Maori big winners from TPPA - Key

  • 25/01/2016
Prime Minister John Key (File)
Prime Minister John Key (File)

Prime Minister John Key says Maori will be big winners from the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, despite calls for a slow-down on signing the deal.

At Ratana at the weekend a spokesman for King Tuheitia said next month's TPP signing should be put on hold until it had been talked through with Maori.

"Closed-door negotiations don't work for Maori," he said.

But Mr Key said that wasn't going to happen some people had been misled to believe their rights had been impinged.

"There's nothing new about free-trade agreements being negotiated behind closed doors," he told TVNZ's Breakfast programme this morning.

He said Treaty of Waitangi settlement negotiations were carried on a confidential basis before the text was released and the same thing had happened with the TPP.

"What the text clearly shows is that we honoured our commitment, which is to say the treaty takes pre-eminence, it's carved out as part of the TPP. Maori have got absolutely nothing to worry about."

Maori were big benefactors, he said.

Last week the Government released a report which said Maori owned economic assets worth $40 billion. Mr Key said it was largely primary-based.

The TPP would remove tariffs for 93 percent of goods exported to the TPP markets.

The TPP, which will be signed in Auckland on February 4, was finalised in October after five years of negotiations with Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam all parties to the agreement.

After it is signed the deal needs to be ratified by each country and the New Zealand government will submit the final text of the TPP and the National Interest Analysis to parliament as part of that process.

The Government says the TPP will bring $2.7 billion in annual trade benefits to New Zealand but opponents say the negatives of the deal make it unpalatable.