Not So Anonymous
The autumn colours have returned to Invercargill and Wachner Place looked rather pretty with the colour changing leaves just barely hanging on to the trees. Although the rain threatened to put a dampener on things, it certainly did little to deter the spirit of those gathered ready to listen to the speakers that were lined up to share their opinion and knowledge on the reason behind this gathering. March 29th, 2014 was a National Day of Action against TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) and it’s possible fall out that could affect the every day Kiwi. The TPPA (or TPP) involves 11 countries including New Zealand and is labelled a “trade agreement” that “seeks” to “manage trade, promote growth and regionally integrate the economies of the Asia-Pacific Region” (according to Wikipedia), sounds good on paper but what is not made public and is the very reason for this slowly gaining in momentum public outcry is what the speakers all mentioned in their speeches. Leslie Soper from the Labour Party, Ria Bond from NZ First and Dave Kennedy from Green Party of Aotearoa along with rally organizer, Matthew Bowes, were all well received and Invercargill was lucky to have them all share their passion and concerns.
Some of the issues raised if the TPPA goes ahead include;
– most restrictions on foreign investment, most will be frozen.
– large overseas companies will have the ability to sue the NZ Government for millions in damages in secretive offshore tribunals, by claiming that new laws and regulations have seriously undermined the value of their investments (for example, a ban on fracking, smoking control laws, or a cap on electricity prices).
– Medicines will become more expensive as big pharmaceutical companies gain more influence over PHARMAC, and restrictions are placed on generic medicines.
– restricting internet freedom and access to information.
– Parallel importing will be banned, meaning New Zealanders will have to pay far more for all sorts of ordinary products (such as found at The Warehouse and other major discount stores).
– food ingredient labels will be lessened or removed altogether, making it virtually impossible to know exactly what you are putting in your mouth or on your families dinner table. Especially troublesome is the fact that Genetically Modified ‘food’ items will NOT have to be clearly identified on packaging in supermarkets.
– the right of every New Zealander to protect our pristine natural environment will also be removed as the Government will make many national decisions behind closed doors without public input (so there goes your say into matters that you care about most).
Off course these are just a few examples of what is at stake and although these concerns have not been very widely discussed in the main stream media, the links below will give you information on how this could possibly affect you, your family and your country.
www.itsnotright.org.nz (the petition is closed but there is good information on here)
www.localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz(tppa) Dave Kennedy’s article
And don’t forget as usual there are many more photos on our pinterest page.
[Thanks to Rally Organizer Matthew Bowes for compiling the information hand-out that was made available, it was from this that I learned about what could be stake and have mentioned above.]