their unwillingness to host foreign dignitaries at the signing.

Their trust chair Phillip Te Waka Davis said their main gripe was that iwi had been left out of the loop. 

"Obviously it's been negotiated without our voice in there, and without iwi Maori and our rights under the Treaty of Waitangi. 

"That's not a good sign for us."

Davis said they had concerns about safeguards for New Zealand's environment.

WAITANGI, THE ORIGINAL TPPA?

The Treaty of Waitangi has been called the "original TPPA" by Northland iwi chair Te Waihoroi Shortland, who believes the promises made to Maori back then are similar to the rhetoric of late.

"Our ancestors signed the first TPPA agreement in 1840. It was a much simpler document, but against all odds it's continued to hold water.

It's a "simple agreement" the crown has found "great difficulty in honouring", he said.

Shortland said Maori had similar interests today as they did 176 years ago, which is how to economically advance themselves. He was prepared to learn what the TPPA could offer for Maori.

"Do we have faith in them? In pieces of paper? I don't know, but I still would like the conversation." 

Ngati Whatua Orakei trust chair Phillip Davis had similar doubts, but said with some humour that the Treaty of Waitangi was more of a "free trade agreement". 

 - Stuff

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