Thursday, 4 February 2016

TPPA signed in Auckland with protests


TPP signed amidst protests

The PM says the protests "will disappoint".


On the other hand the government had to scour Auckland for three people that were prepared  (amongst all those who refused) to powhiri (greet) the signatories of the TPPA. It must have been a pretty disappointing spectacle despite efforts to make the best of it by government propagandist, the NZ Herald.

Here is coverage for Radio NZ by John Campbell who really does deserve the title "the people's journalist" for doing his job.



4 February, 2016


Prime Minister John Key believes Aucklanders will be disappointed in the anti-TPP protests which blocked the motorway and clogged streets today.
Watch John Campbell at the protests:

Ministers from 12 countries signed the trade deal at the official signing at Auckland's SkyCity this morning, after which Mr Key said New Zealand was proud to be involved throughout the process.

"TPP liberalises trade, and makes it easier to do trade across the region. That's overwhelmingly in the best interest of our countries and our citizens."

See how the day unfolded here:



Motorway open; TPP protests go on


He later told reporters he believed Aucklanders would be "pretty disappointed and a little bit confused" as to why people were protesting against a deal which opened market access for New Zealand.

"I think a whole lot of Aucklanders will just see that in the category of "rent a protest," he said.

"If people have a serious beef to make they should actually have a look at the commentary out there, because the commentary defeats their arguments very strongly.

"Some of those people are absolutely 'rent a protest', and they turn up at any particular thing. It won't matter whether it's mixed ownership model, whether it's mining. Some of them were holding up signs for 1080.

"These are people right across the board. You're always going to get this, as a bit of a cause celebre for the left".



Protesters remain


A large protest group had started massing at Aotea Square this morning and set out through the streets to SkyCity at about 10am. Dozens of police officers are outside the venue, where several hundred protesters remain.

Smaller, roving groups of protesters staged sit-ins at motorway access points, disrupting traffic in the Auckland CBD.

A number sat down at the end of Hobson Street, blocking entrances and exits to the southern and north-western motorway. Fanshawe Street and Cook Street access motorway points were also blocked.

About 30 to 40 police were at the site of the motorway protests, and warned demonstrators, who then moved on.


"I understand using force to remove people from the roads so that Auckland can get back to normal, but putting your hand around someones throat is NOT reasonable force!"- Facebook comment

At one stage police had to step in and remove some protesters when about 100 people ran on to part of a central city motorway.

Police said they were continuing to deal with mobile protest groups and were working to clear the roads as soon as possible. The Transport Agency advised motorists to keep away from the central city.

Shortly after midday the main protest march left from Aotea Square, with an estimated 2000 people walking down Queen Street towards Britomart.

Anti-TPP chants could be heard echoing around the city, as well as horns honking in support.

A protest organiser, Hone Harawira, said there was still a message to send, despite the TPP agreement being signed.

"We don't accept it. We don't like the fact that you didn't get to see it, I didn't get to see it, our children didn't get to see it before they signed it off," he said.

"Even if it's being signed today, it won't be ratified until it's ratified by every government in the TPPA and if it isn't, it's thrown out anyway, so the fight continues today and forever."

Bonnie CookBonnie Cook
Photo: RNZ
Northland protester Bonnie Cook said she was shoved over a barrier and had her head stood on by police officers.

Ms Cook was part of a dozen or so protesters who staged a sit-in on a key motorway link and were physically removed by police officers.

"They just jumped on top of me, six of them. One of them stood on top of my head," she said.

Fellow protester Maraea travelled from Whanganui with her daughter and grandson.

She said the trade deal would affect generations of New Zealanders.

"I came for my children, my grandchildren and all the ones who are coming after that.

"It's all about them. It's not about anything else. It stinks. It sucks."

The traditional hikoi that makes its way from Cape Reinga to Waitangi each February made a detour through Auckland to take part in the protests. Organiser Reuben Taipari said he wanted to make sure people were safe, but said they needed to be allowed to voice their anger.

Anti-TPP protesters sprayed graffiti on a door at Parliament. Security officers have has since covered it up. Anti-TPP graffiti at Parliament, which security officials covered up with newspaper.
Photo: RNZ / Mei Heron

Protests took place in other centres, with graffiti sprayed on doors at Parliament in Wellington, followed by a turn-out of about 250 people at the Cenotaph at midday.

Labour Party MP Grant Robertson and the Green Party MP Kennedy Graham were among those who spoke to the crowd gathered under the hot sun.

At the end of the speeches, hundreds faced the Beehive and performed the Ka Mate haka.

In Christchurch more than 100 people turned out to protest outside the city's council office.

The group which organised the protest, Its Our Future Christchurch, said Christchurch City Council needed to take urgent action to protect itself from the TPP.

Protesters also marched in Gisborne.


