Written By: - Date published: 5:15 pm, November 8th, 2014 - 128 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, activism, climate change, democracy under attack, exports, Japan, jobs, us politics, workers' rights - Tags: TPPA
The anti-TPPA demonstrations happened around the country today.
RNZ tweeted this pic of the rally before the march, in Wellington.
There was a pretty good turnout at the Auckland demonstration that I attended in the sunshine. Loads of home made placards made it colourful and interesting.
Moana Maniapoto sang accompanied by guitarist (not Don McGlashan)
And with Don McGlashan and the guitarist (Roger Fowler, I think).
These guys did a great version of ‘Marching in the Streets” – using the ‘Dancing in the Streets” tune, but changing the lyrics to suit today’s demo. It was very infectious and dancey.
There was a performance using the TPPA imperialist trap.
They enticed a big Kiwi in full costume into the trap with calls of economic growth. Then sprung the trap. Some other big Kiwis came and save their mate, defeating the US imperialists.
The march headed off down Queen Street.
The march ended up in Customs Street, outside the US Embassy.
Jane Kelsey gave a sharp and rousing speech. She says it is urgent that we don’t let up from putting the pressure on the government to stop agreeing to this deal. She said Government Minister Tim Groser has put so much effort into the deal, he will accept whatever the US and Japan agree to, in their last ditch effort to push it through.
She talked of a Bill being put up to say that no trade deal should be allowed to override NZ’s democratic and sovereign legislation. (Edit: i didn’t get that exactly correct – see below*)
Thousands took to the streets today to protest against the the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which organisers say is a secret deal that will threaten New Zealand’s sovereignty.
The marches took place in centres across the country in opposition to the free trade agreement proposed between 12 Asian and Pacific countries, including New Zealand and the United States.
Protesters fear if the deal is done it will be harder for the government to look after the environment, promote health and protect workers and consumers.
Actually, there looked to be thousands in Auckland alone.
In Auckland, more than 1000 people marched from Aotea Square down Queen Street to the United States Consulate, bringing traffic to a standstill along the way.
They have a photo of the raly in Aotea Square before the march down Queen Street.
The RNZ report also says:
In Wellington, more than 1000 protesters marched from Cuba Street to Civic Square and about 1000 people also marched in Christchurch.
While a rally in Dunedin against the TPPA trade agreement has drawn 400 people.
The protesters marched from Otago University to the Octagon, to hear speeches and poems.
The crowd was addressed by several MPs including Labour’s Clare Curran and the Greens co-leader Metiria Turei.
Good on you all the people who participated.
greywarshark reports on the Nelson. His report begins:
We had a good march in Nelson starting at 1pm at the isite at the bottom of Trafalgar St, We had a drummer setting timing for the chant and someone with a handheld speaker calling the easy words – N-O No TPPA – Away. style. Then a left turn into Hardy St and through to the Queens Gardens. About 200-300 people many with placards and signs done at home, with clear large writing and showing the benefit of having time and materials put into them.
See more of the report at the link.
I agree with mickysavage, that there was a lot of passion at the Auckland demo, a lot of young people participated, and there were at least 2,000 people there.
The protestors are worried the deal will enable big companies to overturn laws made by governments wanting to protect their citizens.
But one of the protest leaders, University of Auckland professor Jane Kelsey, says Washington wants that clause to be non-negotiable.
“The US Congress has the final say. The US Congress will not accept a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that does not have the right of foreign investors to sue.”
Next week leaders of the anti-TPPA movement will begin lobbying MPs to introduce legislation into Parliament that says no future government shall enter into an agreement that includes the right for foreign investors to sue them in offshore tribunals.
The TPPA is not a free trade deal – it is anti-free trade.
While most mainstream news outlets have given front page coverage to the demonstrations, the New Zealand Herald have somewhat buried it. They have two un-narrated videos of a couple of the protests.
Auckland one features Jane Kelsey clearly explaining what is wrong with the TPPA: it’s secrecy; the way it benefits big international corporations and undermines NZ sovereignty and democracy; that there’s nothing in it for New Zealanders and the cost is to high. She says that there is a great feeling among the protesters. Then various protesters why that are demonstrating.
Melanie Caldwell, a Tauranga resident and one of the organisers of the protest, said she thought the support had grown since the election.
“I think the sense of urgency is because John Key got back in so it’s a real threat now… It’s a real fear now.”
She wanted people to share their messages and join the protests.
“I think the more people are thinking ‘this is real, this is actually happening’, and share that on social media, the concern will grow exponentially.”
Protesters were calling for the Government to reveal the details of the agreement, she said.
“Question the content. We want it to be transparent, we want it to work for all New Zealanders not just the one per cent.”