Below are the key points from a proposal that has gone forward on behalf of all claimants including the New Zealand MāoriCouncil,Taitokerau District MāoriCounciland the Mataatua District MāoriCouncil for the instruction of an independent barrister.
An independent legal expert with experience in international trade and investment law and a sound knowledge of Treaty of Waitangi issues is to be engaged to advise the crown for the purposes of final TTPA negotiation on the issue of:
Whether the Treaty of Waitangi exception clause is adequate to ensure that the crown is not limited in its ability to give full effect to its obligations to Māori under TeTiriti o Waitangi andits principles.
The advice will include consideration of the issues raised by theclaimants and some proposed word changes to the current Treaty exception clause if the expert concludes that the current wording is not adequate.
The legal expert is to be briefed by Peter Andrew of the NZMC, Ms Sykes and Mr Te Kani Williamson behalf with a view to ensuring that he/she understands the claimants concerns.
The crown (MFAT) is also to brief the expert and to provide to him or her on a confidential basis with what the expert identifies as relevant extracts of the current draft of the TTPA.
The costs of the independent expert are to be paid by the crown.
The advice is to be provided by Wednesday 29 July 2015 (ie to be available to the crown before the text of the TTPA is finalised) with the Minister of Trade to indicate at the forthcoming ministerial meeting that New Zealand may need to make changes to the Treaty exception.