'Pro democracy' rally protests TPPA secrecy

Dunedin City councillor Aaron Hawkins addresses people at a public protest over the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, held in the Octagon on Saturday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Dunedin City councillor Aaron Hawkins addresses people at a public protest over the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, held in the Octagon on Saturday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Protesters in Dunedin have joined thousands around the country voicing their displeasure over the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

The Dunedin event was one of 15 nationwide events to protest the TPPA, which is being negotiated behind closed doors between 12 countries, including New Zealand.

About 150 people - some holding holding placards or waving political party banners - gathered at the Octagon under the statue of Robbie Burns, on Saturday, to listen to speakers.

The biggest cheer was reserved for Dunedin City councillor and Green Party representative Aaron Hawkins, who called on the Government to release information about the TPPA.

''If the Government has nothing to hide, it shouldn't have anything to fear.''

Leaked documents from the negotiations raised concerns of the power foreign firms could wield in New Zealand, with the bulk-purchasing power of Pharmac just one example under threat, he said.

''This rally, and the movement around it, is not anti-trade, it is pro-democracy, it is gathering momentum, and the TPPA champions are scared,'' he said.

Mr Hawkins said lead negotiator David Walker would be visiting Dunedin in the coming weeks to talk to local business leaders as part of a ''charm offensive national tour''.

-hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

We will get a look in.

I prefer to leave judgement of the agreement until it's made public! There is a period where after the draft agreement is finished all the countries take it back for approval. Tim Groser has been consistent with his message so far, unlike the people protesting the alleged content of a document they are simultaneously protesting the secrecy of...

Yes I was...

...and what was said made no sense.

Protesting against something that's so secret no one knows what's in it, except for all the bad stuff...that funnily enough got leaked.

Were you there?

Were you there NZpudding? 

Bad maths...again!

Absolutely nowhere near 150 people there. Why does ODT insist on at least doubling the numbers that turn up for these protests?