TPPA protesters camp out in Nelson

Protesters against the TPPA at the 1903 site on Trafalgar Street on Saturday. Some of the protesters are occupying the ...
Marion van Dijk

Protesters against the TPPA at the 1903 site on Trafalgar Street on Saturday. Some of the protesters are occupying the site by setting up tents for the weekend.

Protesters in Nelson camped out over the weekend to show their opposition to New Zealand's participation in the current Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations taking place in America.

Protest organiser Graeme O'Brien said the event was organised a week ago as a response to the meeting of TPPA chief negotiators which began in Atlanta on September 26.

He said it could be the last chance for those in Nelson to protest against the agreement. 

Around 50 protesters stopped to see Nelson MP Nick Smith at the Saturday morning market to question him about the TPPA negotiations and why the government was being secretive.

"To tell us that we are going to wait for the select committee is a joke and we are quite sick of hearing the same lies again and again," said O'Brien.

Several protesters then camped out in 1903 Square on Saturday to show their disagreement with the TPPA.

O'Brien said it was important for Nelson to show their opposition to the United Nations General Assembly where Prime Minister John Key would be putting pressure to conclude TPP high on his agenda.

"We are occupying this space to show that we don't agree and we will never agree basically, and to show people around the country that these are the actions that need to be taken," he said. 

"We want to see the agreement before it is signed, there is no reason why they can't agree, bring it back, show it to us and say that's what we agree with."

O'Brien said they asked Smith to debate the TPPA with University of Auckland associate dean Jane Kelsey, a prominent critic of the TPPA and he agreed to do so dependent on having time in his schedule. 

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"Nelson basically started the TPPA protest with the resolution that was started through the Nelson City Council that 12 councils have now adopted around New Zealand and that covers 60 per cent of New Zealand's population," said O'Brien. "We started it and we are carrying it on."

 - Stuff

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