Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Clowns kicked out of Trans Pacific Partnership roadshow

Four people dressed as clowns have been kicked out of the first stop of the Government's Trans-Pacific Partnership information roadshow in Auckland.

The quartet were honking horns, blowing balloons and laughing, Newstalk ZB reported.

Master of Ceremonies Sean Plunket asked those also present at the roadshow to vote on whether they should be allowed to stay, before they were escorted out by police.

The 12-country agreement is designed to free up trade and investment between the countries, but has been a beacon for controversy for several years, mainly due to the secrecy of the deal, lack of public consultation and fears New Zealand's sovereignty could be diminished. Widespread protests occurred when it was signed in Auckland a month ago, and traffic in the city was brought to a halt by protesters who blocked roads and motorway on and off-ramps.

The deal won't come into effect until all the countries have gone through the process of passing it into law, which could take two years.

A spokesman for the anti-Trans Pacific Partnership group, It's Our Future, said this morning the agreement was not a done deal.

The United States and other countries, including Canada, were also asking tough questions about the TPP, Barry Coates said.

Protesters gather outside the Rendezvous Hotel in Auckland before a TPP roadshow. Photo / Michael Craig
Protesters gather outside the Rendezvous Hotel in Auckland before a TPP roadshow. Photo / Michael Craig

The road show is taking place in Auckland today, before moving on to Christchurch on Friday and Dunedin and Wellington next week.Trade Minister Todd McClay said everyone was welcome - including those strongly opposed to the trade deal. All questions would be answered.

But protest and placards should be left outside, so an open and frank conversation could take place, Mr McClay said.

He denied the roadshows were an attempt at political spin - they were held for every new trade deal, including one with China.

Labour Party leader Andrew Little said he doubted the road show would change Kiwis' minds.

The public was told nothing for the seven years while it was negotiated, then the entire document was dumped into the public domain and signed, Mr Little said.

Greens co-leader James Shaw said there was a lot of confusion on important subjects related to the deal, and that needed to be cleaned up.

That included talk of increasing Pharmac's funding to deal with higher medicine costs, but there had been no detail about how much the funding will increase by, or where the money will come from.

- NZ Herald

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