Hikoi raises TPPA aware­ness

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

‘‘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’’.

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH

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.

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