Report – By the PMC News Desk
New Zealanders today took the streets in a national day of action protesting against the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the secrecy with which it is being negotiated.
More than 2000 people gathered at a colourful rally near the Auckland Town Hall and then they marched peacefully to protest outside the United States consulate.
The TPPA is being portrayed by critics as being driven by the US for the advantage of global corporations and bound to severely erode democratic in countries such as New Zealand, especially over issues of food and medicines.
New Zealand’s national generic pharmaceuticals agency Pharmac is seen to be at risk.
Opposition Labour Party Leader David Cunliffe told the crowd that his party had demanded that Prime Minister John Key’s government end the secrecy and make the text of the draft agreement freely available to the people of New Zealand.
But the cheers turned to jeers when Cunliffe declined to reject the TPPA outright.
“Let’s see what’s in it first,” he said.
TPPA negotiations started four years ago but if the US and Japan strike a deal on agriculture at a meeting next month progress is expected to accelerate.
Late last year a petition opposed to the secrecy of the TPPA gained 26,000 signatures or letters calling for release of the text.
The 11 countries currently involved as well as the US are the Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, NZ, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.