What an amazing protest!
Thanks to all who supported the protests, in Auckland and across the country, on 4th February 2016. More than 15,000 people (some estimates put it as high as 30,000) marched down Queen St in one of the biggest protests in a decade. During the day, activists undertook rolling blockades of traffic across the city centre around the Sky City casino where the TPPA was signed. It has shaken the government and they are on the back foot. Despite the barrage of media spin in favour of the TPPA (especially in the Herald) we are winning the battle for public opinion.
What happens next?
In terms of the official process, the National Interest Analysis (a biased sell job, prepared by MFAT) has been tabled in Parliament. It’s Our Future responded calling for evidence not spin.
MFAT is holding TPP Roadshows
MFAT says: “The roadshows will present the outcomes of the TPP negotiations. Members of the public are welcome. The roadshows will also help businesses prepare to take advantage of new opportunities presented by TPP's entry into force. The morning session of each roadshow will provide an overview of TPP, and afternoon workshop sessions will have a more technical focus.
· Auckland, 7 March, Rendezvous Hotel, corner Mayoral Drive and Vincent St, Auckland Central
· Christchurch, 11 March, Rydges Hotel, 30 Latimer Square, Christchurch City
· Dunedin, 14 March, The Dunedin Centre, 1 Harrop Street, Dunedin
· Wellington, 18 March, Westpac Stadium, 105 Waterloo Quay, Pipitea, Wellington
Registrations close on 1 March 2016. More roadshows will be held in other regional centres in the coming months. Locations are likely to include Hamilton, Napier, New Plymouth, Nelson, Palmerston North, Tauranga, and Whangarei. Updates will be published on this website, or you can contact email@example.com if you would like to register to be updated.”
It’s Our Future will provide fact sheets and questions for those who want to attend the meetings.
Waitangi Tribunal TPPA Urgency Hearings
The hearings will be held on 14-18 March in Wellington. Register here.
Select Committee hearings
The Foreign Affairs Trade and Defence Committee of Parliament is expected to hold hearings on the TPPA in the March-April timeframe (we don’t yet know the timetable or locations for the hearings, but hopefully there will be a number of them across NZ). We are planning actions around those hearings:
· Hold meetings in each city before the Select Committee hearings to give everyone the latest update on research and analysis
· Debates and events are being organised in several cities
· There may be protests linked to the hearings in some cities
· ActionStation will be organising standard on-line submissions
After the Select Committee report and the government response, a combined bill covering eight pieces of legislation will be introduced to Parliament. This will need to be voted on by Parliament, but at present it looks as if the government has a majority (even without the threat of Labour MP Phil Goff voting for it). We will look at the potential for holding some big rallies around the Parliamentary vote.
General Election in 2017
The TPPA will not come into force before 2018. This means there will be a general election in New Zealand before it is actually implemented. We need opposition parties to stand firm in rejecting the TPPA, and, if we are not able to stop it, to commit to withdrawing from it in future. We will run a campaign to let political parties know that voters want a clear NO to the TPPA!
Even if the TPPA goes through the ratification process in New Zealand, it won’t come into force until it is ratified by countries making up 85% of the combined GDP of TPPA countries. There is opposition from almost all leading candidates for the US Presidency and the TPPA is looking shaky in Congress. The new Trudeau government in Canada has undertaken to consult properly on the TPPA and warned that they may not ratify. It is possible that the TPPA will be significantly delayed, or even never implemented.
For more details on the TPPA process, see the research paper authored by Jane Kelsey.
Take Action against the TPPA
In addition to the above actions, there are a number of campaign actions that you can take. A summary of those is on the It’s Our Future Take Action page:
· Sign the petition to the Governor-General. Following the handover of initial signatures on a petition to the Governor-General, calling for him to withhold his assent for ratification of the TPPA, the petition has been re-launched. Please download the petition here and build pressure for him to act.
· Sign the petition calling on the government not to ratify the TPPA. We only launched the petition a few weeks ago and it’s now up to 53,000. Please Sign Now!
· Declare your space a TPPA Free Zone. You can declare your home, neighbourhood, community centre, school, workplace, bike or car as a TPPA Free Zone. Download signs and materials and join Facebook for ideas for action. TPPA Free Zone stickers (13cm X 10cm) are available at $35 per 100. Tony Hartnett (firstname.lastname@example.org) has offered to collect up orders to send to the printer.
