More than 12,000 Kiwis are demanding that PM John Key and Tim Groser debate a democratically-elected TPPA expert in a nationally televised event, after the Prime Minister dismissed the more than 25,000 people who protested over the weekend, and the 100,000 people who signed petitions against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement as "misinformed.”
“Our members are tired of being told that they are “misinformed”, “anti-trade”, “breathless children” when it comes to airing genuine concerns about the TPPA. What our members want is for the people that represent them to actually listen to, and address the concerns of Kiwi citizens instead of calling us names.” explained Laura O’Connell-Rapira from ActionStation. “Our leaders would never sign a contract without first reading the terms, or on a “just trust us” basis, so why are they essentially asking all New Zealanders to do the same?”
The petition campaign, led by the New Zealand-based Action Station and the international corporate watchdog organisation SumofUs.org, notes that more than 300 small and medium-sized business owners in New Zealand, as well as renowned economist Gareth Morgan, business journalist Bernard Hickey, the Libraries Association of New Zealand, Consumer NZ and Internet NZ have all expressed concerns about the TPPA.
Hundreds of doctors and other health experts are clear that proposed changes in intellectual property rules will push up medicine prices, slow down innovation and make public health campaigns more difficult. Many local software innovators are furious at the protectionist intellectual property rules being negotiated.
Beyond New Zealand, Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, prominent economists Jeffrey Sachs and Princeton University professor Dani Rodrik have also condemned the TPPA as being likely to increasing inequality and corporate power
“When John Key disregards our protests as misinformed, he's been repeating a pattern he's gotten away with for years: putting big companies profits before our well-being,” explained Kaytee Ray-Riek from SumOfUs.org. “What little has leaked out about the TPPA makes us very nervous. It will give massive multi-national corporations the power to decide our laws on everything from the price we pay for medicine to the food we eat.”
“Corporations suing entire countries isn't rhetoric: it's happening right now.Philip Morris, the tobacco giant, is suing Australia at this moment because of plain packaging laws designed to save the lives of everyday Aussies who would otherwise die of tobacco-related illnesses. Taxpayers there have already shelled out a whopping $50 million fighting Philip Morris in a court in Singapore,” added Ray-Riek.