Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


PM urged to ensure New Zealanders’ health not signed away

Prime Minister urged to ensure New Zealanders’ health not signed away

Public Health Association media release, 4 October 2013

The Public Health Association (PHA) has written an open letter to Prime Minister John Key amid health sector fears the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) could seriously jeopardise public health in New Zealand.

The letter outlines four broad areas of concern:

1.       that intellectual property, patent law and investment clauses in the TPPA may empower international companies, such as big tobacco, to challenge laws and policies the Government has put in place to protect the health of New Zealanders

2.       that the definition of State Owned Enterprises may include our public hospitals, thus exposing them to takeover by multi-national interests

3.       that the agreement does not do enough to protect PHARMAC from predatory behaviour by pharmaceutical companies, thus threatening New Zealanders’ access to subsidised medicine

4.       that the US and other foreign interests have an unfair advantage because negotiations take place in secret and New Zealanders have no way of knowing what the Government may be signing away.  

PHA President Dr Jean Simpson said New Zealand’s public health system is the envy of many countries, and to keep it that way we must be able to make our own decisions over access to medicines and the regulation of food safety and potentially harmful products like alcohol and tobacco.

“We certainly see the value in international trade agreements, but we need to ensure that whatever we agree to doesn't risk our Government being over-ruled, doesn't put New Zealanders’ health at risk and doesn't place new burdens on our already-stretched health budget.”

The letter acknowledges assurances from Trade Minister Hon Tim Groser that provisions will be included protecting the Government’s right to regulate for public health, but Dr Simpson said such provisions and how they define things like ‘necessary to protect human life and health’ would be open to challenge.

“The TPPA will make it much easier for larger economies and multi-national corporations to bring litigation which could easily result in a ‘chilling effect’ where smaller countries like New Zealand face pressure to sacrifice healthy policy. We have a relatively small economy and it’s financially risky for us to defend policies and regulations at that high level,” Dr Simpson said

The letter urges the Government to:

1.       ensure protections for public health in all 29 chapters of the TPPA

2.       insist on total exclusion of tobacco interests from all negotiations and the exclusion of the rights of tobacco industries to protect their investments and intellectual property

3.       release the text of the TPPA for analysis by independent experts and the public.

The PHA works to provide a collective voice for the diverse public health workforce and Dr Simpson said it was the organisation’s duty to express the sector’s concerns that the TPPA may have unintended negative consequences for the health and welfare of New Zealanders.

“Our public health legislation and policy must be based on solid scientific evidence about what is best for New Zealanders’ health, and not on the commercial interests of other countries or multi-national conglomerates,” she said.

The open letter is available on the PHA website at: www.pha.org.nz/documents/PHA-letter-to-the-PM-on-TPPA-Oct-2013.pdf.   

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Eleanor Catton Rumpus

If anyone was in doubt about the accuracy of the comments made in India by Eleanor Catton, the reaction from some quarters here at home has gone a long way to proving her point.

By ‘some quarters’, I mean (a) RadioLive host Sean Plunket who called Catton a “traitor” and (b) Prime Minister John Key who dismissed her views as being those of a typical Green Party supporter, which is apparently almost as bad.

In context, Catton seemed to be talking about the mixed feelings she felt after what she had created suddenly becoming a kind of public property claimed by the entire country and its leaders. That must feel weird at any time, in any place. Catton evidently finds it particularly alienating when the government of the day has shown little interest in the arts beyond their promotional/economic value. More>>

 

More Rent Assistance, Less State-Owned Housing: John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider. The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news