Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Locals hitting the road to protest TPP

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Te Arawa kaumatua Fred Whata and anti-TPP action group chairwoman Marama Meikle will be joining other Rotorua residents in Auckland to protest the signing of the TPP trade deal. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
Te Arawa kaumatua Fred Whata and anti-TPP action group chairwoman Marama Meikle will be joining other Rotorua residents in Auckland to protest the signing of the TPP trade deal. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

Te Arawa kaumatua Fred Whata may be in his eighth decade but that's not stopping him venting his frustration over the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership.

Mr Whata, along with up to 100 Rotorua residents, will join what could be thousands of New Zealanders protesting the signing of the trade deal in Auckland on Thursday next week.

He said all Maori in New Zealand should work together against the deal he believes threatens the sovereignty, of not just Maori, but all New Zealanders.

"We still don't know what benefit is in the TPP for Maori, or if our rights under the treaty [of Waitangi] will be respected. We think there are too many fish hooks.

"If anyone is going to put a stop to this, it's Maori, working together, united," he said.

Rotorua/Te Arawa TPPA Action Group chairwoman Marama Meikle said she was organising a convoy to head to Auckland , that included Mr Whata and Maori Battalion B Company veteran Robert Gillies, the last living B Company veteran, who is in his 90s.

She said the "peaceful, non-violent" protest march would start in Aotea Square at midday.

"We support trade, but trade that works in the best interests of all and not that of a select few. "This so called trade deal is about usurping people's sovereignty and making them subservient to the wants and desires of the multi-national corporations behind this deal, which is led by the United States."

She said she was worried the deal could allow overseas companies to override New Zealand law to serve their own best interests and leave future generations at the mercy of outside influences.

Rotorua Labour Party spokesman Tamati Coffey said he also had grave concerns about the deal and members of the party would be heading to Auckland to join the protest, "knowing that it'll give global big business unprecedented bullying powers within our country"

- Rotorua Daily Post

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