Low-key welcome


At the signing ceremony itself, there was a low key welcome for overseas ministers, with only three people from Ngati Whatua performing the greeting.
Many within the iwi oppose the TPP deal and had already made it clear they were boycotting the powhiri.

Trade Minister Todd McClay said the signing was a momentous occasion for all countries in the trade pact.

"The 12 countries representing 800 million people, almost 40 percent of the world GDP, to come together to focus on an agreement that will provide benefits to all of our citizens is a significant achievement."

Opponents of the agreement maintain it will undermine New Zealand's sovereignty, and is more far-reaching than any previous trade deal the country has signed.

Prominent business leaders argue the deal will boost exports, growth and jobs and say it is incomprehensible people are protesting against it.

The TPP agreement to cut tariffs, improve access to markets, and set common ground on labour and environmental standards and intellectual property 
protections was finally reached in October.

After the formal signing countries have two years to ratify the agreement and pass domestic legislation to enable it.


The government found 2 or 3 to powhiri (greet) the signaturies (the expected number would be at least 50)

Here is government propagandist, the NZ Herald


TPP signing: A 'gracious' welcome, then down to business




The Trans Pacific Partnership has been officially signed at a ceremony in Auckland today.

4 February, 2015

Ministers in Auckland for the signing of the deal were formally welcomed to New Zealand at Sky City Convention Centre this morning in a brief Maori welcome.
Sir Harawira Gardiner led on the 11 visiting ministers who were called into the room by Cherie Povey.
The ministers hongi-ed a small welcome party which included Trade Minister Todd McClay, New Zealand chief negotiator David Walker and Tame Te Rangi.
After a karakia, Mr Te Rangi said he was proud and privileged to be there representing Ngati Whatua to welcome them.
Mr McClay began the meeting by thanking Ngati Whatua for their "gracious" welcome - several groups declined to take part in the welcome because they opposed the TPP.
He then welcomed the ministers for what he said was a "momentous occasions for all of our countries."
He made special mention of the three other countries that started the TPP with New Zealand: Singapore, Chile, and Brunei.
The signing ceremony began 11.30am and was attended by Prime Minister John Key.
Chairing the ministerial meeting is a big responsibility for a minister who has been in the role for less than two months and about a trade deal considered the most significant achievement in trade since the Uruguay Trade Round which led to the establishment of the World Trade Organisation in 1995.S
e

NZ - UNITED STATES MEETING


Last night McClay met the senior trade minister, United States Trade Representative Mike Froman, who led much of the TPP talks in close concert with former NZ Trade Minister Tim Groser, now ambassador to the US.
Speaking to the Herald last night after meeting Mr Froman, Mr McClay said Mr Froman was confident the TPP would be passed by the United States Congress.
Mr McClay said Mr Froman also reaffirmed that the TPP "wasn't open for re-negotiation."
Officials might also do some work on a possible TPP secretariat but the priority was to get the TPP ratified by the 12 countries because without it, it would not enter into force.
As well as a formal meeting with the United States, Mr McClay was also due to hold formal talks with ministers from Peru, Vietnam, Australia, Mexico and Chile.

TPP LEGISLATION ONE BILL


Mr McClay also confirmed that the bill containing enabling legislation for the TPP, amending various existing acts, will be presented as a single omnibus bill through all stages.
"It is my intention for it to be one piece of legislation all the way through which means different people will have different position at the committee stage but finally at third reading there will be a vote Yes or No on the legislation that is required to ratify it."
That will force Labour to vote against the bill at its final reading rather than cherry picking.
Labour leader Andrew Little has said Labour would support the part of the bill that cuts New Zealand tariffs on imports - a reciprocal move for the cutting of tariffs of other TPP parties on goods exported by New Zealand.
Now he will be forced to vote against that, having confirmed Labour's opposition last week.
Labour says the deal undermines New Zealand's sovereignty.
Labour also objects to a requirement to inform foreign Governments of legislations that impacts upon them and a right to have a say, saying it gives them too much influence.


NEXT STEPS


The national interest analysis drawn up by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will be presented to Parliament next Tuesday when the House resumes for the year.
The report will be considered by the foreign affairs and defence select committee, which will be open to public submissions, and reported back to Parliament.
Legislation enabling the TPP will be drawn up and introduced to the House. The bill will have to power to change relevant laws in the event that the TPP enters into effect.

The bill will also be considered by the foreign affairs and defence select committee and will be open to public submissions and hearings.
The committee will report back to Parliament and it may criticize parts of it but amendments will be out of the question.





Images from Wellington



There was a peaceful lunchtime gathering of several hundred at the Cenotaph in Wellington.





News of TPPA veto notice by Maori chiefs gets huge cheers at Wellington, NZ protest, 4 Feb 2016.






Veto used constitutional law of New Zealand and requires the Queen to intervene in order to protect the sovereignty enshrined in New Zealand’s founding documents. Speaker is TPP Action Group member, Greg Rzesniowiecki.

For more information, see Here.

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