Hastings marchers voice anger at TPP signing

By Victoria White

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DEMO: Main Hastings CBD streets were closed as peaceful protesters marched against the TPP. PHOTO/PAUL TAYLOR
DEMO: Main Hastings CBD streets were closed as peaceful protesters marched against the TPP. PHOTO/PAUL TAYLOR

Following others across the country, more than a thousand anti-TPP protesters marched through Hastings CBD yesterday.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement was signed at 11.30am yesterday in Auckland by representatives of 12 countries from across the Pacific rim, who account for 40 per cent of the global economy.

Despite this, the crowd in Hastings, which organisers said was the biggest they'd ever seen, set off just after 5pm.

Starting at Hastings War Memorial Library, a crowd of young and old marched from Hastings War Memorial Library, passing Tukituki MP Craig Foss' office and the Hastings District Council. Whakatu woman Aki Paipper said she was marching because she opposed the non-consultation of the TPP, with Maori and on all levels.

"This is our opportunity to show solidarity with our Hawke's Bay whanau," she said.

"It's amazing to see the nation stand up and speak as one. We are demonstrating to our leaders that it's the people they represent... we are being treated like a commodity."

Stopping outside the council a group of young men were led in a haka, before they continued along Lyndon Rd East and returned to Civic Square.

Carrying a home-made sign, Te Wheturere Ferris had been marching with friends.

The 16-year-old said: "I'm passionate about my country, and my whanau. When that gets signed its going to make that stand for nothing.

"I'm trying to set an example for other teenagers to get out there and have their say before it's too late."

At Civic Square a family-friendly rally continued with protest chants, while a mass petition was signed.

After a mass "flash-mob" haka around the Civic Square the crowd began to disperse.

Paula Savae Teiwimate, from Pakipaki, said she marched because she did not think the TPP benefited New Zealanders at all.

"There is the glimmer of hope that they can't do things straight away, they have to wait."

Although the agreement has been signed, member countries have two years to pass legislation and ratify the deal.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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