Policies that are driven by ideology rather than principle are placing more and more pressure on the least well off, Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan told a crowd of 500 gathered in the Palmerston North Square to protest the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on Saturday 7 March.
Bishop Charles had previously invited parishes to join him on protest marches in his Diocese calling on the Government to be transparent about the full implications of the trade agreement, which is being negotiated in secret.
“Absolute freedom to market anything anyhow is not in our interests,” Bishop Charles told the gathering. “It most certainly is not a right of global business interests to trump the duty of an elected government to govern a nation’s economy broadly in accord with the wishes of that nation’s citizens”.
Joining Bishop Charles on the Palmerston North march were members of the Palmerston North Diocesan Commission for Justice, Peace and Development; members of the Catholic Worker movement and representatives of different parishes of the Palmerston North Diocese.
Bishop Charles expressed concern at the growing gap between rich and poor, and economic policies that favour those who were already wealthy. Quoting Pope Francis’ criticism of economic theories that wealth will eventually trickle down to the low paid, Bishop Charles said the only people that should be taking that theory seriously “are the writers of the Tui Billboard campaign – yeah right”.
He told protest participants that protests were often “a series of nos” so he was offering some “yeses”.
“Yes to fairness and justice. Yes to a vision of our world that upholds a united global family that respects rather than squashes regional goals and aspirations. Yes to the gift of creation…to the duty of using the resources of this land with respect to our creator God and with love of our future generations, our mokopuna.”