Large public mobilisation against controversial trade deal signing in New Zealand
Trade Ministers from TPPA countries gathered at SkyCity Casino, Auckland to sign the controversial trade agreement . While the deal is initialled and officially “deposited” with the New Zealand government, the advocates of the deal are not claiming victory.
While trade ministers and officials gathered in their air conditioned conference centre, more than 20,000 New Zealanders hit scorching streets across the country to demonstrate against the deal. In Auckland, approximately 15,000 demonstrators blocked roads, protested outside SkyCity and marched down Queen Street, the primary commercial strip in Auckland.
The Auckland demonstrators were joined by approximately 1000 “hikoi” activists from the north of the country, school students from several kura kaupapa (Indigenous language schools) also joined the march. Meanwhile, protestors from civil society groups blockaded major roads into the city in an effort to “send a message” to the government. The news was widely covered by the media.
Auckland bus drivers, who are members of FIRST Union and the Tramways Union, also played their part: drivers were on strike today for better conditions meaning no buses were servicing the central city area that was part of the blockade and march.
But this is not the end of actions and organising against the TPPA. It still seems like the deal might fail in the US Congress and other governments (like in Canada) are wavering.
It’s now up to activists, trade unions and citizens to ensure that their own governments do not implement domestic reforms in order to meet the TPPA requirements. This organising is already taking place in New Zealand after the government revealed that up to ten law changes are needed.