March 02, 2022
Detail undermines UK free trade Māori hype
A long time critic of trade negotiations says there is less for Māori in the free trade agreement with the United Kingdom than is being touted.
Ministers have talked up a chapter on Māori trade which they say will create a platform for cooperation, and they also point to a clause allowing exceptions if actions are shown to be in conflict with the Treaty of Waitangi.
But University of Auckland Emeritus Law Professor Jane Kelsey says that’s unenforceable.
“Secondly it only talks about three possible areas that the UK and New Zealand could cooperate on to promote Māori business activities and it doesn’t deal with any of the difficult problems, and then it has a little footnote saying ‘there is nothing in this chapter obliging the United Kingdom to do anything,'” she says.
Professor Kelsey says UK intellectual property laws still override Māori interests in genetic resources, digital data and traditional knowledge.