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Fraught TPP process has lessons for the future

Public Health Association tells Government that fraught TPP process has lessons for the future

Public Health Association media release, 14 April 2016

Embargoed until 10.30am

The Public Health Association (PHA) has told the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee that the lack of information, deliberate secrecy and poor recognition of the importance of health have made the TPP process fraught with problems, and that there are important lessons to be learned for next time.

“Every international commitment our Government signs has significant implications for the health of New Zealanders,” says PHA Chief Executive Officer Warren Lindberg.

“So when New Zealand signs an agreement with a scope as broad as that of the TPP, it’s essential to carry out a full health impact assessment.

“This was never done and the fact that there are gaping holes around issues like impacts on Maori health and how the TPP affects climate change clearly demonstrate that lack of analysis. This has left the Government open to considerable criticism, while angering many citizens and eroding their trust.”

Lindberg said such an analysis had to be done at a high level and in a transparent and fair environment so people could feel sure it was not just the interests of big business that were being catered to.

He encouraged the Select Committee to recommend to Government that future agreements, such as the proposed NZ-EU Free Trade Agreement, be based in a sound analysis of the impacts they will have on the lives of ordinary New Zealanders.

“A fair regime of regulating trade, investment and intellectual property should recognise the importance of health; social and ecological sustainability as well as economic development.”

Concluding its oral submission to the Select Committee, the PHA recommended that future trade agreement discussions are made open to the public and all interested parties, and that full consultations take place.

“One can't help but feel the Government has made a rod for its own back in this case and the TPP will never sit well with many New Zealanders as a result.”

ENDS

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