The 120 people who were at Wanganui's rally against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement were assured by Whanganui MP Chester Borrows that due parliamentary process would be followed.

Rally organiser Raewyn Roberts said Mr Borrows told the rally at Majestic Square the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) would be put before the members of Parliament before signing.

However, Ms Roberts was sceptical.

"There is no way a government who ignored New Zealanders who did not want assets sold - that were already owned and paid for by our grandparents - will allow the TPPA that has been in negotiation for four years to be hijacked by we, the people, by putting it before Parliament for submissions," she said.


Mr Borrows told the Chronicle yesterday he felt the rally was set up to invite the opposition parties, and he was invited only a few days before.

However, the rally gave him a good hearing, he said.

"My perception is that there are three issues: confidentiality in forming the proposal; US involvement, and the process - what happens next?"

Mr Borrows said all free trade agreements were negotiated in terms that remained confidential before they were signed.

He acknowledged some people are worried about losing sovereignty because of the US involvement.

"People are cynical and sceptical, born out of the nuclear-free policies, and it is their human right.

"It is totally valid for New Zealanders to protest and be cynical about what any agreement will do."

Mr Borrows said a sub-committee of Cabinet negotiating the agreement with the 10 Asia-Pacific Rim countries would report back to Parliament and its shareholders, the public.

However, Mr Borrows said he believed those who were at the rallies throughout the country did not represent the voice of New Zealanders.

When asked about how Fair Trade might be affected, Mr Borrows said markets could open up for them, or they could be swamped.

Sustainability consultant Nelson Lebo, one of the speakers at the rally, said New Zealand faced many challenges, but the immediate one was the TPPA was being negotiated in secret at the behest of transnational corporations whose one and only mandate was to return maximum profits to shareholders.

Wanganui District Council deputy-mayor Hamish McDouall, Tanea Tangaroa, Jay Kuten and Peter Russell also spoke at the rally.