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National MPs shut down health debate

Health Spokesperson
12 September 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
National MPs shut down health debate

National Party members on the Health Select Committee have now twice refused to allow experts to brief the committee about possible effects of the Trans Pacific Partnership on New Zealand's ability to determine its own health policies, Labour's Health spokesperson Maryan Street says.

"We have been approached on two separate occasions by people or organisations with concerns about the implications of the TPP on our smoke-free policies.

“On both occasions, National MPs have refused to support a call to hear from these experts.

“The first was on 22 August, when they voted against a motion to invite Prof Jane Kelsey to brief the committee on the implications of the Australian experience of Philip Morris's legal action against them, and any other issues to be aware of with respect to the TPP and possible impacts on smoke free policies.

"Then on 29 August, they voted against a motion moved in response to the New Zealand Nurses' Organisation who asked if it could bring Dr Deborah Gleeson to brief committee members on possible impacts of the TPP on public health policies more generally.

"This deliberate and persistent refusal to be informed by people who know more about these issues than we do, smacks of a cover up and is not the kind of behaviour MPs should be engaging in.

“We need to be informed of all views if we are to do our jobs properly. We may not agree with evidence before us, but how will we know if we don't hear it?

"What are they afraid of? People are asking us questions about these issues. If we can't be informed about how trade agreements might or might not impact on future health policies, then what are we doing on the Health Select Committee?" asked Maryan Street.


The minutes of these meetings show the voting records as:
22 Aug (minutes amended and approved on 12 Sept) - motion to invite Prof Jane Kelsey -
Ayes - Street (Lab), Lees-Galloway (Lab), Little (Lab), Hague (Green), Stewart (NZFirst)
Noes - Hutchison (Nat), Ardern (Nat), Blue (Nat), Calder (Nat), Yang (Nat).
The votes being tied, the motion was not agreed to.

29 Aug (minutes approved on 12 Sept) - motion to invite Dr Deborah Gleeson on behalf of NZNO -
Ayes - Street (Lab), Lees-Galloway (Lab), Little (Lab), Stewart (NZFirst)
Noes - Hutchison (Nat), Ardern (Nat), Blue (Nat), Yang (Nat).
The votes being tied, the motion was not agreed to.


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