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Maori Authority welcomes EU Free Trade Agreement – calls it a massive opportunity for Maori and NZ

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

The Chair of the National Maori Authority, Matthew Tukaki, has welcomed both Aotearoa New Zealand and the European concluding their negotiations when it comes to a historical free trade agreement being negotiated. Tukaki has also thanked the EB Ambassador to New Zealand, Nina Obermeier and her team for the effort they took in working with Maori over the course of the last month. Tukaki has said the opportunity for Maori is immense and fulfils his and the National Maori Authorities aspiration of further developing Maori potential and a share of the expanding two way trade by New Zealand and the EU which currently sits at more than $17 billion per annum.

“Europe presents an incredible opportunity with more than 450 million consumers in a way that Maori business and enterprise could only dream of. But its not just about trade this agreement preserves and once again recognises the unique status of Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi. And I am absolutely pleased to see a Maori Trade and Economic Chapter included in the agreement – the win is significant and I can see this also allowing Maori to further develop first nations and indigenous trade right across the EU in what are pre-existing and long standing partnerships between Maori and peoples in places such as Norway” Tukaki said

“For our young people and researchers it opens a whole new set of doors when it comes to promoting and furthering our aspirations when it comes to Matauranga Maori – partnerships and co-operation on the research and science front. And the inclusion of the definition of “Manuka” as the Maori word recognises our hold on honey and oil – and even further the sustainable foods chapter recognises the opportunity for Maori to embark on a whole new export journey when it comes to our Indigenous knowledge and sustainable food. This has the potential to expand the Maori economy by billions and offers another diversification strategy away from reliance on China.” Tukaki has said

Matthew Tukaki with the Ambassador to New Zealand from the EU, Nina Obermeier after their discussions about Maori inclusion in the FTA in April 2022

What does it all mean?

The FTA includes a Māori Trade and Economic Cooperation chapter, providing an important new platform with the EU to enable Māori to benefit from the Agreement and cooperate to advance Māori economic aspirations and wellbeing. This is the first time the EU has included such a chapter in a FTA. It presents a unique opportunity for Māori to advance trade interests in the European Union.

The chapter acknowledges Te Tiriti/The Treaty as a foundational document of constitutional importance to Aotearoa New Zealand, and references Māori concepts including Te Ao Māori, Mātauranga Māori, Tikanga Māori, Kaupapa Māori, Tāonga and Wāhine Māori to achieve wellbeing.

It includes a definition for ‘Mānuka’ as the Māori word used exclusively for the Leptospermum scoparium tree grown in Aotearoa New Zealand, and derivative products such as honey and oil. ‘Mānuka’ is also described as culturally important to Māori as a tāonga and traditional medicine.

The cooperation areas in the chapter include collaborating to enhance the ability for Māori enterprises to benefit from the Agreement’s trade and investment opportunities, strengthen links between EU and Māori enterprises (with a particular emphasis on SMEs), supporting science, research and innovation links, and cooperating on geographical indications (GIs).

How will the NZ-EU FTA advance Māori interests?

The FTA includes outcomes in each of these areas:

Trade in goods – There are significant outcomes in this FTA for Māori exporters in a range of sectors including kiwifruit and other horticultural products, meat, dairy, fish and seafood, wine and honey. In particular, New Zealand exporters will benefit from NZ$100 million in tariff savings from day one that the FTA enters into force. Ninety-seven percent of New Zealand’s current goods trade will enter the EU tariff-free under the FTA, with ninety-one percent from day one (including kiwifruit, apples, wine, fish and seafood products, forestry products and Mānuka honey). New Zealand has increased beef, butter, cheese and milk powder quota access into the EU.

Digital, services and investment – The FTA includes new cross-cutting language that is aligned with the Te Tiriti o Waitangi exception, which makes it clear that New Zealand has reserved the right to adopt or maintain measures to protect Māori rights, interests and duties, and responsibilities.

Intellectual property – The FTA’s outcome on geographical indications provides an opportunity for Māori food and beverage producers to develop and leverage their own GIs for quality New Zealand products for export to the EU.

Sustainable food systems – The sustainable food systems chapter includes cooperation on “Indigenous knowledge, participation, and leadership in food systems”. This reflects the value that Aotearoa New Zealand places on traditional knowledge and approaches, and the vital role that Indigenous peoples can play in achieving sustainable food systems globally.

Trade and sustainable developmentthis chapter includes strong new commitments on climate action, including the Paris Agreement, and on labour rights and gender equality including making these commitments legally binding and enforceable in the FTA. The FTA has disciplines on fisheries subsidies and commitments to work together on fossil fuel subsidy reform, the most ambitious FTA outcome in these areas by the European Union. There’s strong commitments on trade and gender, including a specific cooperative focus on wahine Māori.


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