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Protesters want details of free-trade agreements

NZPA 14/02/2011

Protesters want details of free-trade agreements

Protesters will descend on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade today as they join calls for the Government to release Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade agreement details.

The Wellington TPP Action Group said today it would march down Lambton Quay to the ministry this afternoon to draw attention to an international call for the text of the agreement to be made public.

"We are calling on the Government and Trade Minister Tim Groser to release the draft text of the TPP agreement," spokesman Richard Slade said.

"The negotiations are completed in secret - there is no transparency and no accountability. The process is anti-democratic.

"We are simply asking to see the draft text of the agreement. TPP negotiations kick-off in Chile this week and we want to know exactly how much of New Zealand’s economic, social and environmental future the Government is bargaining away."

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) yesterday also called for the text to be released, warning that the public health system could be damaged by the agreement.

NZNO president Nano Tunnicliff said experts had warned the agreement could limit New Zealand’s ability to regulate the marketing and sale of alcohol, and that tobacco companies would target any TPP country contemplating restrictions on the marketing and sale of cigarettes.

"We need to pressure the Government to be more open with the public about the implications of the TPP," she said.

"We don’t want our government’s ability to reduce these health hazards compromised. As nurses, we have a responsibility to speak out against anything that could weaken the health of our country."

TPP negotiations encompass New Zealand, the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam

 source: Stuff