Wellington Scoop

Rallies at Parliament against free-trade agreement, and poverty

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Wellingtonians opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement marched through the CBD this afternoon. The march was one of 16 being organised throughout the country.

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The destination of the march was Parliament Buildings….

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… where Gareth Hughes of the Green Party was one of the speakers. A march organiser said there was an ”unprecedented groundswell” of public concern against negotiations for the agreement, which is proposed between 12 Asian and Pacific countries, including New Zealand and the United States.

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Earlier in the day, Jan Logie of the Greens spoke at another rally at Parliament, where claims were made for the living wage to be paid to support workers in the education system; the NZEI-organised rally also called on the government to stop ignoring poverty and the effect it is having on the education and future prospects of thousands of children.

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Labour MPs Grant Robertson and Chris Hipkins were also at this rally.

News from Greens
The Green Party is 100% behind rallies throughout New Zealand warning the public about fishhooks in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and the secrecy with which it is being negotiated, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said today.

New Zealanders from the Hokianga to Invercargill are holding rallies and marches today to express their concern at the way the TPPA is being negotiated behind closed doors. Metiria Turei is speaking at the Auckland event.

Negotiators from the 11 countries involved in the TPPA have decided that the text for the agreement will not be released until negotiations conclude. All documents related to these negotiations, other than the final text, will then be held in confidence until four years after the agreement comes into force.

“The public of New Zealand and our Parliament deserve the opportunity to scrutinise and critique the TPPA before it is signed,” Mrs Turei said today.
“So far the public has had to rely on Wikileaks to get any idea of what those negotiating the TPPA have in store for the public of New Zealand.

“This is not good enough. Parts of the trade deal being negotiated between the European Union and the United States will be released for public scrutiny.

“The New Zealand public should have the same opportunity to scrutinise the Trans-Pacific Partnership to see what our negotiators are putting on the table.
“It is important that New Zealanders have the chance to look at this agreement, due to the fact that it could impact on the ability of future Governments to protect the environment.

“Leaked versions of the agreement have shown countries within the TPPA pushing for exemptions to existing global environmental treaties.
“Any agreement that could impact on the countries involved ability to fight climate change and protect the environment deserves the utmost scrutiny,” said Mrs Turei.

“The Green Party will only support a fair, genuinely progressive trade agreement that promotes sustainable development and the creation of new jobs alongside the protection of the environment and human rights.”