Protests over TPP

Today the TPP – the Trans-Pacific Partnership – was signed in Auckland at Sky City by representatives of the 12 countries involved. The countries are as follows: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, USA, Vietnam. Protesters who are opposed to the TPP, blocked Auckland city streets by sitting or lying down in the middle of intersections. It was a peaceful protest, however.

Many people are angry about this trade deal, partly because it was negotiated in secret. It is also unclear whether New Zealand will lose its sovereignty in some cases. Our sovereignty means we can make our own laws and no other country can change these. Protesters believe that the TPP will allow foreigners to buy our land and we will not be able to stop them. Many Maori feel that they could lose the special rights given to Maori under the Treaty of Waitangi settlement. Maori were not consulted during the secret negotiations. The government, however, believes that we will sell our exports more easily because these other 11 countries will not add tax to our exports. Unfortunately, Canada and the US will still add tax to our dairy exports. They need to protect their own dairy farmers.

Although the TPP Agreement was signed today, it still has to be passed by Parliament. That will probably happen in the next few weeks.

Saturday is Waitangi Day. The Prime Minister and other Ministers usually attend Waitangi but today the Prime Minister changed his mind and said he would not attend. There are two reasons. One is security worries if many protesters attend. The other reason is that the Maori who invited him, would not allow him to speak about the TPP.

To find out more about Waitangi Day, type “Waitangi” in the search box.

Vocabulary

• oppose – disagree with it
• negotiate – discuss until everyone agrees
• sovereignty – a country’s independence to make its own laws
• consult – give information and ask their opinion






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