TPPA protests: it’s far from over

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Professor Kelsey and her TPPA "dead rat" at the Auckland Town Hall tonight. Image: Del Abcede/PMC.

Report by Carolyn Skelton.

Highlights from the TPPA Don’t Sign meeting in Auckland Town Hall. I am a novice in the filming for and editing of videos, so please excuse the technical quality.

The content is very important. The full video of the event, as live streamed on the Daily Blog, will be available online soon. [Edit: Full video now available on the Daily Blog]

The TPPA “Don’t Sign” meeting began in Auckland Town Hall on the evening of 26 January 2016. with a welcome from Joe Hawke of Ngāti Whātua He was supported from a group from his iwi, who joined together to sing a waiata. Moana Maniapoto responded, stating that the Ngāti Whātua group had been central to 1978 protests, and drew parallels with the anti-TPPA protests. [See Te Ara for more on Joe Hawke.]

Maniapoto said the TPPA had united a diverse range of New Zealanders in opposition to it.

The main message from the meeting was that the TPPA was far from a done deal: the campaign against it will continue. Lori Wallach from the Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, explained the process in the US: the president signing an international deal means nothing until it passes Congress; and that possibility was still uncertain, with a long way to go before the outcome is known.

Furthermore, Wallach warned that, if the NZ government changed laws to comply with the TPPA before the text is agreed by the US, (and Japanese) legislature, NZ could be screwed. The US Congress could require some parts of the TPPA to be changed before they would agree to it. If NZ changed it’s laws too soon, it could find itself locked into a deal that is increasingly bad for NZ.

Jane Kelsey talked of the peer reviewed analyses of the TPPA (available here), and used her rat toy as a metaphor for the dead rats Tim Groser has swallowed in agreeing to the TPPA.

See the report from the Pacific Media Centre on the town hall meeting, with a photo of the “dead rat” and a focus on the implications of the TPPA for Māori.

Kelsey argued that the newly released “National Interest” document is propaganda, in the National Party interest, written by the people who negotiated the TPPA. The document ignores the downsides. See the MFAT web site for the document, and the full text of the TPPA.

Metiria Turei stated clearly, and resoundingly that the Green Party is opposed to the TPPA: that it’s good for big business, but bad for New Zealanders, the environment, and our sovereignty.

Grant Robertson delivered a rousing speech that was critical of the TPPA, because it undermines our sovereignty. He highlighted the Labour Party legacy in standing up for the rights of new Zealanders, while also supporting good trade deals. He said the TPPA is not a good deal.

However, Robertson failed to state explicitly what the Labour Party will be doing about it. Some see this as an indication of lack of consensus within the Labour caucus on the TPPA. Wayne Mapp argues in comments on the Standard, that Robertson’s speech indicated that the Labour Party would contest the enabling legislation.

In the evening of 27 January 2016, Andrea Vance reported that Labour’s Andrew Little has stated they are opposed to the TPPA. In the video, Little states that, in government, they would look to renegotiate the TPPA. [TVOne video available here.]

At the town hall meeting, Marama Fox, Māori Party co-leader, delivered a powerful speech. She talked of the Treaty of Waitangi and how it didn’t deliver to Māori the benefits promised by the British. She drew strong parallels with the TPPA, and said to those watching, “Welcome to our world!”

Fox said that, if Māori had known in advance how the things would work out for them, they would have lined the borders holding muskets. She talked of how both National and Labour governments had not worked in their interests in the past, and re-iterated the Māori Party view that it is better to be at the table working towards the Māori Party goals.

What would the 21st century equivalent be to defending the country’s borders against the new wave of imperialism embedded int he TPPA. (See information about Tabuteau here.) It will be bad for NZ businesses and increase inequalities in NZ.

Moana Maniapoto ended with a beautiful and inspiring song of hope.

The RNZ audio report of the meeting is here:

More information about the TPPA Don’t Sign Nationwide meetings on the It’s Our Future site, plus other upcoming events.

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Carolyn is committed to economic and social justice. She has researched and taught in film, TV and media studies, sociology and gender studies. Carolyn is actively interested in local history, and its impact on the present and future.

Carolyn currently works part time as a research librarian in Auckland Libraries, which is part of Auckland Council. The views, analysis, and opinions she expresses on this site are her own, and not those of Auckland Council.

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