TPPA Facts

The Treaty of Waitangi

Māori interests span the environment, knowledge and culture, foreign investment, genetic resources, sustainable use of natural resources, indigenous rights, health, jobs, education – all issues that arise under the TPPA.  In this factsheet we look at the impacts the TPPA will have on Māori rights and  te tiriti o Waitangi.

WHAT GOVERNMENT SAYS MĀORI GET:                        

➜ The TPPA, like every free trade agreement New Zealand has signed up to since the Singapore FTA in 2000, features a Treaty of Waitangi exception the government says gives total protection.

➜ The government claims Māori stand to benefit from the 'tariff savings’ of $259 million by 2030 because of their significant presence in natural resource sectors.


➜ The Treaty exception is limited in scope and  relies on the good will of the government to protect Māori rights, which repeated Waitangi Tribunal reports show it has failed  to do.

➜ The TPPA’s economic development model is not a Māori model and doesn’t address the economic realities of Maori workers, whanau, businesses, regions and iwi.

➜ The TPPA locks Aotearoa into values that are not Maori values.


(Can the two even go together?)

"With each instrument that it signs up to, the Crown has less freedom in how it can provide for and protect Māori, their tino rangatiratanga, and their interests in such diverse areas as culture, economic development and the environment."
- Waitangi Tribunal, WAI-262, 2012

There has been no credible attempt to engage with Māori as the Crown’s Treaty Partner before or during the TPPA negotiations. The only Māori that were consulted with in any official capacity were the Federation of Māori Authorities (FOMA). The government 'National Interest Analysis' that looked at the pros and cons of the TPPA for New Zealand failed to even assess the impact on the Treaty of Waitangi!

➜ Rights of Māori relating to Intellectual Property (IP), biodiversity, and environmental law and policy, guaranteed through te Tiriti o Waitangi and the UNDRIP, could be significantly affected by the TPPA. The IP chapter strengthens the rights of holders of state-recognized intellectual property rights, a form of intellectual property that has generally not protected Māori rights and has, in many cases, undermined those rights.

➜ The TPPA leaves the rights and interests of Māori vulnerable to foreign states and corporations who have no obligations under te Tiriti or the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and who will have a legal right to pursue their interests through private international mechanisms. This may further undermine the willingness of governments to implement Waitangi Tribunal recommendations for fear of legal action from overseas investors.

➜ The Treaty exception is limited in scope and relies on the goodwill of the government to protect Māori rights, which repeated Waitangi Tribunal reports show it has failed to do.

➜ The economic gains for Māori are based on MFAT projections that real GDP will increase by 0.9% by 2030 under TPPA. But real GDP is projected to increase by 47% by 2030 on it's own anyway. The trade-offs in TPPA render this small gain useless. Alternative modelling actually show a loss in 5,000 NZ-based jobs and an increase in income inequality which will impact Māori heavily.

Source: 'Māori Rights, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement' expert analysis by Dr. Carwyn Jones, Associate Professor Claire Charters, Andrew Erueti, Professor Jane Kelsey

tino rangatratanga

The UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples singled out investment chapters of agreements like the TPPA and investor-state dispute settlement as "a risk to indigenous rights and a constraint on their ability to gain remedies".