Large protests in lead-up to TPP signing
With five days left before the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal is signed, protesters aren't giving up.
Demonstrators gathered on the steps of Parliament in Wellington today in a final effort to stop the controversial trade deal from going ahead.
The petition is aimed at Governor General Jerry Mateparae, requesting him to command the Government to put the question of the TPP to a binding referendum before signing.
"We are asking him to refuse to assent to any enabling legislation unless the people vote in favour. No one can force the Governonr General to sing legislation. If he doesn't sign it doesn't become law," says Amanda Vickers of TPPA Free Wellington.
People gathered near Te Papa Museum at 11:30am before proceeding with Hikoi to the Government House.
Petitioners then marched to Parliament buildings for the Great New Zealand Sale Parliament Lawns.
Several hundred Cantabrians also turned out in Christchurch's Cathedral Square to raise their opposition.
Christchurch (Thomas Mead / 3 News)
One Christchurch local Andrew Scott is worried that Pharmac will have big impact on cost of medicines, and that the agreement will infringe on democracy.
"There's a lot of provisions in the TPPA agreement which inhibit New Zealanders to make decisions for themselves, and so in the future there's a big risk that a lot of things people might want to do when they vote in a democracy won't be able to do," he says.
He says they are protesting today to try and "influence public opinion" and help people understand the agreement.
"The disadvantages far out-weight the advantages," he says.
Spokesperson for It's Our Future Christchurch Genevieve de Spa says the agreement can have a "chilling effect on laws that we make in the future".
"We are gathering prior to the signing of the TPP on Thursday to show our concern and our unhappiness with the Government not listening to our concerns and giving the people of Christchurch an opportunity to express that," she says.
"We are really concerned about the rights being given to corporations and being taken away from normal New Zealanders so we've had a funeral today for democracy.
"We want New Zealand to pull out and not sign and hopefully the whole thing is going to fall down anyway," she says.
The only sign of protest in Auckland this weekend was graffiti on MP Nikki Kaye's office building in Freeman's Bay. While it was painted over first thing this morning, it is a preview of the protests planned for this week.
The deal will be signed in Auckland on Thursday, and is expected to face plenty of opposition. A large protest has been planned for Aotea Square, which organisers say will be peaceful.