TPP signing: Deal and division at SkyCity

TPP signing: Deal and division at SkyCity

Trade ministers from around the world and protesters from around New Zealand are about to come face-to-face in Auckland tomorrow.

They'll all be converging at the SkyCity Convention Centre for the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

A hikoi is coming down from the North, taking over downtown Whangarei -- destination  Auckland.

Trade ministers of 12 countries are also coming together with a single aim -- opening up trade under the TPP.

Protesters will also come together with a single aim -- a blockade to disrupt the signing of the TPP.

"We have no intentions of getting arrested, but things can change very quickly," says organiser Julia Espinosa.

The protesters are planning "a blockade of the Sky City convention complex", which includes "physically blockading", with a "high risk of arrest".

They were training at the weekend, but claim the police are more likely to cause trouble.

"The only expectation of people that might conduct any violence is them," says Ms Espinosa. "They've said that they have got riot training."

Trade Minister Todd McClay has advice for the protesters.

"I would ask them to be respectful to our international visitors and to stay within the law," says Mr McClay.

"We don't plan to be disrespectful in any way, but we are completely within our rights to protest," says Ms Espinosa.

The TPP involves 12 countries, including Japan and the US. New Zealand sells $28 billion to these countries now, and the Government says the deal will be worth $2.7 billion to New Zealand by 2030.

"When was the last time 40 percent of the world's economy came to Auckland and focused on an agreement that gives us access to 800 million consumers?" says Mr McClay. "It's a really, really big deal."

It's a deal hated by opponents, who call it an assault on sovereignty.

"This agreement is representing 800 million people over the 12 countries, and that's on our shoulders as well," says Ms Espinosa.

It will be a deal and division at SkyCity tomorrow.

Newshub.

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