Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi
Māori have a unique status in Aotearoa New Zealand as the government’s treaty partner. PACER Plus contains a specific provision that explicitly allows the government to adopt any policy it considers necessary to fulfil its obligations to Māori including under the Treaty of Waitangi.
The Treaty of Waitangi exception has been included in all of New Zealand’s free trade agreements since 2001, and reflects the constitutional significance of the Treaty of Waitangi to New Zealand.
Strengthening Māori – Pasifika connections
Māori have strong connections with the Pacific region, including history, culture, language and people-to-people links. Our Māori and Pacific communities in Aotearoa are intricately connected, and a growing population of New Zealanders identify as both Māori and Pasifika – 34,269 people in 2018.
PACER Plus establishes a common set of trading rules for the Pacific region, which makes it easier for Māori businesses to trade with Pacific partners. New Zealand’s main exports to Pacific countries include dairy, meat, machinery and iron. Key imports into New Zealand from the Pacific include machinery, live animals, meat, vegetables and textiles.
Māori economic interests include forestry (Māori businesses account for 40% of New Zealand's forestry production), agriculture (contributing 30% of New Zealand’s lamb production, 10% of dairy production and 30% of sheep and beef production), fisheries (with 50% of fishing quota), and horticulture (10% of kiwifruit production). There is also increasing diversification into other areas such as geothermal, digital services, education, tourism and more recently, housing. Overall, the Māori economy has an asset base estimated to be worth around $50 billion.
PACER Plus presents opportunities to deepen economic relationships between Māori and Pacific partners. Engagements could include business to business activities and mentoring, providing pathways for goods and services exports, or cultivating joint ventures or partnerships.
Collaboration may be explored in areas such as digitalising indigenous language and culture and renewable energy models. Labour mobility initiatives are already underway at regional level, involving iwi, employers and potential employees. For example, successful partnerships with iwi have led to labour mobility opportunities in the fisheries sector.
PACER Plus countries have expressed a strong interest in learning from the Māori economy and Māori engagement in the global trading system. In addition to providing high-quality goods and services, Māori strengths of relationship building, and cultural identity are highly valued in the expanding Asia-Pacific market.
The agreement does not have a chapter on intellectual property, as ownership and access to intangible cultural heritage are subject to ongoing consideration throughout the Pacific region. PACER Plus will not limit New Zealand making any future domestic changes in relation to the protection of indigenous flora or fauna, or treaty settlements.
Read more on Māori interests in PACER Plus [PDF, 347 KB].
Support for Māori business
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