New Zealand witnessed nationwide protests on March 7, against the proposed Trans Pacific Pact--the U.S.-led trade deal covering 12 countries in the Pacific region. Protesters held demonstrations, waved banners and placards while speakers addressed gatherings, giving their version of the trade deal.
In Auckland, crowds marched down Queen Street, led by a giant wooden horse, to the office of the United States Consulate General. Barry Coates, the master of ceremonies, said the deal would crush citizens' rights. He said TPP will be run by an international tribunal that will be over and above New Zealand's court system and dictate on a number of important economic issues. He also flayed the excessive secrecy behind the trade pact and said, if implemented, it would erode the sovereignty of New Zealand and harm all low-income groups, reported Radio Nz.
Maori Party politician Marama Fox also marched in protest against the TPP in Christchurch. The leader wanted the Government to make the discussion of the deal public and called for greater scrutiny of the Government on the nature of the deal. In Wellington too, hundreds of people took to streets and marched from Midland Park to Parliament. Similar rallies held in November 2014 had attracted 10,000 protesters.
Gov’t Sees Benefit
However, the New Zealand Government and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs are very vocal in supporting the deal and have claimed that the deal would deepen economic ties and open up trade, boost investment and promote closer economic and expand regulatory co-operation.
NZ Herald report said protests were held in 20 towns against the proposed TPP. Critics of TPP allege that the treaty covering 12 countries including the USA, Japan, Singapore and Australia is a "corporate power grab." The Green Party alleged that Kiwis were being sold a dud under TPP and there was too much of secrecy. "Information about the agreement has been made public only through leaks, despite repeated calls by New Zealanders to make the details public," said Green Party trade spokesman James Shaw.
Shaw said, if the Government is so confident that this deal is beneficial to New Zealand, then they should release the full cost-benefit analysis. Calling it a Bill of Rights for multi- national corporations, Shaw said TPP would put the interests of major corporations ahead of New Zealanders' health, environmental and democratic rights.
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