Press Release – Grey Power New Zealand
Rally against TPPA in Hastings
With the final negotiations of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) expected to be taking place in March, and with widespread community concern about threats this secret deal poses to New Zealand’s sovereignty, a rally is being held onSaturday, 7 March at 12 noon in Civic Square, Hastings, as part of a nation-wide Day of Action on stopping the TPPA.
Rally organisers Maxine Boag and Ngatai Huata will be joined by a range of speakers from community organisations, workplaces, unions and political parties as well as individuals who believe that the signing of the TPPA is a mistake.
“The TPPA’s agenda of re setting global trading rules is without precedent,” Napier Grey Power representative Maxine Boag said. “Under the TPPA, transnational corporations will be able to dictate changes to New Zealand laws. It represents one of the greatest threats to New Zealand sovereignty, and it is being negotiated in secrecy.”
One of the provisions of the TPPA allows corporations to sue governments if laws affect their profits, but does not allow governments to sue corporations for harm to the public or the environment.
“Tobacco giant Philip Morris Asia is currently using this kind of provision to sue the Australian Government for their plain cigarette packaging legislation,” Maxine said. Inclusion of such provisions in the TPPA could seriously undermine efforts to make New Zealand smoke free by 2025.
Hastings Grey Power president Marie Dunningham said that the TPPA “is not a trade agreement for our benefit, but a free-for-all for multinational companies. As well, it affects our right to govern ourselves, with serious repercussions on copyright laws, ownership of language, health policies and law-making.”
She expressed Grey Power’s concerns that the TPPA could undermine Pharmac, which buys generic drugs and sells them far more cheaply than those sold by multinational drug companies, and the TPPA could see an end to affordable medicines for the elderly, or anyone else who needs them.
A letter to the Prime Minister signed by 270 Medical professionals published recently in the media showed the deep concern they have of the negative effects the TPPA could have on the health and well being of New Zealanders. They are demanding immediate release of TPPA negotiating documents so they can be openly debated in public.
The TPPA could also open the way for private corporations to sue our government for laws against fracking, or GE, as these could undermine their investments.
“Trade Minister Tim Groser defends his government’s secrecy over these negotiations by saying they cannot be negotiated in public, yet the EU has released the text of its mega-deal with the United States and the whole document before signing,” Ngatai Huata said. “What are they hiding?”
The organisers are asking the local tribal and territorial authorities – Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc., Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Hastings District Council and the Napier City Council – to follow the lead taken by other Tribal authorities, city councils in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and most recently, Wellington, all of whom have passed resolutions to urge the government to require protections for New Zealand interests to be included in the TPPA before they sign it.