They marched against the TPPA and the threat to our sovereignty (part rua)



Continued from: They marched against the TPPA and the threat to our sovereignty (part tahi)





The New Zealand government is negotiating an international agreement that could have a huge effect on the lives of ordinary kiwis. It’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), and it involves eleven Asian and Pacific-rim countries, including the United States. If it goes ahead, we risk damage to our innovative economy, our pristine environment, our health, and the ability to shape our own future.

Because the negotiations are being conducted in secret, what we know about the TPPA comes from leaked documents and detective work. We live in a democracy, which means we have the right to know what is done in our name and to have a say. “ –  It’s Our Future – Kiwis concerned about the TPPA

Wellington, NZ, 29 March 2014 – Over three hundred people in Wellington took to the streets on a fine Saturday afternoon, to protest at secret TPPA negotiations and the threats to our national sovereignty.


TDB Recommends

anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (94).

The marchers took off…


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (166).

Some symbolism here?


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (164).

An eagle-eyed reader will notice… no police presence!


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (167).

At first, marchers  stuck to the footpaths to keep out of the way of traffic. But as on-lookers joined in, numbers swelled, and they took to the road;


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (168).

Along the “Golden Mile” – Lambton Quay – the march of citizens made an impressive sight;


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (105).

As the marchers reached the Cenotaph, a lone police vehicle appeared, to control traffic;


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (106).

The protestors moved past the Cenotaph, toward Parliament’s gates;


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (169).

In Parliament’s grounds, protestors made their way up the driveway;


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (170) - Copy.

Standing before the People’s Parliament – behind steel barricades and a contingent of private security guards (off camera) –  Claire Bleakley, from the  GE Free Network.  Steel barriers. (Steel barriers. Obviously, National are terrified that 300+ anti-TPPA protesters might storm Parliament and seize control of the entire country.)

Claire gave a short, but ‘punchy’ speech on the link between the TPPA and genetically modified organisms entering our country through unfettered “trade”;


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (125).

“…One of the biggest things that’s happening America is the advent of genetically modified crops. Which are coming into our country. With the TPPA we will will be trading away our right to know what we are eating…

… We have to protect our seeds. We have to protect our sovereignty. And we have to protect our food.”

Meanwhile, in a sign of some irony, anti-TPPA protesters  stood beneath the fluttering flags of other nations – several of which are participants in TPPA negotiations;


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (117).

Green Party MP, Gareth Huges, (clockwise, from top left) being interviewed by a TV1 camera crew; Green Party supporters; Gareth and a young potential future Green voter; and Gareth addressing the gathering.

.anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (171) - Copy.

Chris McKenzie, from the Maori Party, voiced his opposition to the TPPA, saying it would harm Maori interests;


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (144).

A couple of people in the crowd took exception to Chris’ comments and, after being handed a bullhorn, began to chant,

“Cross the floor!

Cross the floor!!”


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (146).

When Chris responded that he would pay no heed to “a couple of haters”, others in the crowd immediately took up the chant,

“Cross the floor!

Cross the floor!!”


Chris and his fellow Maori Party activists responded with a stirring haka, but the damage had been done – they had likely lost the support of most of the protesters. They are, after all, members of the Maori Party, which supports the National-led government with Supply and Confidence votes in the House. So what did they expect?

Kudos to them, at least, for having the balls to participate in the protest. That is courage of a magnitude several times greater than any Maori Party MPs – who could not be bothered to front.

Next up – Tim Jones, from the anti-coal-mining group, Coal Action Network Aotearoa, aka,  “Keep the Coal in the Hole”;


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (133).

” We’re working to stop new and expanded coal mining because mining and burning coal is the single biggest threat to the world’s climate. This government is very keen to mine and burn coal, along with all the other mining, drilling, and fracking it wants to do.

We need a government that cares about climate change and we need a government that’s willing to take action on it. We also need a government that is actually able to take action on it. As you’ve heard, if the TPPA is passed, foreign corporations will be able to sue any New Zealand government that brings in tougher rules on the environment [and]  that brings in tougher rules against greenhouse gas emissions.

That means even a government that wants to act on climate change, and that certainly isn’t the current government, might have it’s hands tied.

Do you want overseas companies to have the last word on Aotearoa’s environment and climate change policies?

… So let’s stop the TPPA, and let’s get rid of this government, and it’s mining company mates, and let’s start taking real action on climate change.”


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (173).

