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Stop-TPP Movement renews call for Binding Referendum

Stop-TPP Movement renews call for Binding Referendum before TPP is ratified.

TPP-Free-Wellington marked the occasion of the Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade (FADT) Select Committee’s report tabling day (May 4) with a “Binding Referendum Rally” at Parliament.

The nationwide “It’s Our Future” movement (which includes the local Wellington group) told the Select Committee that, “any decision to proceed with the ratification process must include a binding referendum”.

Barry Coates, one of the movement’s leaders, emphasises, “There is concern over the TPP from a majority of the public across New Zealand, according to public opinion polls (TV3/Reid Research, November 2015).”

“The Select Committee had public hearings in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland between mid-February and late April and the majority of people and groups who submitted written or oral presentations opposed the TPP being ratified.”

Greg Rzesniowiecki TPP Free Wellington researcher and advocate, reports from his following the FADT committee proceedings, “Notable amongst those opposing TPP ratification are; The New Zealand Universities New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee1, Council of Trade Unions and many union affiliates, the New Zealand Medical Association, internet and copyright users associations including LIANZA (Library Association of NZ and Australia), and many concerned about health, environment, and human and community rights.2 New Zealand small business owners featured amongst those opposed to the TPP.”

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Greg observes, “The trade based associations and interests, all offered the committee that the TPP will not bring increased access, only that it will reducetariffs, increasing the price that they received for their, beef lamb, milk and kiwifruit. Again the advantage to trade interests is used to smash everyone else in the New Zealand economy. The trade interests have traditionally opposed real action on climate change, yet most civil society TPP presentations highlighted that TPP will constrain government’s ability to regulate for a sustainable future.”

“If the Select Committee report to government ignores the strong public condemnation of TPP and recommends that the TPP treaty proceeds, it will be as if the people’s voice in this matter doesn’t carry any weight at all!”

The next stage of the government’s process is the tabling of legislation to enable the controversial TPP arrangements. TPP Free Wellington encourages massive opposition to the legislation proceeding - Its Our Future.

Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati declares on behalf of TPP Free Wellington, “We call for a binding referendum. TPP would significantly undermine our elected representatives’ ability and freedom to work for us. TPP will give more power to foreign “investors” to secure their “property” and profits, and to offshore tribunals to enforce the new regime.”

“Of course our Government is entitled to govern”, says Ariana, “but they don’t have the right to trade away our democracy itself, which belongs to all of us, not to the politicians.”

“In our view, such a decision must be up to us, we the People, after a proper public debate which a binding referendum would ensure.”

“We’re organising the petition to the Governor General – in his role as the guardian of the constitution – to require this democratic process.” Ariana concludes, “We say - Let the People Decide!”


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