The government’s insistence on ramming through the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is adversely affecting its relationship with Maori. From Te Karere:
Ngāpuhi kaumātua and spokesperson for Te Tii Marae [Kingi Tairua] says the Government will not be welcome at Waitangi if a proposal to sign the TPPA goes ahead on the week of the nation’s celebrations next month. He says the lack of proper consultation with Māori means they have been left in the dark.
The Maori Party has already delivered a strong message of opposition to the TPPA. And the Green Party’s Marama Davidson’s comments about the recent announcement of the venue for the signing coming from overseas sums things up well:
“I’m not at all surprised, that we have to get updates from Chile.”
The Green Party is furious for what they describe as secretive behaviour when it comes to the TPPA.
The reason they are so up in arms comes from confirmation that the TPPA agreement would be signed on Feb 4 in New Zealand. But New Zealanders know this news came through from Chile.
“This is consistent with the secrecy surrounding the whole thing really,” says Davidson.
That secrecy has happened both inside the house and on the streets for anti-TPPA sentiment. But even so, this shows that the deal is on the verge of being completed.
Yet Davidson is adamant that we shouldn’t give up. “Keep fighting! Keep fighting! We need to keep fighting forever!” she says. That cry extends out to Māori.
Davidson believes, “Our communities, our whānau, hapū, have the mana for the land. Let us not give that right to big businesses.”
And there is the unresolved Waitangi Tribunal proceeding. If the TPPA is not concluded and is delayed until after the 2016 United States presidential elections then the Tribunal has indicated it will again look at the issue.
The handling of the announcement has been very messy. First of all the Government denied the signing was even going to happen and then days later it confirmed the report that the TPPA was going to be signed in New Zealand.
Govt denies Chilean claim about TPPA signing https://t.co/sTRe7AMXsH
— Brent Edwards (@journobedwards) January 7, 2016
Govt confirms plans to sign TPP in Auckland https://t.co/FTIx3Kvzab
— Brent Edwards (@journobedwards) January 13, 2016
The statements are clearly inconsistent. In other words the Government was telling fibs when it initially denied the signing was going to occur in New Zealand on February 4.
I am struggling to understand why the treaty is being signed here. The TPPA is very contentious in many nations, so if I was to choose a country in which to sign it I would prefer Vietnam or Malaysia which do well out of the treaty and have lesser concerns about domestic upheaval.
If somehow it had to be signed in New Zealand I would choose Wellington or a smaller centre. Perhaps Queenstown where protest activity tends to be low.
I would steer clear of Auckland. There are too many lefties there and Auckland’s protests do tend to be bigger and noisier than anywhere else.
And there is no way that I would sign the treaty at Sky City. That place has too many negative connotations. And the optics would be appalling.
Maybe the signing will not happen at Auckland at that venue. But the timing is bizarre.
Signing the treaty before Parliament even sits is bad enough especially given John Key’s assurances that the treaty would be given full Parliamentary scrutiny. Signing it two days before Waitangi Day is asking for trouble.