Saturday, February 25, 2023

Point of Order: We might think we are all equal in Govt’s Trade for All Agenda....

....but Tirikatane reminds us what the Treaty is doing to this notion

BusinessNZ has welcomed the latest of a string of disaster-related initiatives from the Government, this one related to work visas to bring in workers to help with the recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle.

The new Recovery Visa is intended to cover the mix of workers needed for clean-up and recovery, including construction workers.

The key features are –

  • It will provide additional specialist workers to support cyclone and flooding recovery;
  • Recovery Visa applications will be fast tracked, aim to be processed within seven days;
  • Application fees will be wiped for successful applicants, making it free for those who come here.
Immigration Minister Michael Wood said this recognises the need for experts such as insurance assessors, infrastructure and utilities engineers and technicians, heavy machinery operators and debris removal workers to support the experts we’ve already got in country, .

Applications will be open today and the visa will last for up to six months.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope says this is a positive first step, but further work on immigration policies is needed to ensure international skills are able to support recovery efforts. The move is welcome, but the criteria need to be broad to support all aspects of the recovery.

Wood’s statement is headed

The Government’s new Recovery Visa announced today will help bring in the additional specialist workers needed to support rebuild efforts in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle and Auckland flooding says Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

It has been posted on the Beehive website along with news from Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta –

One year since Russia launched its illegal war against Ukraine, Aotearoa New Zealand’s resolve to stand against Putin’s war is undiminished says Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

The influence of Mahuta is evident in another post on the Beehive website today, a speech headed –

Thank you for the opportunity to speak at today’s hui.

The speech was delivered by Rino Tirikatane, Associate Minister of Trade and Export Growth, who featured on this blog when he was zealously promoting the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill

This was the legislation that guarantees Ngāi Tahu two seats on the Canterbury Regional Council, undermining principles important to our democracy such as.
  • Equal suffrage, which is enshrined in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, to assure all New Zealanders of equal voting rights.
  • Electoral accountability, which means all elected politicians can be thrown out of office at the next election. Appointed politicians avoid this indignity.
But Tirikatane said Ngāi Tahu are entitled to special representation.

“They’re entitled to this representation because that is the promise of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and this is a modern-day expression of that promise”.

The speech posted on the Beehive website yesterday was delivered to the annual Auckland Trade and Economic Policy School, an occasion launched in 2019 with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (suggesting public funding is involved).

Tirikatane said in his introductory remarks he wanted to talk about the Government’s Trade for All Agenda, our regional free trade agreements, and what is being done to support Indigenous trade.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website says:

Trade for All is a chance to take a fresh look at New Zealand’s trade policy. It’s the opportunity to consider trade policy in general, what we are currently doing, and making sure that it delivers for all New Zealanders.

Tirikatane reiterated this:

As Minister O’Connor has mentioned, the Government’s Trade for All Agenda, set up in 2018, is our guiding approach to deliver trade benefits to all New Zealanders.

Trade is a critical part of Aotearoa’s economy. We know trade improves our prosperity and we want to ensure our trade agreements help all New Zealanders benefit from this.

So far, so good.

Then the Treaty came into play – and “the Treaty partnership” – and the focus was placed on some New Zealanders rather than all:

The Crown’s Trade for All approach and partnership with Māori, recognises that Māori offer unique knowledge and principles that helps differentiate Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Māori economy plays a critical role in and for Aotearoa New Zealand with a value of approximately $70 billion. This is a growth of around 65% from five years ago.

Māori own a significant proportion of assets in the primary sectors: 50% of the fishing quota, 40% of forestry, 30% in lamb production, 30% in sheep and beef production.

Around one in three Māori workers derive their livelihoods from producing goods and services for export and these workers earn more on average than Māori employed in non-exporting firms.

As a government we are optimising international trade opportunities for Māori exporters and playing a leadership role in expanding Indigenous participation through collaboration agreements in global trade.

At this point in the speech, the influence of Nanaia Mahuta on this policy became apparent:

In 2020, then Associate Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Minister Mahuta, established a work programme to support Māori Trade opportunities: Aotearoa ki te Ao.

The strategy was put in place to support Māori economic growth through trade, and to position Māori to lead international efforts to expand Indigenous participation in global trade.

Aotearoa ki to Ao is based around four strategic Pou:

  • Growing Māori Exporter Opportunity and Success;
  • Protecting and supporting Mātauranga Māori/Traditional Knowledge Values;
  • Strengthening International Indigenous Connections;
  • Promoting Indigenous Trade Missions and Exchange Opportunities.
Tirikatane acknowledged there had been “significant developments” since Aotearoa ki te Ao was launched, including several new and updated trade agreements, as well as major external shocks such as Covid-19.

To take this into account, the strategy was refreshed in 2022 to reflect these new realities.

