Central Auckland has ground to a halt as the signing of a controversial trade deal looms. All streets around Sky City Convention Centre and motorway on and off ramps leading to the central business district have been blocked by protesters.
Inside Sky City Convention Centre, a long table stretched along a stage with big bouquets of blue and white flowers displayed in front and a large screen, with photos of the Sky Tower, Southern Alps, and a tui in rotation with TPP logo, behind.
Dignitaries from the dozen partnership countries were this morning gathering to put pen to paper at 11.30am, a major step in what is being described as the "biggest trade deal in a generation".
The agreement is designed to free up trade and investment between the countries, but has been a beacon for controversy for several years, mainly due to the secrecy of the deal, lack of public consultation and fears New Zealand's sovereignty could be diminished.