The Haka Ka Mate Attribution Act: Wasn't Wai 262 meant to cover this? What's going on with the government response to the Tribunal's report?

Article  \  26 May 2014

Here, in the last article of the Haka Ka Mate Attribution Act series, we share WAI 262 recommendations and what's happening around the world when it comes to indigenous intellectual property.

In the WAI 262 report, the Waitangi Tribunal made a series of comprehensive recommendations on how indigenous IP should be protected in New Zealand. 

Is it time the government responded to the WAI 262 recommendations?

In considering these issues, the question arises once again, when can we expect the government's response to the WAI 262 recommendations?

We expect the Wai 262 recommendations are not high on the government's priorities, particularly with an election scheduled for later this year.

But we have seen evidence of government departments working more collaboratively with Māori to address some of the issues raised in WAI 262.  Is it time the government produced its response?

We also note that the Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Chris Finlayson, said in the course of the third reading of the Act 'it is the very first tentative step by the Crown towards recognition of traditional cultural expressions'.  Here's hoping a first step leads to a second one...

What is happening at an international level?

Negotiations towards an international treaty to recognise indigenous intellectual property rights began in 2001 at the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) within the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).

The IGC held its 27th session this past April, and produced a new proposed text for the recognition of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.

The proposed text is a clear representation of the significant gap between the negotiating countries, and includes more options and alternatives than the previous text.

The IGC is attempting to balance the interests of many indigenous peoples across many countries, so this forum will continue to take time to come up with an internationally accepted treaty recognising indigenous intellectual property rights.

As the international developments continue, we suggest it is time for New Zealand to follow in the footsteps of other countries such as Brazil and South Africa, and develop its own legislation recognising indigenous intellectual property rights.  Perhaps we will have to await the outcome of the TPP negotiations before any clear indication can be given in this area.

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