Why Maori should embrace the CPTTP

Analysis

Ward Kamo

Ward Kamo thinks Maori enterprises will be some of the first cabs off the rank.

The second thing Captain Cook did upon landing in Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa (Poverty Bay) was to unsuccessfully trade with Maori. 

The first thing he did was shoot a few of the Maori traders.

The explorer learned really quickly that ‘trade first, shoot second’ was a more productive way of conducting business. 

And New Zealand is very grateful for this lesson not 250 years later. The playbook on international trade now opens with ‘don’t in any way start by murdering the people you are trying to trade with. It may adversely affect negotiations.' 

I give this history lesson in light of the wholly rational decision of our government to sign the Comprehensive Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement or CPTPP. They’ve clearly learnt from our New Zealand history. Inside sources say the Minister of Trade, David Parker, left his musket at home during negotiations.

This deal has been concluded in the face of a group of noisy people who have vehemently opposed this and the predecessor TPP deal. Unfortunately, some of that noisy group of ideological opposers are Maori. And yet this opposition flies in the face of Maori recognition of the benefits unencumbered trade brought us. 

This early trade between Maori and Pākehā required no tariffs, no regulation and no comprehensive deals negotiated by third parties. 

This trade was done between two people who, without government interference, found an agreed price, shook hands, hongi’d, and exchanged the goods. The shooting began a few decades later (Captain Cook's lesson had by now sunk in).

As a consequence a thriving trade existed between iwi and Pākehā. In the first decade of the 1800s, Maori were growing crops, running sheep and cattle, farming pigs, and harvesting flax to trade for nails, steel, fabric, food and the odd gun or two. And Maori goods were circulating around the world. 

Two-way trade was the mainstay of the emerging Aotearoa economy and it was unencumbered by the dead hand of any government.

Attempts by the colonial government of the day to exert customs authority over trade were loudly ignored by Maori. 

My Ngāti Mutunga iwi on the Chatham Islands refused to deal with the newly appointed customs official Archibald Shand when he arrived on the island in 1855. They saw him as a pointless addition to the sales process and wouldn’t let him near the wharf. 

My people understood that trade is actually quite simple. It’s the government that complicates it with its tariffs and harmonisation rules. If only we’d continued ignoring the government officials. 

So the CPTPP is about removing barriers to trade and beginning the long journey to getting Maori back to the state of trade as at 1800 when we ran the country. As with any deal, compromise is the order of the day. There will be parts of the deal that work wholly in our favour, and other parts we had to give away in order to tip the deal in our favour. 

And the government clearly believes the benefits outweigh the costs to us. 

Maori enterprises will be some of the first cabs off the rank looking to capitalise off the back of this deal. 

The $50b Maori economy is not just iwi entities such as Ngāi Tahu with its $1.3b in assets. 

Rather it’s land trusts such as Tuaropaki, Parininihi ki Waitotara, Whakatu Corporation and others whose collective wealth exceeds the Ngāi Tahu’s and Tainui’s of Aotearoa. 

They are active traders, already invested offshore, and will be looking to increase the financial advantage deals such as the CPTPP brings to them. They will engage in trade that brings real wealth and opportunity to their thousands of Maori shareholders. 

They will fly the flag of free trade our ancestors re-hoisted after they’d forgiven Captain Cook for opening trade negotiations in 1769 with gunfire.

Ward Kamo has been a longtime presenter and panellist on Maori Television. He has worked in management consulting across a broad spectrum of sectors including iwi, forestry, public, insurance, tertiary, and electricity.

This is supplied content and not commissioned or paid for by NBR.


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18 Comments & Questions

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Of course you are totally ignoring is that another difference between now and then is that both sides would trade things with each other. Today one side wants it all given to them for nothing. Big difference.

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He's talking about the TPP, Ivan. What are you talking about?

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He just saw it was about Māori and went to auto pilot racist mode.

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Excellent piece. Kia ora Ward.

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How typical for an activist part-Maori (and isn't it time we received a credible definition of who now *is* Maori?) to start by tediously Invoking a victimhood history of two centuries ago - which sounds like absolute rubbish. There are two sides to every incident, and Captain Cook was not in the habit of firing first and asking questions afterwards - which Maori certainly were. So don't invoke pseudo-history as an aggressive tactic.

The real concern now is that the taxpayers have been so financially bled that the Maori economy, worth $50 billion, Is being used In a bullying sense to compel the universities for example, and other private institutions to withhold funding and research grants which don't prioritise supposed "Maor"i interests.

But who now is Maori? The iwi corporations are throwing their weight around - and enough is never enough. The demands for even more money and more power and control over as many of our resources as possible are never-ending.

This is corrupt - straight-out bullying - and it's shameful that these once proudly independent organisations are now being told that funding will be withheld if this doesn't happen - and are doffing their caps and kowtowing.

The country has been conned for too long. New Zealanders today who had no part at all in the events of 200 years ago are seeing the shocking neglect of essential services in hospitals desperate for funding, and other areas of health and essential social services in dire straits because money is being basically squandered by the politicians on the basis of now highly dubious claims - because greedy iwi have taken on board Mrs Harawira's urging that "The squeaky wheel gets the most grease."

