Protesting the TPPA in Gisborne
GISBORNE protesters joined 10,000 others across the country in a march against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement on the weekend.
Around 100 people marched from Elgin shopping centre to Heipipi Park on Saturday, some carrying banners and signs, and others on horseback.
Several people spoke, including Gisborne councillor Meredith Akuhata-Brown, protest organiser Tania Barbarich, and Meat Workers Union member Moe Taurima from Wairoa.
They said the TPPA would take away people’s rights and give corporations too much power over New Zealand, and encouraged protesters to continue fighting the deal.
There was still time to convince the Government not to sign it, they said.
Mrs Akuhata-Brown urged people to write to Gisborne MP Anne Tolley and other politicians to express concerns about the deal.
“Ask our local MPs, ‘why is this deal going down in secret’, because it impacts on us, our children and our future.”
The TPPA was not a trade agreement but a “corporate takeover”.
“Corporates will be able to call the shots on things like medicine, education and our legal system . . . the 1 percent who own and run the world are going to be given more power, and that is not democratic.
“It is about big corporate companies taking over the little places. New Zealand is deemed to be one of those little spaces that can be taken over but not if we continue to stand like we have today.”
She acknowledged the Meat Workers Union members at the protest and said that under the TPPA, unions would not be able to stand up for people.
Supporters were there from the Green Party, the Labour Party, and the Mana Party.
Protests were attended at 16 other locations around the country.
On behalf of the protestors, First Union is asking for the Government to initiate a public and parliamentary debate on the TPPA and to give the public the opportunity to vote on whether it should be signed.
Among other things, the union also wants the Government to conduct a full risk assessment of impacts on tangata whenua, iwi and hapu.