Perhaps one of the longest banners ever at a protest rally, this one measured well over 20 metres, and the message read,

“TPPA: Taking Aotearoa’s sovereignty away! TPPA: No mandate. Stop gambling with our future! People B4 profits. Stop foreign corporate takeover! TPPA = selling out NZ. Signing the TPPA is treachery!!!”


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (172)


NZEI members leaving the  International Summit on the Teaching Profession, holding their “Living Wage” placards;


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (154).

When Iwi leaders condemned the protest, Mana’s Hone Harawira was none-to-happy at what he called  “iwi leaders becom[ing] so servile and sycophantic” to the National government.

Hone spoke from the heart and said some things that – for a politician – was quite extraordinary! In all my years listening to politicians speak, I have never heard any say the things he did;


anti TPPA march_30 march 2014_wellington (148).

“Whatever happens, whatever happens, don’t kid yourself that because you’re all standing that side of the fence, you’re all friends with each other. Know this, if you’re not fighting for the sovereignty of this nation, then you’re on the wrong bloody side, that side, or this side, of the fence.

If the TPPA is aimed at taking away the sovereignty outlined in the Treaty of the Waitangi and replacing it with an economic sovereignty owned by people from far, far, away, and unless we do something to stop it, all of us, those on that side of the fence and those on this of the fence that you can trust, then we ain’t going to change it. Be up for struggle, and be up for a fight.

And know that unless we stand strong on this, these bastards are going to win.

There’s no reason why anybody in this country should accept our sovereignty being negotiated [away] in secret, in Singapore, in New York, and in London. There is no reason, why anybody in this country should accept that this country, and this country’s own government, cannot legislate in the interests of New Zealand citizens only to have those decisions overturned by big tobacco in the World [Bank] Court. There is no reason why anybody here should accept that big drug companies can overthrow the right of PHARMAC to let all citizens in this country to get low cost medicines.

And there no reason to accept the reason why […background noise…] Maori and alternative medicines should be pushed out and made illegal simply to keep international drug lords in big fat profits.

So, I don’t really care about this being a Mana thing or a Green thing or a Labour thing or an anybody thing. Because this thing here is about all us standing together. Come the election 2014,  look only… to the parties that are absolutely dedicated to changing the government we have now. Look only to those parties that are absolutely dedicated to changing this government we’ve got now, and put your vote in any one of them.

And honestly, I don’t really care if you’re not going to vote for Mana, but vote only for those who will change the government. Don’t vote for those, don’t vote for those, who’ve got a dollar over here and a dollar over here.

This Agreement is not a win-win deal. Any party that signals their willingness to go with this government, or may go this way , or that way, is not a friend of what we’re trying to achieve on this stage…

… There are no deals on our sovereignty.”

It was  startling to hear Hone Harawira utter those words – made all the more amazing because it is not the usual thing one expects from politicians. I cannot recall a single politician ever, anywhere, calling on people to vote on an issue first, and not for themselves or their Party!

Finally, to remind ourselves,

” There are no deals on our sovereignty.”





NZEI: Living Wage for Learning events to call for a fair go

TV3: Iwi leaders slam NZEI protests

Scoop media: No prestige In Trying To Hide Poverty


NewstalkZB: Thousands march against TPPA

Support groups

Facebook: It’s Our Future – Kiwis concerned about the TPPA

Facebook: Aotearoa is Not for Sale

Coal Action Network Aotearoa


All images stamped ‘’ are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

» Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
» Where purpose of use is commercial, a donation to Child Poverty Action Group is requested.
» At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals or groups.
» Acknowledgement of source is requested.


This blogger wishes to thank Mana Party organisor, Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati, for kindly lending me her camera. Mine finally gave up the mechanical ghost and I would not have been able to complete this blogpost without her timely assistance. I am deeply appreciative of her kindness and trust.

– Frank Macskasy






vote mana labnour green

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen



= fs =










  1. A useful and interesting summary thank you.

    (It’d have been nice to be able to include a picture of Key and Groser peeping out at the march from behind closed curtains . . . . . and laughing their heads off.

    That would have rounded off the story nicely! But perhaps there just wasn’t a camera in the right place at the right time for that one.)

  2. 300 Hundred people? Are you joking? There were only 300 people attending? Out of a population in Wellington of 200,000? This just goes to show this is a non-issue, being beaten up by people with noting better to do. Professional protestors and rent-a-crowd. I’ll bet Minto was in amongst one of these somewhere.

    • The anti asset sales petition got around 500 so it seems there are less people interested in stopping free trade than stopping partial sales of shares in SOE’s.

