Skip to main content

March educates locals on the TPPA

You may have seen the ‘No TPPA’ signs around town or seen the TPPA protest march in Raglan on Saturday and wondered what the fuss was all about.

For many of the 300 people who marched along Bow Street on Saturday morning it was about protecting the future of New Zealand for coming generations and maintaining the country’s right to determine its own laws and regulations.

The Trans-Pacific Partership Agreement (TPPA) is a US-led trade agreement involving 12 countries, including New Zealand, Australia, the United States and Japan, that has been under negotiation for the past few years.

Opponents have criticised the secrecy around the TPPA talks, the extensive scope of the TPPA – which will cover 40 percent of global trade – and how it allows companies to take direct legal action against governments over laws they consider unfair.

As part of an ongoing campaign against the TPPA, a national day of action was held on Saturday to coincide with a meeting of the 12 TPP trade ministers in Beijing around APEC. Marches and rallies were held in about 17 places around New Zealand the same day, kicked off by the march in Raglan.

“We don’t want anything like this to go ahead,” said one of the marchers, Mike Haugh. “It would compromise everything for our kids.”

“For me, it’s about my children’s future,” said another marcher, Kara Tapara. “If this happens, they won’t have a say in anything.”

Local doctor Mike Loten and his family were marching to protest about the TPPA’s potential to raise the cost of medicines. “It would impact on the [country’s] ability to deliver affordable healthcare,” Mike said.

“The issue for me is that we’re not a sovereign state anymore,” said retired professor Grant Cushman. “Democracy is diminshed as a consequence of these sorts of policies.”

Before the march, the diverse crowd of young and old, Maori and Pakeha, was addressed by Mana Party candidate Angeline Greensill, who said it was important to educate the public about the ramifications of the TPPA.

“What it is is a loss of our freedom to international corporations,” Angeline told the rally. “We voted in a government {in New Zealand], we didn’t vote in corporations.”

Local TPPA opponent Emily Gilbert told the crowd that New Zealand was not alone in its protest, as people in the other 11 countries were opposed to the trade deal also.

She had learnt from the seabed mining fight in Raglan that small groups of people could make a difference, and urged people to maintain the pressure on Government.

“This is only the beginning,” Emily added. “This is about educating everybody.”
Raglan environmentalist Malibu Hamilton said the TPPA was unjust: “It’s a breach of our sovereignty. It’s a breach of our rights.”

Before the march members of local band Cornerstone Roots entertained the gathering with some music and two anti-TPPA petitions, one regional and one national, were being signed.

Lisa Thomson, one of the march oganisers, was pleased with the turnout, saying she was surprised at the wide variety of people who disagreed with the TPPA.

Rachel Benn

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.