Our unprecedented protests against the TPPA, from small rural towns to the main cities, moved the political ground on secretly negotiated international treaties that entrench corporate rights, handcuff elected governments and disempower peoples. Politicians were shaken. The Holy Grail of free trade agreements was now a political liability.
We need to own that achievement and build on it. We are not alone. Everywhere I go I am meeting and working with people in politics, NGOs, indigenous nations, unions, local communities, who are determined not to waste this opportunity to bring about real change.
The two day hui on “What an Alternative & Progressive Trade Strategy Should Look Like” at the Fale Pasifika at Auckland University from 19-20 October is a concrete step to building that new platform in Aotearoa and move from critique to alternatives.
We have put together an amazing programme. There will be (almost) no speaking heads. Instead, ten panels will have conversations on pressing issues for the future of international economic relationships and agreements, from the international economy, geopolitics and livelihoods to Tiriti-based relationships, sustainable worlds, health, knowledge and how to reinvigorate the local.
Our goal is to identify the crucial issues, principles and options, and our next steps to organise to achieve them.
Attendance at the hui is free. For those who can’t get there in person, the whole 2 days will be livestreamed here and Daily Blog. You can send questions and views via Twitter #AltTrade and #Hui2018. Video of each session will be posted later on itsourfuture.org.nz.
For more information and the programme see here.
We will start with a mihi whakatau from Ngati Whatua, just as they led the hikoi down Queen Street the day the TPPA was signed. Then I will talk about the current turbulence in the international economic arena and its implications, and Jim Stanford from the Centre for Future Work in Australia will present some ideas about alternatives.
Contributors on the ten panels include :
- journalists Rod Oram and Bernard Hickey,
- former diplomat Terence O’Brien,
- Renata Blair from Ngati Whatua and Jesse Chalmers from TONZU from Maori and small businesses,
- Tania Pouwhare of Auckland Council’s Southern Initiative,
- Maori women leaders Margaret Mutu, Annette Sykes, Ani Mikaere and Aroha Mead on te Tiriti and tikanga
- Richard Aston the chair of Consumer NZ ,
- health experts from Médecins Sans Frontières and Doctors for Healthy Trade,
- gender and living wage
- the Director of Greenpeace NZ Russel Norman and Simon Terry the Executive Director of Sustainability Council of NZ,
- NZ Council of Trade Union’s Sam Huggard and Bill Rosenberg and other unions including New Zealand Nurses Organisation, Public Services International, Post-Primacy Teachers Association, E Tu and FIRST union,
- development, Pacific, migration and human rights specialists from Aotearoa and internationally,
- prominent academics from Auckland and Otago Universities and the University of South Pacific,
- community advocates and organisers from across the country,
- and many more.
Co-sponsors include The NZ Council of Trade Unions, It’s Our Future, Doctors for Healthy Trade, Ora Taiao: New Zealand Climate and Health Council, Oxfam NZ, Greenpeace NZ, the NZ Nurses Organisation, First Union, PSA, PPTA, NZEI, TEU, the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa.
If you are frustrated that the TPPA went ahead and want to make a difference, remember that governments aren’t going to shift the ground unless we make them. Join us online or at the Fale to make this hui a success and build that platform for real change.