The AlterNative, say No…..
This past Saturday 7th March dawned warm, rain threatening, yet the skies held mostly-. While Tauranga Moana is known as the resting place of many waka, this place and her peoples were to face the power of multinational corporations proposing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) this Saturday. The agreed meeting place for those in the community whom were able to attend was on the land gifted by local hapu for religious and education purposes, just outside the Tauranga Primary School. By 10am respectfully and colourfully our people gathered. Individuals, families, wider whanau groups, children, grandmothers and fathers; all whom had not to have lost their care for their world. People travelled from Tokoroa to join in.
Banners furled, poi swung, conversation developed as the group made steady progress through the city streets towards the Edgewater reserve-‘No to TPPA’ was one of the calls; this foresight seemed echoed in the gulls cry over head. Each footstep and chant was progress. At times the effect drew this group of peoples as one with all others across time whom have stood up for injustice and said No.
Many marching walked with pride; the sort fuelled by passion and respect. Here were people whom chose to take action to enact their humanity- not having this defined for them on TPPA’s terms. At the Edgewater reserve, karakia opened the forum space. Here were featured a series of speakers. These speakers addressed impacts ranging from the environmental, sovereignty, socially, spiritually, indigenous, family/whanau and employment.
One key reflection both before the march and afterwards, is the State negotiation in secret the TPPA agreement which impacts all our lives. Mothers spoke of their concern for the effect on children. That the State negotiates secretly is not consistent with democracy or enabling of the absolute integrity of Te Tiriti (1840) in this country, nor consistent with democratic process hard won by the working classes here. We have fought for justice yet the TPPA agreement locks our own and following generations into terms which in effect could colonise (d) our employment laws. That workers will have minimum choices on wages and work hours. The effect would appear to extend to medical care where any contracted product will be supplied rather than the best pharmaceuticals for the specific persons illness. These terms suggest a new bondage on widespread and inhumane terms.
The community organiser Mr Marty Stewart said there was little faith the TPPA was going to be beneficial to New Zealand because it had been shrouded in secrecy except for some details believed to have been leaked.
“If it’s going to be harmless, then tell us. If it’s not going to be harmless, tell us,” Mr Stewart said.
“If the leaks (from Wikipedia) are as factual as they are perceived to be, then we need to know.”
Mr Stewart said the TPPA would hand over exceptional power to large corporations such as Chevron, which could become “judge and jury” if New Zealand ever wanted to hold them to account for something such as an oil spill. And this community particularly understands the immediate and ongoing consequent of this evident in the occurrence and recovery following the Rena Disaster.
The Green party co leader speech was particularly affirmed as knowable and eloquent by those attending.
, “When the hard earned assets of the working class are sold to the highest bidder, when the poor are blamed for their poverty, when justice can be bought and sold…. then resistance becomes duty…”.
Increasingly our region has been reported for its poverty, socially and economically. Known as the $10 town-over half an average wage is required for paying rent alone. Food banks are increasingly supporting families and individuals here. The combination of low wages and growing poverty is felt by many while wealth moves to fewer and fewer people.
TPPA while under the rhetoric of free trade discussions conceals its mis-use of power over the basis in human life. Saturday’s march suggest that fellow humans of Tauranga Moana and regions will continue to speak back for justice-
If you would like further information and to be involved in action-
By. Merrill Simmons-Hansen MANZASW
–Material collated from participants reflections, and TPPA community.