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Source: New Zealand Government

Thank you very much for the invitation and opportunity to speak at this hui.

This is an important occasion to gather and korero on issues of business and trade. And I thank the University of Waikato for their mahi in putting this together.

Although this hui is motivated by the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP, it is important that we acknowledge the Māori economy and what we as Māori bring to international trade.

International trade is an important kaupapa for Māori. The Māori economy is estimated to be over $70 billion, and many iwi, hapū, and whānau are already involved in trade, or on the path to getting involved.

The Crown’s partnership with Māori on trade is a vital component of how as a nation we can reach deep into future markets and secure the best possible outcomes.

Māori offer unique knowledge and principles on the international trade stage that help differentiate Aotearoa, we should not forget this.

As you just heard from Minister Mahuta, CPTPP, was signed in 2018, opening up important trade opportunities for Aotearoa, including Māori businesses.

Over 78,000 Māori are employed in firms that export goods to CPTPP countries, comprising 15% of the workforce – higher than in other exporting firms.

CPTPP includes 10 other economies across the Asia Pacific region, the UK about to become the 12th member and a more having requested to join.

Crucially, the CPTPP opens up opportunities with countries that we previously did not have FTAs with – Japan, Canada, Mexico and Peru.

The UK’s accession will complement the gold-standard outcomes of the NZ-UK FTA, which will mean that 99.5 per cent of Aotearoa’s current goods exports to the UK will be duty free from entry into force.

I look forward to welcoming the UK as we host the CPTPP Commission next month.

As hosts we have the opportunity to showcase Aotearoa and our values promote inclusive and sustainable trade, which will include a focus on supporting Indigenous trade, high quality environmental regulation, and high levels of social cohesion.

We are determined to deliver a high-quality and authentic host year to showcase our country and show manaakitanga to our manuhiri.

And finally we want our hosting year to reflect the interests of all New Zealanders. An important part of this has been making sure we develop our work programme in close collaboration with Treaty partners. And having hui such as this.

Trade affects around one in four New Zealand jobs, but around one in three jobs for Māori. Māori earn more on average in exporting than non-exporting firms.

Working in partnership with tangata whenua, our trade agreements now better reflect Māori interests, levelling the playing field in key sectors including horticulture, honey, fisheries, meat, dairy and wine.

We have now concluded trade agreements with all our major trading partners with the exception of the United States. Once the EU FTA enter into force 76 percent of our trade will be covered by trade agreements.

This provides important market options and will generate tariff savings, which means better returns and employment opportunities for Māori.

I would like to draw your attention to some other important agreements and negotiations that we have been working hard to deepen our Indigenous connections and values:

The Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement or IPETCA, is a new, first of its kind open plurilateral Arrangement across several economies, which creates a framework for economies and Indigenous Peoples to work together to increase trade and cooperation.

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, and ensure that the benefits of trade and investment are more broadly shared.

As I’m sure you’ve discussed today, New Zealand’s ITAG review of CPTPP was recently conducted with early stage findings of the impact of the CPTPP over its first few 1-2 years encouraging.

The review highlights that inclusive trade does not happen without active engagement. It requires continuous focus to ensure the full benefits of trade agreements are enjoyed across all parts of Aotearoa’s economy.

This process of understanding how inclusive trade can be developed will build on lessons learnt over time, and the ITAG review is an important step for our understanding.

However we cannot rest on our laurels. We need to keep developing, innovating and embracing new ideas.

I was recently in Singapore with a group of Māori business leaders exploring new technologies on aquaculture. Singapore is an amazing country, roughly the size of Lake Taupo but with a population the same as Aotearoa.

Yet we are both on the same journey. We are economies that care about the environment but are constrained by our ability to grow.

Singapore’s approach is to build an eco-system that allows businesses and innovation to thrive. They are looking at technology to help gain that critical edge.

I know aspects like de-carbonising the economy is hard work, but for us Māori, developing our lands to get green outcomes, to use new initiatives and ‘pull the right levers’, is vital.

By embracing new ideas, new technologies and innovation, Māori can be at the forefront of how we grow as a nation into a cleaner, greener economy. An aspect I know we all see as important.

Before I conclude I want to touch on the Aotearoa ki te Ao programme.

It has been essential in progressing the trade economy partnership between the Crown and Māori – and allows us to have a continued focus on a flourishing Māori economy.

Last year we updated the programme to better emphasise supporting Māori exports, and enable an open conversation on the future direction of Aotearoa’s trade policy.

I look forward to continuing to support this work that creates the space for Māori to lead on the opportunities created by trade, and emphasise the Māori voice in the development of international trade agendas.

I wish you all the best for the rest of your hui, and thank you again for the opportunity to address you.

Kei aku rangatira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.