March against the TPPA
2 February 2016
March against the TPPA
On Thursday 4th February, thousands of Kiwis will take action across New Zealand to register their protest against the government signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
The march down Queen Street is likely to be huge. People are coming from across New Zealand and many Aucklanders will take a long lunchtime to exercise their democratic rights.
It’s Our Future spokesperson Barry Coates said: “We invite concerned Kiwi's to join us in a loud, colourful, non-violent, family-friendly march to make it clear that this government does not have a mandate to sign the TPPA in our names.”
The march assembles at 12 midday on the Queen St side of Aotea Square, proceeds down Queen St and end with speeches and music at Britomart.
“After six years of secret negotiations, we have finally seen the details of this agreement, and we now understand why the government was trying to hide the details. Research shows the TPPA will give new rights to litigious foreign corporations, undermining the rights of government to regulate in the public interest and overriding our judiciary”.
“People are angry and understandably so. Our sovereignty, democracy, our economy, the environment, public health, the rights of workers, public services, local government, small business and the protection of Te Tiriti o Waitangi would all be put at risk by this agreement,” explained Barry Coates.
“Proponents of the TPPA are sounding increasingly desperate. They know that Kiwis don’t buy the spin and the slogans. They want the facts, and the facts say that the TPPA is not in our interests.”
Signing is not the final step. Signing is largely symbolic and the TPPA does not come into force until countries accounting for 85% of combined GNP ratify the agreement. This is likely to take at least two years, if ever. Ratification is looking shaky in the US, Canada and other countries.
The TPPA will not come into force until it is ratified by Congress and until New Zealand’s legislation has been ‘certified’ by the US administration. New Zealand and Australian governments will come under pressure during discussions on Thursday to give even more concessions over data exclusivity for biologic medicines and to undertake not to use the negotiated exception from investor-state settlement for cases involving tobacco control.
The TPPA is opposed by opposition political parties – Labour, Greens, NZ First and the Maori Party – and by most New Zealanders, according to a TV3/Reid Research public opinion poll last November. It will be a central issue for the next election.
There will be marches and actions on Thursday in cities including Waitangi, Whangarei, Auckland, Tauranga, Hastings, Taupo, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. These build on the huge attendance at the speakers’ tour across the four main centres last week, and protests in Nelson, Blenheim, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Raglan and other cities and towns across New Zealand last weekend.
The message from these marches and rallies has
been: Don’t Sign the