Government assures FOMA members will benefit from new CPTPP deal

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker has assured Māori organisations and businesses that they will benefit from the new Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The Minister's comments were made at the 30th annual FOMA conference in Rotorua.

In Minister Parker’s keynote speech he said Māori are facing an unprecedented opportunity for economic growth under the settings that I'm talking about. 

FOMA Chair, Traci Haupapa says his address was like music to the ears of those gathered.

“We recognise that it gives us access to an entirely new market and a larger consumer base,” said Haupapa.

“It removes tariffs and barriers which will mean that our trade and export members will have better gains and better returns for their businesses.”

Māori currently contributes around $50 billion to the New Zealand economy. Parker says changes made at CPTPP talks in Vietnam recently will boost Māori gains.

“There is a clear provision that protects the government's ability to do anything that it needs to do in the name of the Treaty of Waitangi,” said Parker.

“All of the landowning groups throughout New Zealand who produce so much produce from the land, they face lower tariffs in some of the valuable overseas markets that we sell into.”

“We're comfortable that the negotiations and the work on the new revised CPTPP has addressed a lot of the issues that the general public were concerned on,” said Houpapa.

In 1985 the first Maori Authorities Conference was held in Rotorua and attended by 136 Maori Authorities. FOMA was established two years later and now has 150 members.

“Firstly we were set up for all Māori forestry organisations,” said FOMA's first co-chair, Sir Tipene O’Regan. “Second for small Māori business and small Māori Trusts. To bring everyone together to be supported and helped.”

FOMA says the government's $1 billion regional economic development plan aligns with its goals.

“FOMA has always pushed a regional economic development strategy for the betterment of the New Zealand economy,” said Houpapa. “We look forward to working with Minister Jones and his team as well the Prime Minister and government.”

Around 300 delegates representing Māori interests from around the country reflected on 30 years of FOMA today. But tomorrow thoughts will be future focussed with PM Jacinda Arden as the keynote speaker.