Thousands march against TPP trade agreement

LAWRENCE SMITH/Stuff.co.nz

Up to 10,000 people march down Auckland's Queen Street marching in protest at the Government's controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Thousands of people have marched against the Government's controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in rallies around the country.

Trade ministers from 12 nations including New Zealand have been negotiating the trade deal, which would stretch from Japan to Chile and cover 40 per cent of the world economy.

Talks had stalled however, with New Zealand digging in over dairy trade and Japan and the United States disagreeing over the auto industry.

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff.co.nz

TPP march from Midland park to Parliament, Wellington.

Organizers estimated 10,000 protesters had gathered in Auckland; 5000 in Wellington; 4000 in Christchurch and 2000 in both Dunedin and Hamilton. They put the crowds at 800 in Nelson, 500 in Napier, 300 in New Plymouth, 200 in Tauranga, 250 in Golden Bay and 50 in Featherson .

In Auckland the gathered masses ranged from parents with young families to veteran protesters, and came together under banners reading "TPPA Democratic Terrorists", and "TPPA No Way".

From Aotea Square, the demonstrators began marching down Queen St.

The TPPA has triggered protests around the country in the lead up to the agreement being signed off.
MONIQUE FORD/FAIRFAX NZ

The TPPA has triggered protests around the country in the lead up to the agreement being signed off.

Thousands at the Auckland rally against the TPP trade agreement. Photo: LAWRENCE SMITH

'HUMAN MISERY'
Rallygoers gather at Te Rapa for Hamilton's march against the proposed free trade TPP deal.
BRUCE MERCER/FAIRFAX NZ

Rallygoers gather at Te Rapa for Hamilton's march against the proposed free trade TPP deal.

About a thousand people marched to Parliament from Midland Park in Wellington. 

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Documentary filmmaker Bryan Bruce spoke to the crowd on the grounds of Parliament, detailing his opposition to possible Pharmac changes.

"What's on the table is human misery," he said. "The poor have as much right to health as the rich."

Late last month Prime Minister John Key had said the Government would face a higher medicine bill under the TPP, as patents could be in force for "a little bit longer".

However Kiwis using the health system would not face higher bills for subsidised drugs, he said.

Adaire Hannah said the deal as an attack on the working class.

"You can't make capitalism nice," she said.

"It's basically anti-ordinary people having a role in the way the world works."

Cathy O'Callaghan, a nurse from Wellington, said it was good to see such a diverse crowd.

"It's not just a bunch of hippies."

She was here with her husband and her daughter, who was 15.

Ana Scotney, 20, has never actively protested against anything before.

"But I feel like this is kind of a big deal right now."

"There's this conception of our generation as being apathetic, so I figured I would be kind of a hypocrite if I didn't come.

She likened a rejection of the TPP agreement to the nuclear ship ban in the 80s and New Zealand's refusal to join the war in Iraq.

The organisers of the Wellington march claimed 2000 people had gathered at Parliament.

In Wellington protesters made themselves heard marching along Lambton Quay to Parliament. 

 

READ MORE:

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'CORPORATE GRAB'

In Hamilton an estimated 2000 people gathered at 1pm as part of a nationwide week long "Walk Away" campaign.

Drums could be heard as the colourful crowd of all ages marched from Maui St down to Wairere Dr, flanked by two police patrol cars. 

Members of the outspoken and enthusiastic crowd drew placards, waved flags and chanted "TPPA walk away, we don't want your evil ways" down Te Rapa straight.

Rallygoers slammed the deal as a "corporate grab" that cut at the heart of Kiwi's sovereignty and basic rights.

"The Government is not listening to the people. We are not going to let overseas corporates take over our sovereignty, wealth and freedoms," protester Mischele Rhones said. 

This was Rhodes' third rally against TPP, and by far the biggest protest in the Waikato yet, she said.

The aim was to "to be heard", and gain hundreds of signatures to present to the Waikato Regional Council meeting next week, in hopes they would take the message to central government, Rhodes said.

"People have woken up to the fact this deal is sitting there ready to be signed. 

"We just hope the Government walks away from the deal of the farmers are never going to get a fair deal, we already have effective trade deals in place, why do this?"

Rain couldn't keep Cantabrians away from rallying against the TTP agreement.

MARCHING IN THE RAIN

Despite poor weather conditions about 2000 marchers assembled in Hagley Park before making their way without incident up Riccarton Road.

There was a partial deviation from the route when some protesters headed into the Westfield Mall, where they were entertained by a ' flashmob ' that performed Do You Hear The People Sing from 'Les Miserables' as bemused shoppers looked on.

Police maintained a low presence, and reported no issues, after the 2km march ended at Shand Crescent Reserve.

Meanwhile, close to a thousand protesters marched in Dunedin, but many were dismayed when a small group of neo-nazis joined the rally.

The neo-nazis left after being screamed at by the crowd.

Despite poor weather conditions about 2000 marchers assembled in Hagley Park before making their way without incident up Riccarton Road.
 
There was a partial deviation from the route when some protesters headed into the Westfield Mall, where they were entertained by a ' flashmob ' that performed "Do You Hear The People Sing" from 'Les Miserables' as bemused shoppers looked on.
 
Police maintained a low presence, and reported no issues, after the 2km march ended at Shand Crescent Reserve.
 
 
Nelson's anti-TTP prosters were out in force. Photo:Marion van Dijk/Fairfax NZ.
 
STOPPING THE TRAFFIC
 
More that 500 people marched through Nelson on Saturday holding up traffic to protest the Government's involvement in the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement.

People of all ages from all walks of life gathered on upper Trafalgar St cheering each other's calls for democracy and transparency, and marched through town singing songs written for the occasion.

Protest organiser Graeme O'Brien, balanced on a stool, was drowned out by applause when he said: "We say people before profit and community before corporations."

Nelson lawyer Steven Zindel, emergency doctor Andrew Munro, Waimea College student Claire Layland and Nelson First Union organiser Rachel Boyack all spoke to the crowd encouraging opposition of the agreement for the benefit of all New Zealanders, especially the vulnerable and the young.

Munroe said: "Tonight when I get to work I will see many people surviving on the margins...these are the people that will be most adversely affected by the TPPA."

 - Stuff

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