As Rotorua's MP, Trade Minister Todd McClay, signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership many of his constituents were taking part in angry protests outside.

Mr McClay signed the controversial trade deal on behalf of New Zealand at a ceremony in Auckland yesterday.

"It went extremely well, it was a very big day for New Zealand, 12 countries representing eight billion people came together in agreement. It's not often you get ministers from 11 other countries come to New Zealand."

He said people would be able to have their say for or against the deal during this year in parliament and he supported those who used their right to peaceful protest yesterday.

Advertisement

Rotorua/Te Arawa TPPA Action Group chairwoman Marama Meikle was at the front of the protest during yesterday's signing along with a group from Rotorua.

"New Zealand today stood in unity, people are very passionate about wanting to be heard. We will not give up, we will beat the TPPA, today was just the beginning," she told the Rotorua Daily Post following signing.

"The protest was peaceful with multiple people looking at how to prevent this and we will keep looking."

She said she supported trade, but trade that worked 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.

"The fact that it is signed just two days before our national day of sovereignty makes it worse."

Related articles:

Fletcher Tabuteau, New Zealand First list MP based in Rotorua, said he was disappointed with the focus on the protests yesterday.

"It's been upsetting that the comments have been on protesters rather than what the government is giving up.

"Academics around the world are saying New Zealand will lose deals. Studies have shown it will mean job losses and I hope businesses realise that there is not much in it for them," Mr Tabuteau said.

Rotorua Labour spokesman Tamati Coffey said the signing of the TPP had the majority of New Zealanders baffled, including himself, because there had been no public consultation from the government.

"This means we as Kiwis have been denied the chance to have a good old-fashioned public debate on the issues it contains.

"The whole process as happened behind our backs, and for that reason we should all be concerned."

Rotorua's Craig Elliott was in the Auckland CBD yesterday, he was not protesting, but said he enjoyed watching the events unfold.

"Passion is very alive and well in New Zealand. Protesters blocked several intersections with bamboo tripods with rings of people. The protest march was mostly peaceful and full of every ethnicity trying to share their opinions."