Government cuts TPP assessment from four weeks to five days

By Heta Gardiner

Opposition MPs are furious that the TPP process is being fast-tracked. That's because the government has cut back the national interest's assessment process to five days. That was after initially getting almost four weeks. With such a drastic drop, some are accusing the government of hastening the process so they can wrap things up before election year.

Another month, another complaint about the consultation process for the TPP.

Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta says, “They continue to do things in secret for the TPP.”

This comes after it was revealed that politicians be given only five days to question officials.

Green MP Marama Davidson says, “We need to carry on and encourage our Māori people to stand up and fight against the TPP.”

The consultation process has long been an issue for Māori. Recently Te Kāea exposed emails from Te Puni Kōkiri, disagreeing with the assertion that they were consulted on, in some areas of the TPP.

“The part about the treaty was kept a secret, the part about the education was kept secret, and the part about the environment was kept secret. They were able to take their claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, and still they were just ignored by the government,” says Mahuta.

And there's accusations it’s being rushed along to have it out of the way before election year.

“Nationals strategy is to get this done, to wipe it from the minds of Māori voters,” says Davidson.

Trade minister Todd McClay wasn't free to speak to Te Kāea, but his office sent back a statement saying that "TPP has been before this committee for significantly longer than any other treaty examination, and every submitter who has asked to be heard, will be heard."

The TPP is expected to be further ratified when this process is complete.