      • IV, Gosman, and other assorted RWNJs; considering that you both, and National, dismissed the outcome of the anti-asset sale referenda, it is clear that numbers don’t concern you very much.

        Anyway, if you’re truly interested in public opinion, this may reassure you;

        In an upcoming blogpost, I’ll demonstrate why “low numbers” eventually lead to something much greater that changed the very psyche of our nation.

        Stay tuned.

        • The government does respond to public pressure Frank. All you need to look at to see how true that statement is was what happened to the plan to mine in conservation areas after 50,000 people marched in Auckland. The National led government dropped it like a hot potato. 2,500 in Auckland and a mere 500 in Wellington marching against the TPPA is not going to have the same impact. Even you would agree with that surely.

  3. In my honest view, the turnout was very disappointing. It appears only the very committed, the somehow enlightened about the true state of affairs in many corners of this country, did go and show and voiced their concerns and dissent.

    New Zealanders have become a country of “couch potatoes”, where the vast majority does not bother doing anything, for sheer indifference, or lack of motivation, for doubts, for reliance on others to do the hard work, and for ignorance, caused by endless conditioning through brain washing mass media, who do not offer in depth reports, analysis and discussion of matters like trade deals.

    Although most are suspicious of, or even against the TPPA, they do not seem concerned or bothered enough to make a little effort and join others and stand out in the streets and squares to be counted.

    Regrettably many seem intimidated by the government, fearing that not doing free trade deals of whatever kind, not drilling and mining, not intensifying dairy industry, not selling milk powder, logs, raw fish, fruit and little else, will endanger their existence and living standards. It seems the more enlightened have left this place in too great numbers, leaving only remnants of alternatively thinking ones behind.

    But also “the left” has to take responsibility, for not seeing the challenge for what it is, and not taking the levels of actions, and types of actions that are needed.

    The Green party MPs seem too comfy in their Parliamentary seats and suits and dresses, the Labour MPs seem too worried about their privileges and chances of upsetting big business, so they rather come along half hearted and avoid too much profile. They are in part unclear about where they stand.

    No wonder then, that too few are inclined to follow them. It is time to wake up, to reassert yourselves, to show colour, to become WARRIORS and FIGHTERS for the cause, not casual protestors with jandals and casual clothing, and the odd hand written sign or banner.

    This society and country will not be reconquered with warm hugs and smart or sweet talking, it can only be regained by fighting, by taking resolute and firm action, by seizing, occupying and defending public places and institutions. Civil disobedience, action against the powers of ruthless business interests, blocking of places, ways and more, to push for rights and freedoms are needed, not just some tricky questions in Parliament, some supplementary order papers, some press release meaning nothing, but sentimental expression of disappointment.

    That is where we are. The leaders of the oppositions are slackers, so the rest are encouraged to become indifferent slackers, and hence we have almost nobody fight for the causes that must be fought for.

    If there is no sudden, firm change of heart and strategy, of direction and spirit, now before the general election, we may as well not bother.

  4. Many staunch people I know did not know the march was on. We need to realise very few people actually use facebook. It is important that we build a movement against the TPPA. Many good and politically interested people do not really know what the TPPA is. A sort of “small party accord” would greatly help of the parties concerned about our sovereignty. This would help clarify NZ First’s position. If they refuse we will know they are all bull. Did not see these defenders of our sovereignty at the march.
    We will need a proper publicity campaign with posters and radio advertising as there was for the very big GE rally. This issue to me overrides everything because sovereignty is ownership and we cannot control what we do not own. I think “Stop Rogernomics part 2 – stop the TPPA” might be a good slogan.

    • “…we cannot control what we do not own.”

      That has never stopped left wingers in the past. Indeed they specialize in attempting to control what they don’t own.

      • Gosman says:
        April 4, 2014 at 9:40 am

        “…we cannot control what we do not own.”

        That has never stopped left wingers in the past. Indeed they specialize in attempting to control what they don’t own.

        Actually, the Right specialise in selling assets they don’t own – ie, privatising state assets which belong to the people and not ministers of the crown.

        In fact, I’d call it legalised theft.

        But that’s ok. If Ministers can sell state assets, then newly elected ministers can re-nationalise them when the time comes.

        • Assets and liabilities belong to the State and are controlled by the Government. The Government has both the ability to decide to increase and decrease both of these as part of their activities governing the country and the right to do so. It is what you elect governments for. Additionally the nature of accounting actually means you don’t directly change assets and liabilities anyway but merely change the form of them.

Comments are closed.