Hutt public meeting – NZ not for sale!

Press Release – Valley Action Network

VAN – Valley Action Network, in conjunction with the Hutt South Green Party, is to host a public meeting in Petone as part of the NZ Not For Sale Campaign ( www.nznotforsale.org ).Hutt public meeting – NZ not for sale!

Media release: VAN – Valley Action Network 30 March, 2011

VAN – Valley Action Network, in conjunction with the Hutt South Green Party, is to host a public meeting in Petone as part of the NZ Not For Sale Campaign (www.nznotforsale.org).

The meeting, featuring visiting speaker Murray Horton, is at 7.45pm on April 19, at the Petone Community House, 6 Britannia St.

Murray is the spokesperson for the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA). He will be talking about:

* The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the dangers it poses to the NZ economy and to our democracy. * Privatisation of our public assets. * The takeover of NZ businesses and land by transnational corporations. * The re-absorption of NZ into the US Empire. * And, most, importantly, how the New Zealand people can fight back; it’s too important to be left up to the politicians.

“As local advocates for Hutt residents of all cultural backgrounds, we are proud to support this meeting and the NZ Not For Sale Campaign”, said VAN spokesperson Grant Brookes.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is currently being negotiated, in secret, with trade representatives from Australia, the United States, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Vietnam. The talks are aimed at securing the largest ever “free trade” deal involving New Zealand.

“Hutt residents have experienced the destruction wrought by free trade on local industry and jobs”, said Grant,

“The abolition of tariffs sealed the fate of the Hutt Valley’s once-thriving car plants in the 1980s. Further freeing up of trade and investment forced recent closures at the Colgate-Palmolive factory, at Griffins and at Mountain Buggy manufacturer, Tritec.

“And we know how Wellington’s rail network was run down, first by a US multi- national, and then under Australian ownership.

“Now the TPPA could bring new hardships and indignities, like creeping privatisation of public services and the loss of control over parts of our natural environment.”

During last year’s local elections, VAN campaigned strongly against user-pays water meters and privatisation of Hutt City water supply.

“Combined with recent law changes reducing the barriers to private sector involvement in council activities, the TPPA could see our water and other services controlled by giant trans-national corporations”, Grant commented.

“We saw in 2008 what this can mean for residents. Allbrite, who run the Council’s kerbside recycling, doubled its fee, demanding an extra half a million dollars of ratepayers’ money. Allbrite is a subsidiary of Australian multinational Transpacific Industries.

“The Council has contracted out a raft of services, from parks and gardens to landfills and even cemeteries. Imagine if these were taken over by multinationals, too.

“The current weak restrictions on overseas ownership of land also face the chop under the TPPA. This means there would be nothing to stop precious areas like Baring Head from becoming the private playground of American billionaires.

“Neighbouring farms, bordering the East Harbour Regional Park, or the blocks of undeveloped council land currently up for sale could be snapped up by offshore investors.

“It’s time for Hutt residents to take action to protect our diverse community and our environment from the corporate interests that endanger us all.”

ends

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