· Congratulations to Waiheke Local Board for becoming a TPPA Free Zone. Get involved with your Council or Local Board to declare a TPPA Free Zone. Motueka protester Greg Rzesniowiecki has been doing an amazing job in supporting Council actions, on his two year anti-TPPA roadtrip. Greg will write to all Councils in the next few days inviting them to declare their territory or region a TPPA Free Zone. There will be a new kit developed to assist activists, using the resources developed in the lobby on Waiheke, Upper Hutt and Christchurch Councils. Contact him at email@example.com to discuss Council resolutions.
· Target the media. The mainstream media have got away with biased reporting that has under-stated the numbers on our protests, ignored our message and disrespected protesters. Meanwhile there has been a constant barrage of government PR spin echoed by journalists. We need to build our movement on social media and through our own networks, but we also need to respond to the media with articles, letters and, where necessary, complaints.
Protest events around New Zealand
This is a partial list. Events have also taken place in many other centres including Nelson, Blenheim, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Rotorua, Tauranga, Hastings, Whangarei and the hikoi, cars against the TPPA and many others. Please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org you have news and footage of events against the TPPA in your community. Information will be updated on www.itsourfuture.org.nz.
There was a lunchtime protest outside MP Michael Woodhouse's office, which is on a prominent intersection. Lots of tooting in support! Workers stand to lose.
Catchy youtube video on the Christchurch Council action. The action resulted in the Council agreeing to hold a workshop on a TPPA Free Zone. And Christchurch’s Josie Butler grabbed headlines in New Zealand and internationally with her well-aimed dildo thrown at Steven Joyce! In her words.
The rally for democracy and sovereignty at the Governor General Gates on 30th January delivered 4300 signatures to the Governor General's Official Secretary, Gregory Baughen in a solemn ceremony. There was an earlier hikoi from Waitangi Park to the Governor's gates.
News reports on the fantastic Te Papa banner drop: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/extremely-disrespectful-tpp-protesters-target-anzac-exhibition.html
A ‘not-a-rent-a-crowd’ protest of around 600 gathered at Wellington’s cenotaph beside Parliament for a rally and speeches, joining the calls against TPPA signing.
Hundreds (about 20% of the population) jumped from Raglan footbridge in a chain bomb, or watched, and when many signed the petition to the Governor-General.
The march organised by It's Our Future was HUGE! It was led by kapa haka groups, followed by elders and leaders from trade unions, NGOs and political parties, with a colourful array of placards and banners. The march was load, passionate and a strong signal to the government that a majority of Kiwis are against the TPPA. Check out the analysis of on-line TPPA protest activity.
Earlier on, protesters organised by Real Choice surrounded Sky City where the TPPA was signed, with chanting and drums. There was a rolling blockade of intersections around Sky City and onto the motorway, joined in the afternoon by the Hikoi against the TPPA.
Images from these events are posted at TPPA Images. Please add your photos and videos to the page. For more photos of the event, check out these great albums:
· TPPA Free Zone photos by Dominic Hartnett
· TPPA Protest photos by Kina Sai
· TPPA Blockade photos by Pati Solomona Tyrell.
· Anti TPPA Blockade photos by Baz Mantis Photography
· Blockade the TPPA Signing! photos by Emily from Accompany Collective.
With the exception of John Campbell’s interviews and possibly TVNZ's reporting , the mainstream media coverage was insulting and patronising, trawling through hours of footage to give the impression the protesters were ill-informed.
As the Trade Ministers arrived on the preceding day, they were met with banners and an LCD screen as an ‘Unwelcome Committee’, with a Don’t Sign the TPPA message. ActionStation (New Zealand), Leadnow.ca (Canada) and SumofUs covertly projected visual protest images near the Auckland Sky Tower. The Artists Collective put on a music event, the protestival in the weekend before the signing.
Strong opposition convinced the Prime Minister not to attend Waitangi Day events, but other political parties took the opportunity to send a strong anti-TPPA message.
Our New Zealand protests were part of a global protest with events taking place across most of the 12 TPPA countries (eg. Chile takes to the streets), and 250,000 people in Germany against the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Research and Fact Sheets
Five research papers have now been published on the TPP Legal website, on Parliamentary process, Investment, te Tiriti, Environment, and the Economics of the TPPA. Others on Internet/IP and Local Government will follow soon.
A simple flyer with a summary of the key facts on a double side A4 is here. Copy it and share it far and wide. ActionStation has launched a new series of Fact Sheets on different aspects of the TPPA.
Funding the campaign
We launched a Give a Little page to fund the speaker tour and ongoing campaigning. Please donate generously.
Thanks for your amazing campaigning. The past few weeks have changed politics in our country. Now it’s time for us to ramp up the pressure! Kia kaha!
It’s Our Future spokesperson