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Thousands rally to protect decision making and sovereignty

Thousands rally to protect local decision making and sovereignty

Thousands of people took part in rallies and marches across the country yesterday to stand up for New Zealand’s right to determine its own future, in a national day of action against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.

The day of action was coordinated by Its Our Future, and was supported by the Green, New Zealand First, Maori and Mana parties. Formal sponsors included Oxfam, Greenpeace and the Council of Trade Unions.

Oxfam Senior Policy Advisor Sarah Meads spoke at the Wellington rally.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement will give corporations wide sweeping power to limit the rights of governments to regulate in the public interest, to disrespect national legal systems and democratic institutions and to lift the bar far higher to access affordable medicines.”

“It is unacceptable that these issues would be subject to negotiations undertaken in secrecy with no democracy or public consultation,” Sarah Meads said.

FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid addressed the crowds in Auckland.

“We’ve already seen the impact that globalisation and free trade mythology has had on ordinary working New Zealanders – our jobs have been sold overseas and wages and conditions ground down through international competition.

“This new agreement is globalisation on steroids - it gives multinational corporations unprecedented power to intervene in our regulatory process to shape our laws,” Robert Reid said.

Equity NZ spoke today of the devastating impact on the audio visual industry when the then Bolger National Government made World Trade Organisation commitments to open New Zealand screens up to imported content.

“From a performers’ perspective, the Bolger government’s decision forever hamstrung our ability to tell our own stories. It has also led to a sector that will never have the critical mass it requires to build sustainable careers,” said Jeff Szusterman, Vice President, Equity New Zealand, who spoke today in Auckland.

“Equity believes that government should reject the secretive TPPA because it will allow the US to get total market access for their film and television output while NZ performers are pushed off the screen,” he said.

Its Our Future spokesperson Edward Miller said today was the latest stage in growing opposition to the TPPA.

“Prime Minister John Key and Trade Minister Tim Groser, and Labour Leader David Cunliffe, need to understand that this is shaping up as an election issue,” he said.

Ends.

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