While the strategic “pou” remain the same, our operating context hasn’t.

Tirikatane treated his audience at the Auckland Trade and Economic Policy School to some examples of the impact Trade for All has had.

It was an instructive lesson:

The UK Free Trade Agreement marks the first FTA begun and concluded under our Trade for All policy.

Responding to Trade for All objectives, and in particular Māori interests, was one of the overarching principles throughout the negotiations.

The Agreement includes the most advanced set of provisions to recognise and benefit Māori trade interests, including a Māori Trade and Economic Cooperation Chapter, the inclusion of Māori concepts in the FTA’s Environment Chapter, and provisions for Māori SMEs and wahine Māori.

Additionally, our recently completed EU FTA also includes a Māori Trade and Economic Cooperation chapter, providing an important new platform with the EU to strengthen cooperation in areas of interest to Māori, and to enable Māori to benefit from the Agreement.

Tirikatane drew the school’s attention to some other important agreements and negotiations that are tangible manifestations of Trade for All principles:
  • The Inclusive Trade Action Group (ITAG), and the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement (GTAGA) – two international arrangements where members work together to help make trade policies more inclusive.
  • The Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement (IPETCA), (which he talked about later).
  • And the Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand Indigenous Collaboration Arrangement.
The minister noted that as part of the Closer Economic Relations 40th celebrations this year, the Government has an opportunity to promote and foster Indigenous business and cultural cooperation with Australia.

Māori business leaders will be able to share their experiences of our strong and prosperous Māori economy with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples.

I had the privilege in representing Aotearoa New Zealand in my capacity as the Under Secretary for Māori Trade and Export Growth at the Aboriginal and First Nations Business Forum in Melbourne last August.

I was really impressed with the various programmes supporting Aboriginal and First Nations entrepreneurs, as well as the discussions around constitutional reform.

Acknowledging that Australia has a big year ahead with The Voice referendum, we will continue to cooperate with Australia on their Indigenous cooperation/reconciliation journey with processes that are beneficial for all.

Tirikatane then harked back to APEC 2021, hosted by New Zealand, and disclosed how the Government is spreading the Treaty partnership concept to other countries:

We were able to use our year in the chair to make a unique contribution to APEC’s forward work programme, particularly for Māori and Indigenous people in the wider Asia-Pacific region.

A lasting outcome of APEC 21 was the Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement (IPETCA) that came into effect last year.

IPETCA is a new first of its kind plurilateral arrangement that captures and represents the Indigenous voice, values, and aspirations. Including those of our Australian neighbours, as well as Canadian and Chinese Taipei Indigenous groups.

This instrument is unique because, alongside government officials, the text and negotiations were developed in partnership with Indigenous peoples – encapsulating the phrase ‘by Indigenous, with Indigenous, for Indigenous’.

As Chair, we are leading the work to establish the Partnership Council, the key feature of which is equal partnership between government and Indigenous representatives.

Importantly, it will put in place a joint decision-making mechanism that ensures that Indigenous Peoples, including Māori, are front and centre in overseeing its implementation.

Before he wrapped up, Tirikatane gave a quick rundown on the conclusion of negotiations to upgrade to our FTA with the Association of South East Asian Nations and Australia – AANZFTA.

And he mentioned the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which came into force last year bringing together 15 economies that combined equate to almost a third of the world’s population and take over half of our exports.

Oh – and:

We are also very conscious of our Pacific neighbours and the PACER Plus arrangement is our first fully reciprocal trade deal with our Pacific whanau.

Entering into force in December 2020, it now also incorporates an arrangement on Labour Mobility, and important source of income to the Pacific.

Then it was time for some concluding remarks:

In conclusion, as a Government we are doing more to make sure our trade agreements open up market opportunities, streamline processes and reduce costs, while ensuring that Indigenous Peoples can participate effectively in key trade policy discussions and negotiations, more than ever before.

This includes giving effect to our commitments under Te Tiriti, and through the Government’s Trade for All Agenda, to ensure that Māori actively participate in issues that affect them.

It has allowed an open conversation around the future direction of Aotearoa’s trade policy. And significantly bought Māori into a partnership that is developing, growing and soon to be flourishing.

Furthermore our trade arrangements on RCEP, AANZFTA and PACER Plus continue to put us in a position to advance our trade policies and ensure our businesses can best benefit.

The programme for the school yesterday included presentations on Trans-Tasman geo-political context and regional priorities; evolving global trade challenges for New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific; the future of digital trade:

On the agenda today are recent developments in New Zealand and Regional Free Trade Agreements; sustainable trade and the green economy; business aspirations for CER and the region; and moving forward on trade in a turbulent trade future.

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton


RogerF said...

So in the meantime what are we non-maoris expected to do?

Anonymous said...

RogerF: we pay.