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Govt has 'bamboozled' voters over new TPP

7:18 pm on 8 March 2018

Katie Doyle, Journalist

The government has "bamboozled" voters over plans to sign the revised Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, a Wellington solicitor says.

About 80 people attended the protest while another 5000 signed a petition Photo: RNZ / Katie Doyle

Oliver Hailes led an 80 person strong protest today against the new agreement, which is due to be signed in Chile tomorrow.

He also presented Green MP Golriz Ghahraman with a petition signed by 5000 people, calling for the government to pull out of the agreement.

Both Labour and New Zealand First had backtracked on their pre-election stance, Mr Hailes said.

"They are laying the foundations for exactly the same deal they said was so terrible for New Zealand; they said was so anti-democratic," he said.

"It's funny how now they're in government they've changed their tune."

Trade minister David Parker had "bamboozled" voters by failing to honestly discuss what the TPP would mean for New Zealand, Mr Hailes said.

"He has made such a big deal about the 22 [items suspended from the original agreement] as if they're absolute carve-outs, whereas they're not.

"Any school teacher knows a suspension is not an expulsion."

The decision to sign the new TPP meant people were beginning to lose "their blind faith in the shiny new government", he said.

Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman, who spoke at the rally, said she was disappointed at the lack of transparency the government had shown in relation to the deal.

"Transparency has to include an opportunity for people to have a look, to have their voices heard, to have really open discussion and debate around these issues," she said.

"They're really fundamental issues to do with our democracy, whether our future governments will have the freedom to legislate according to what the voters want."

The government had rushed to sign the deal and was not representing the large portion of their voter base who did not want New Zealand to be party to it, she said.

The agreement was first negotiated by the National government in 2009.

Over the following years, the Labour Party has voiced concern about the TPP's ability to undermine New Zealand's sovereignty, but decided this year to support the revised deal.

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