May 06, 2016
Door open for more TPPA claims
An expert witness in the claim against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement says there is a lot of unfinished business over Maori involvement in international trade pacts.
Jane Kelsey says the Waitangi Tribunal found in favour of the claims on most points, but then took a pragmatic view and held the crown to a low test on compliance.
It found the Treaty of Waitangi exemption clause in the TPPA provides reasonable protection for Maori treaty interests, even though it was troubled by some of the wording.
Professor Kelsey says because of the time pressure the crown put on the tribunal, it was only able to consider a narrow range of questions.
"So there are outstanding issues on WAI 262 and intellectual property, there's outstanding issues on the right to affordable medicines, there is an outstanding question on how the crown is going to reconcile what I think is irreconcilable which is Maori rights in relations to plant varieties and the adoption of an international agreement on that. So the tribunal has left open the door to come back on those matters," she says.
Professor Kelsey says the treaty exemption clause needs to be rewritten in consultation with Maori in advance of the other trade negotiations that are now going on with the European Union and with China, India, Japan and Asian states.
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