Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Protesters prepare for battle as TPP enters next stage

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OPPOSITION: Members of the Tauranga TPP Action Network marching down Queen St, Auckland, to protest the signing of the TPPA. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
OPPOSITION: Members of the Tauranga TPP Action Network marching down Queen St, Auckland, to protest the signing of the TPPA. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Parliamentary debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is set to begin on Tuesday, as local protesters gear up to decide their game plan to fight the deal being ratified.

Trade Minister Todd McLay, who signed the TPP on behalf of New Zealand, will table the national interest analysis in Parliament on Tuesday.

Mel Caldwell, co-organiser of the Tauranga TPPA Action Network protest action in Auckland on Thursday, said despite the agreement having been signed the fight was far from over.

Read more: Local convoy wades into TPP protest

Ms Caldwell said along with 20 people who were part of the Tauranga TPPA Action Network protest convoy, there was a big contingent of other Tauranga people at the Auckland march.

There were at least 50 to 60 people from Tauranga, some of whom were now making their way to Waitangi.

"I wouldn't have missed it for the world and there were huge numbers of people protesting in Auckland and all around the country. Some estimates put the numbers at 30,000 to 40,000."

Ms Caldwell slammed Prime Minister John Key's comment that some of the protesters were "rent-a-protest".

"I take exception to that. No one paid us to do this. We doing this for our country, for our families, our children and for future generations. People from all walks of life are opposed to this deal."

Read more: Key's fern flag pin at TPP signing insensitive

Ms Caldwell said some people might have joined the protest movement at the eleventh hour. "But the main thing is more and more people have become aware of what this deal means. We are all absolutely rapt by the numbers who turned up to protest this shonky deal.

"Some people say they were amazed how big the numbers of protesters were but it shows how important this issue is to people up and down this country."

Ms Caldwell said the groundswell of opposition was growing daily.

The Tauranga TPPA Action Network members would regroup to discuss what their next step was in terms of future protest action, she said.

Posts on the Bay of Plenty Times Facebook page yesterday were mixed.

Jo Amrein-Palairet wrote: "Sad day for NZ". Marian Caetano's post read: "Goodbye democracy, Goodbye freedom, We are now enslaved to TPP 'forever' ..."

Stephen Leak's post read: "Excellent news a great step forward for a country like ours that is so trade dependent!!! Well done all involved."

Aaron Carr said he thought the TPP was the "Best thing that could happen for NZ's economy. !! Well done to the smart thinkers of the world."

The TPP had two years to be ratified but it would not come into force unless the United States and Japan ratify it, with the 12 signature countries needing to complete their domestic legislative procedures.

NZ Trade Minister Todd McLay said the Government would now submit the final text of the TPP and the National Interest Analysis to Parliament.

The legislative changes to implement the TPP would go through normal policy and parliamentary procedures, he said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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