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Hamilton TPPA Rally demands referendum

Hamilton TPPA Rally demands referendum prior to signing the TPP agreement.

November 15th

The busy Te Rapa road witnessed a colourful spectacle as several hundred mums, dads and their children marched to the TPPA Rally by Wairere Drive corner, to protest the New Zealand government's intention to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) in early 2016.

The local protest was part of New Zealand Nationwide day of action organised by itsourfuture.org.nz. The Hamilton Rally was one of 14 protests and meetings of citizens in major centres around the country. All Rallies considered a set of 5 demands, which were unanimously adopted by the Hamilton Rally;

Aotearoa NZ Peoples' TPPA Demands

The Government has no democratic mandate to sign away our democratic powers in the TPPA. Before it takes any steps towards signing the agreement, the Government shall:

1. undertake independent human rights, health, environmental and climate change impact assessments of the potential effects of the TPPA on the people and land of New Zealand, and make this information publicly available.

2. support Local Government New Zealand to undertake an independent assessment of the impacts on local government of the TPPA, and consult fully with local government.

3. fully engage with its Treaty of Waitangi partners to hear and address their concerns about the TPPA and refer the text and any proposed legislation to the Waitangi Tribunal to conduct a full risk assessment of impacts on tangata whenua; iwi and hapū.

4. withdraw its consent to the secrecy pact among the twelve TPPA countries and release all background documentation relating to the negotiations.

5. initiate a full public and parliamentary debate on the TPPA, including Select Committee hearings with public consultation, and put the TPPA to a public referendum, before formal signing.

We will continue to mobilise New Zealand citizens in opposition to the TPPA until our demands have been met.

Independent polling has consistently shown that most New Zealanders oppose the signing of the TPPA because of the threat it poses to New Zealand's economy and sovereign ability to legislate in the public interest. Despite being called a free trade deal, sold on trade liberalisation, New Zealand's negotiators have agreed that we will pay more for pharmaceuticals and have our internet and online media use restricted.

Hamilton rally organiser Greg Rzesniowiecki said, 'international investment treaties have already cost nations billions, either in defence or through awards, determined by private arbitration in Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) claims. Philip Morris has been extremely successful in derailing the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which determined to implement plain packaging of tobacco products, agreed by 168 nations including New Zealand and Australia who are being sued.'

'What will the likes of Exxon Mobil and BP do to any climate change framework agreement made at December Paris COP 21? For an agreement to be successful in halting runaway climate change, big energy companies profitability from burning fossil fuels will be limited, as subsidies are removed from big polluters and restrictions are placed on greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2. If we allow them to access ISDS in TPPA then New Zealand risks ISDS suits from these large USA based trans national corporations.'

Further nationwide action is expected during the next few months in the light of the 5 Nov TPPA texts, which confirm disturbing details about the terms our Trade Minister Tim Groser has agreed on behalf of New Zealand's people.

Rzesniowiecki said 'The New Zealand democracy deserves no less than a full and frank discussion based on independent assessments of the TPP agreement text, before we commit to its terms. There's an old saying in commerce, buyer beware.'

ENDS

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