Article – Lyndon Hood

PM’s Post-Cabinet Press Coference 2/2/16: Waitangi And TPP Again, But More So Click for big version.

PM’s Post-Cabinet Press Conference 2/2/16: Waitangi And TPP Again, But More So

Click for big version.

Prime Minister John Key today said his office has received an invitation for him to visit the Lower Marae on Waitangi Day, but was waiting for a meeting of the Te Tii Marae Trustees tonight. Media reports have indicated a Ngapuhi meeting voted not to invite the PM but local hapu said he should be welcomed.

The debate comes after controversy over the TPP agreement’s effect on treaty rights and whether Maori were adequately consulted in the deal’s negotiation.

Mr Key said protocol considered the Lower Marae the gateway to the Treaty Grounds, so if he was not invited he would not visit Waitangi at all. He would also not attend if he could not speak and was unwilling to accept limitation on his speech.

On the TPP Key reiterated the expected trade benefits, which he said were likely understated in official projections. Responding to reports on US negoiators, he said New Zealand was against extending patent terms for biologics beyond the agreed limits.

Other matters included Labour’s distinction between parts of the TPP enabling legislation and the trade treaty itself, a letter of support Tony Abbott wrote on a possibly Helen Clark bid for UN Secretary General, New Zealand’s connection to Australian GST plans, and citing waitresses to criticise Labour’s education policy.

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