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National mobilisation against TPPA

National mobilisation on Saturday against Trans-pacific Partnership Agreement

Towns and cities across the country, from Whangarei to Invercargill, are preparing to send an unmistakable message to the government this Saturday 29th – "we don't want the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) because it is bad for our communities."

Some are worried about the price of medicines. Others about the impacts on local libraries. Tangata whenua are battling to uphold their Treaty rights against foreign mining companies. City councillors and unions fear that more local jobs may go and workshops close as government buys offshore.

But for many, it is simply a matter of democracy and sovereignty.

Marches, rallies and events are planned in some fifteen different communities, large and small, on Saturday.

Dr Benjamin Pittman, a retired educator and professional artist who spent 30 years in Australia and Hawaii, is organising the TPPA activities in Whangarei.

“I see the TPPA as an absolute affront and insult to the founding principles of partnership. The overt secrecy with which its planning has been conducted and its threat to democracy in Aotearoa galvanised me into action. Arrogant, ignorant, self-centred government is bad news!,” he said.

Palmerston North is preparing to play an active part the National Day of Action with a concert and rally in the Square starting at 1pm.

Rally organiser Sue Pugmire says: “There is a growing number of people who are very concerned about the TPPA in Palmerston North, and the more we find out about it, the more that concern grows”.

“We want answers. We're tired of platitudes. This matter is above party politics. It is a matter for all New Zealanders. If the TPP is signed it will affect us all. It is about Democracy, and our right to determine our own future, as people and as a country. If signed, the TPP can override our NZ Laws including the Treaty of Waitangi. Those laws are there to protect us, our environment, and our families.”

Saturday’s action in Nelson follows a series of public meetings and protests over the past two years.

Last year more than 500 people of Nelson City & Tasman District signed a petition calling on their local councils to adopt the Peoples Resolution concerning the TPP agreement, along the lines of one that Auckland City adopted in 2012. In July 2013 both Councils adopted those resolutions, which were forwarded to the government.

‘This shows how local democracy can work in practice’, according to one of the Nelson organisers, Graeme O’Brien. ‘Local people took action to collect signatures, attend the debates and speak to their councils in the Public Forum to impress upon the councillors the level of concern in the local community about the secrecy of this agreement.’

Ends.

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