The majority of New Zealanders are utterly fed up with this victimhood stance assumed to day by those with even a minor part - or smidgen of Maori blood who did not in any way experience any of the inevitable past wrongs of history (and this went both ways) and who are graceless (or cunning) enough to fail to acknowledge the enormous benefits they have received through the columnists coming to this country.

It is almost incredible to think that yet another $500 million - yes $500 million !! is now being lined up to pay for yet another tribal claim which may well need much closer scrutiny than many of these have received in the past.

We are being rorted - It is breaking the back of the country - and it's time that the whole Waitangi industry was laid to rest.

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Hi. Appreciate you taking the time to comment. Hone Harawira would be bemused, nay even offended, at my being described as a Maori activist. He's worked hard to own that label and will be annoyed to see a free trade pro business Maori as myself being awarded that coveted activist title. Best - Ward.

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You are a gentleman Ward! I would've replied Poko! ktk

Kia kaha e hoa!

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Nice response WK. Weird how people use a strange tangent ("brown privilege?") to express their frustration at the world when your article is about embracing the philosophy of trade with others.

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Ward, it's a mistake to think of the CPTPPA as a free trade agreement. It's not. It's 6000 of pages specifying *restrictions* on trade. How is that in NZ's interest?

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The last three paragraphs of your article are brilliant. I am a descendant of the European settlers. There is some Walsh, Scottish and other. At times I wince. At times thoroughly annoyed or angry when the victimised Maori monopolise the likes of Facebook to abuse any and all Europeans.

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I have been following the TPPA and CPTPP since 2009-2010. My advice. Basically nobody stands to gain from CPTPP. Unless you're a Rockefeller, McCormick, Dudley–Winthrop. Or a current big player in Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, or other. Those banks can trace their money (and almost def their members family lineage) way, WAY back. No the current people who do not have a silver spoon in their mouth. They may want to be part of the next generation of entrepreneurs. Or just want to have a steady job and get a mortgage for a decent house. CPTPP could allow another GFC to happen. And those who caused it not being held to account. People in such diverse fields as: broadcasting, university lectures, medical fields etc. And more. All have very genuine concerns. CPTPP will be a very brave step forward and good for many. No strike that. CPTPP will be a very dangerous 100-300 steps backwards. In terms of all third to forth generation born Kiwi people. Or recent immigrants or holiday makers.

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Gosh eh B Jensen, so the Big Banks you mention can trace their money all the way to past Big Names. What a good thing the Big Names made so much money in their time, even better to know it is still at work today funding businesses and trade. Long may it continue

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Bruce. I might not have made it clear that I am not anti any and all money. Income (big or small) made by ethical means and for the good of the general public. That is to be applauded and congratulated. It is dangerous and exploitative trading and financial practices I am talking about. Oops, might not have made that clear.

I cannot help but notice your somewhat patronising tones. GFC was the product of selfish trading and unethical marketing of commodities as being A+ when they were really more life D-.

Ethical money enabling business and trade. Yes, I am keep for it to keep going. I was not proposing some alternative, protectionist model.

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Really exciting to live in a society that is multicultural
and understanding of our history.
Some pseudo history buffs will always have an opinion to ‘put out there’ and euphemisms aside,
we all enjoy largely an egalitarian society....
Because we have chosen not to be insular, in our international trading, we will of course attract criticism and that’s good.
Brexit, on the other hand is a myopic move by a nation that once was the known for its open door policy in a trading sense.
As to the on going issue with the Waitangi Tribunal.
History will sit in judgement as to the rights and wrongs of this proponent of justice perceived or blinded by the reality of political indifference to it, as a mechanism of equality.
For my money, taxation is a rort if poorly metered out.
Captain Cook was a brilliant navigator, but just a servant of the English Crown. Sine die.

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Yeah, I think this advocacy on behalf of the CPTPPA is based on a lot of misplaced trust in corporations and far too little understanding of how it will actually work (or not, more to the point). Embracing the CPTPPA is like inviting your colonisers (overseas multinationals in this case) to come and join you for dinner, giving them naming rights for the event, and pointing out all the secret passageways into the Pa so as to minimise their trouble when they decide to take it from you. The CPTPPA doesn't 'reduce trade barriers'. That is a deeply flawed understanding of what it is. It is a 6000 page document which describes what gov'ts can and can't do, and how they will kowtow to a new form of coloniser that isn't bound by inconveniences like democratic elections and citizens' rights. Sorry, Ward, on this one you're batting for the wrong team.

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What you had to say on this matter is brilliant, Dave Lane. Thanks for a well thought-out and worded contribution on this matter. More people like you are needed. Who don't just take what is drip-feed to them and accept it at face value. Congrats to you.

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Cook, recalling day 1 in NZ: "We made them every one presents, but this did not satisfy them; they wanted everything we had about us, particularly our Arms, and made several attempts to snatch them out of our hands."

Not my definition of free trade.

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Seems like not much has changed from back then.

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