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Gisborne TPPA protest march tomorrow

A MARCH in opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will be held in Gisborne tomorrow.

The aim is to raise awareness about the implications of the deal and let people know there is still time to fight it, organiser Tania Barbarich says. Around 200 to 300 people are expected, and groups are coming from as far as Wairoa and the East Cape.

The full TPPA text was released earlier this month and acting trade minister Steven Joyce has indicated it could be two years before the deal is ratified. Mrs Barbarich says there is enough time to convince the Government not to sign it.

“I am optimistic we can make a difference. If we do nothing then there is zero chance of changing the agreement.”

Not enough people are informed about the TPP. Of those who are, some have lost hope because they think it is a done deal, she says.

“That is a misconception. There is still time to rally the people and get the opposition moving and vocal.”

There are a number of clauses in the agreement that will work against New Zealanders, she said.

“The deal gives offshore companies the ability to sue our Government if it passes legislation that infringes on their profits. Also, the company lodging the complaint will be able to choose the judges at the trial.”

Mrs Barbarich is not protesting against free trade, but rather against a deal which she says does not support the future of her mokopuna.

“It opens up our country to be exploited and bought by offshore multimillion-dollar companies.”

The march starts at 1pm at Elgin shopping centre and those involved will make their way to Heipipi Park. They will carry banners and signs and some will be on horseback and others on foot.

Following this, Labour Party MP Meka Whaitiri will give a speech and Jess Jacobs will talk about how the TPPA could affect people’s ability to contest deep sea oil drilling.

TPPA protest in March. File picture