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Hikoi delivers anti-TPP message to MPs

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/11/2016

Six days, hundreds of kilometres, one goal - to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Christchurch mother Rachel Thomas and her three children have walked to Wellington to deliver the message that it's not too late for politicians to say no to the 12-nation trade agreement that covers 40 per cent of global trade.

Green, Labour, Maori Party and NZ First MPs met the Our Children's Future hikoi as they arrived on Thursday, promising to oppose the TPP enabling legislation that will be read for a second time later on Thursday.

But the long walk ended on a disappointing note, with participants saying they were denied entry into Parliament.

Spokesperson and hikoi walker Josei Butler says the 15 children involved weren't even allowed to eat their lunch on the steps of Parliament.

"The children were incredibly upset that after walking 400km to Parliament, they were treated like criminals and refused entry on the orders of Speaker of the House David Carter," she said.

"Security turned away all women and children involved in the hikoi. This truly shows how the National Party feels about our children's future".

Earlier, Ms Thomas said the TPP was "not just a trade deal".

"You don't let your children watch someone else being bullied in the playground and that's what's happening with us here with corporations trying to bully us into trade agreements that aren't right for everyone," she told NZ Newswire.

Green MP Barry Coates said the deal put foreign multinationals above New Zealand families.

"This is not a trade deal for tor the 21st century," he said.

"We can encourage trade without giving away our rights to make rules that protect our best interests or allowing multinationals sue us in a foreign tribunal."

He also believed the government was wasting time enacting legislation when the TPP was unlikely to go ahead anyway.

It must be ratified by at least six countries that account for 85 per cent of the group's economic output, meaning the US is necessary and both Presidential candidates oppose the agreement.

The TPP free trade agreement was signed by representatives from New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam in February.

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