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New Zealanders protest over secret TPPA and demand release of text

TTPA rally Auckland NZ March 29 2013

New Zealanders protesting against the secret Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement in Auckland impacting on democractic choice. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

Pacific Scoop:
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.

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Opposition Labour Party Leader David Cunliffe speaking at the anti-TPPA rally. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

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.

TTPA rally Auckland NZ

A child and her her grandmother at the anti-TPPA rally in Auckland today. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

TTPA rally Auckland NZ

“Aotearoa is a democracy” declares a young Mana Party supporter. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

TTPA rally Auckland NZ

Catholics for Justice and Peace march at the anti-TPPA rally. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

TTPA rally Auckland NZ

Professor Jane Kelsey and a radical Kiwi daylight activist at the anti-TPPA rally in Auckland today. Image: Del Abcede

TTPA rally Auckland NZ

Social documentary photograher Gil Hanly at the TPPA rally in Auckland today. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

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An Uncle Sam protester against the US-driven TPPA in Auckland today – “taking people power away”. Image: Del Abcede/PMC