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Ūropi Tauhokohoko Ka Taea: New Zealand-European Union Free Trade Agreement: An Independent Assessment of the Impacts for Mãori

This report, entitled Ūropi tauhokohoko ka taea, which means ‘the enabling of trade with Europe,’ represents an independent assessment of the New Zealand-European Union free trade agreement (NZ-EU FTA) commissioned by Manatū Aorere—Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) as part of a National Interest Analysis (NIA). An NIA is an important way in which parliament can be assured that international treaties, like FTAs, that Aotearoa New Zealand intends to enter into are done so with confidence about their contents and how New Zealanders are affected. As the government’s lead agency on trade policy, Manatū Aorere prepares NIAs, but the Trade for All Advisory Board suggested the need for more independent analysis. This report was prepared by an independent advisor who is familiar with the issues, having previously conducted similar work. Concluded in June 2022, the NZ-EU FTA is expected to come into force in 2024. When this happens, 91% of tariffs are immediately eliminated, with eventual tariff savings of $100m per annum adding to the $17.5 billion in two-way trade. The purpose of this report was to assess key outcomes of the NZ-EU FTA for Māori, with a focus on aspects of strong interest to Māori, including key sectors of the Māori economy, as well as particular interests in services and investment, geographical indications, digital trade, and the Māori trade chapter. In keeping with the independent nature of this assessment, a holistic kaupapa Māori framework was devised consisting of four dimensions—te ao Māori (Māori world view), te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi), te ōhanga (economy), and te taiao (environment)—on which to frame the assessment. The assessment involved a five-stage process of whanaungatanga (relationships), whai hua (document analysis), whai rawa (modelling), whai whakaaro (interviews), and whakamārama (discussion). The assessment relied on available documents, existing modelling, and official information. In terms of whai hua (documents), the assessment found that benefits for Māori include tariff elimination on Māori goods, the treaty exception, a Māori trade chapter, references to mātauranga Māori, treaty partner engagement, and representation on groups formed under the NZ-EU FTA. Reviewed documents indicate, however, that reservations remain about protection of Māori treaty rights, the softening of benefits to Māori because of pre-existing vulnerabilities, and the size of Māori economic gains. Under whai rawa (economy), while the NZ-EU FTA is forecast to add $1.4 billion to Aotearoa New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP) annually, the Māori economy’s share of this gain is unknown. By emulating existing modelling, the economic impact for Māori is estimated to range from NZ$80 million (low) to NZ$150 million (high) in real GDP accruing to the Māori economy as a result of the NZ-EU FTA, with $110 million per annum the most likely scenario. This assumes an 8% growth rate in the Māori economy. Distributional effects were not assessed. Under whai whakaaro (interviews with 26 individuals), the assessment found that three of the four treaty partners (Federation of Māori Authorities, Te Taumata, Iwi Chairs Forum) were buoyant about the prospects for Māori trade with the European Union (EU). Ngā Toki Whakarururanga in their assessment identified limitations in the level of protection of Māori treaty rights and the efficacy of the treaty exception. They also desire tiriti-based negotiation. Officials provided candid reflections on the NZ-EU FTA outcomes for Māori, which are included here. Implementation success will depend on continued treaty partner engagement, adequate resourcing of the same, Māoricentred trade facilitation, and advancing domestic policy work to protect Māori treaty rights in the NZ-EU FTA.
Type of thesis
Manatū Aorere / Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
© 2023 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.