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Papuan leader joins New Zealand rally against TPP corporate trade deal

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Visiting West Papuan leader Octo Mote at the Auckland rally against the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership “trade” negotiations. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Centre news desk

West Papuan pro-independence leader Octo Mote, currently visiting New Zealand on a lobbying mission, marched in solidarity along with thousands of protesters in Auckland yesterday voicing their opposition to the controversial proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership pact.

New Zealand along with 11 Asian and Pacific rim countries, including the United States, have been negotiating over the secret terms of the treaty expected to provide corporations with greater power at the expense of the sovereignty of member governments and their policies.

On Friday night, Mote, a former top Papuan journalist and now secretary-general of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP), spoke to a meeting of West Papuan advocates and supporters in Auckland, saying there had been a groundswell of people’s solidarity movements in the Pacific for West Papua.

Mote welcomes the Solomon Islands decision to appoint a special envoy on West Papua and to make human rights a priority for the Pacific Islands Forum in its leaders summit in Port Moresby next month.

Many supporters in the anti-TPPA crowd were wearing “Free West Papua” tee-shirts.

About 10,000 people were estimated to have taken part in the Auckland march, organised by Barry Coates, of the lobby group It’s Our Future.

About 5000 people took part in the Wellington march, 4000 in Christchurch and 2000 in both Dunedin and Hamilton.

The TPPA negotiations stalled in Hawai’i two weeks ago and Trade Minister Tim Groser has been defending the treaty in spite of barriers against New Zealand’s dairy products.

Dr Jane Kelsey, a law professor and author of The Fire Economy, a recent book highly critical of New Zealand’s economic policies, says the planned treaty is “hugely unpopular domestically and I think he might be laying the groundwork to justify New Zealand not being part of a final deal.”

What is the TPPA?

Te Waha Nui’s Michael Neilson reports on the TPPA rally

The Wellington rally by Megan Gattey

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Start of the Auckland rally in Aotea Square. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

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Anti-TPP rally organiser Barry Coates (left) during speaches before the march got under way. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

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“Aotearoa not for sale” at yesterday’s anti-TPP rally in Auckland. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

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The Auckland anti-TPP rally. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

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Marchers in the Auckland anti-TPP rally. Image: Del Abcede/PMC