MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement
Headline: The TPPA Hikoi
On Thursday we welcomed Rachel Thomas and her children, Tema, Pita and Jai, along with a large group of supporters from Christchurch, to Parliament as part of their hikoi ‘It’s Our Children’s Future. I had the pleasure of hosting the hikoi on the steps of Parliament and was joined by my two colleagues, Catherine Delahunty and Marama Davidson, and several MPs from other parties.
Rachel and her group came to Wellington all the way from Christchurch in order to protest against the ratification of the TPPA by the current government. Her group rightly believes that putting the TPPA into effect would undermine our democracy and represent a risk to our children’s future.
Those who have read my previous blog on the TPPA to should be familiar with the reasons why the Green Party opposes this bill: simply put, the TPPA is an attack on New Zealand’s sovereignty. It is a flawed agreement which allows private corporations to sue governments in the name of ‘free trade’.
Unfortunately Rachel and her group were prevented from attending both Question Time and the debate on the second reading of the TPPA bill that day by Parliamentary Security. Had they been allowed to exercise their democratic rights, they would have witnessed an important discussion in which the Green Party attempted, once again, to highlight the negative consequences that the ratification of this agreement would likely bring to our country.
During Question Time yesterday I asked the Minister of Trade a question about why the current government is still insisting on advancing an agreement which has already been rejected by Canada, Australia, and Vietnam. The answer couldn’t have been more misleading; according to Hon Chris Finlayson, Acting Minister of Trade, the “ratification is actually in New Zealand’s best interests”.
Question Time was followed by the 2nd reading of the TPPA Amendment Bill that changes our laws to bring them in line with the TPPA treaty. Despite speeches against the Bill from the Greens, Labour, NZ First and Maori Party the government was able to pass the TPPA by one vote, with the support of ACT and United Future.
The government will push the TPPA through the final two stages over the next week or two. They want to have the TPPA ratified in order to support a potential United States ratification during the ‘lame duck’ period later in November, after the election and before the new President takes office.
The good news is that the TPPA won’t come into force before the next election. We will have a chance to withdraw New Zealand’s ratification if we change the Government. The Green Party will be pushing hard to make this happen.