Hikoi raises TPPA awareness
‘‘Hey, John Key – you got mail; Aotearoa’s not for sale!’’
A chanting, flag waving and placard wielding procession drew some bemused reactions from other central city pedestrians at lunchtime on Friday.
It also attracted plenty of friendly-sounding toots from passing motorists as it paused at intersections.
The hastily arranged hikoi of awareness about the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement made its presence known as it paraded along George, Cuba and Rangitikei St to The Square and back to its start point on Main St opposite the Convention Centre.
Hastily arranged the night before, the hikoi attracted 20 or so people accompanied by several children, with the aim of creating awareness about the international trade and sovereignty treaty being signed in Auckland on February 4.
Organiser Te Ao Pritchard says just because the 12-nation pact is being signed here doesn’t mean those opposed to it have lost the battle.
‘‘You don’t give up just because someone has signed a bit of paper without your consent.’’
The agreement still has to be vetted by parliament and ratified. The latter process is not expected to start until after the US presidential elections.
‘‘We’re opposing a treaty that will violate our sovereignty. It’s colonisation by corporation. It affects everyone, Maori and Pakeha.’’
Maori, she says, have experi- ence of being colonised. For the rest, this will be a new experience.
‘‘The Treaty of Waitangi is protective of the land and oceans, but the resources there are what corporations want, and if we protect those, our government will be sued.’’
Marcher William Quinn observed that thousands of people turned out for sporting events, but not for something that carries even greater significance.
‘‘We have an example of how these agreements work,’’ William says referring to how Mexico has been adversely affected by NAFTA – the North American Free Trade Agreement, ‘‘so why would anyone want to sign up to this?’’
The TPPA has been called ‘‘NAFTA on steroids’’.
At The Square, the marchers were joined by former city mayor, Jill White.
When asked if she didn’t think the government was acting in New Zealand’s best interests over the TPPA, her reply was: ‘‘I don’t think they know what our best interests are’’.
A small knot of people protesting the signing of the TPPA, paraded along city pavements on Friday to raise awareness of the multinational agreement’s implications for New Zealand’s sovereignty.