New Zealand Business Leader Calls TPP Protesters ‘Anti-American’

Heated rhetoric has been fired at those who oppose the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in New Zealand. One business leader blasted the world-wide anti-TPP movement as just people who are “anti-American”.

Heated rhetoric being fired by governments and the corporations who back them isn’t just found in Australia. It seems that TPP proponents have lost their cool in New Zealand as well. Radio New Zealand is reporting that founder and chairman of meat processor ANZCO Foods, Sir Graeme Harrison, has blasted TPP protesters for being “Anti-American”:

Sir Graeme said the heavy reductions in tariffs on beef would allow red meat to compete fairly against pork and chicken, generating demand, bigger profits and more jobs.

He said getting the United States, the world’s biggest economy, on board was the key, and the protests against the TPP were essentially anti-American.

“To achieve anything that’s a wide-ranging, international agreement on trade, especially in agriculture, you must have the United States involved. And if I look at the protests against TPP, I’d say, in a nutshell, they’re anti-American.”

Obviously, many have raised legitimate concerns about the TPP for years now. These include a loss of sovereignty through ISDS, the erosion of civil rights, the crackdown of digital rights, and a lack of independent analysis on the impact the trade deal would have in people’s respective countries. Many would point out that this has nothing to do with being “anti-American”, so the rhetoric is likely a corporate executive losing his cool.

Already, New Zealand saw massive demonstrations against the TPP by a wide range of people. This includes a contingent from the Māori men, an indigenous people in the country. From the IC Magazine:

“The TPPA is that, the north Pacific have already destroyed their environment, coming here to New Zealand to rape and pillage the rest of the mountains, rivers, land, and oceans and the resources,” says Cullen. “And it’s, ‘stuff you all, we’re coming to take it, and, what are you going to do about it?’”

Representatives of 12 nations signed the controversial trade deal in a hotel-casino-convention center, and protesters weren’t far away. One group blockaded the building where the signing ceremony was held, while another went on a winding, noisy, hours-long march through the streets.

Both demonstrations reflected the fierce anti-TPP sentiment here that has formed into a veritable protest movement in recent months, one of the most vibrant and enthusiastic the country has seen in years. And it’s a movement in which Maori voices, like Cullen’s, have been prominent.

Maori writer and political commentator Morgan Godfery: “Personally, I haven’t seen Maori society this politicized in at least five or six years.”

Protests happened on Waitangi Day. A New Zealand minister was even pelted with a sex toy (image in news story possibly NSFW). From the BBC:

Nurse Josie Butler yelled “That’s for raping our sovereignty” when she threw what appeared to be a large rubber penis at Steven Joyce’s face.

She said it was a protest against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, signed in Auckland on Thursday.

Mr Joyce was unhurt and later took to Twitter to make a joke of the incident.

Mr Joyce did not appear to be harmed by the missile, which hit him in the face as he was talking to reporters.

Ms Butler was taken away by police, but is reportedly now out of custody with no charges laid against her.

A casual observer might point out that if you are trying to promote the TPP, calling protesters names is not going to win over very many people. It may only serve to embolden the image that corporations are simply bullying local people and don’t even care about what the public image would be as a result.

If anything else, stories like this are also simply going to strengthen the idea that the TPP is really a fight between the people and corporations and the governments they back.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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