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


TPP a potential threat to continued alcohol reform

TPP a potential threat to continued alcohol reform

Alcohol Healthwatch is among a group of professional health agencies and individuals calling on Trade Minister Hon Tim Groser to arrange a comprehensive health impact assessment of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. New Zealand is a signatory to the TPP and the latest round of negotiations arecurrently underway in Canberra.

Alcohol Healthwatch Director Rebecca Williams says leaked information suggests that "investor state dispute settlement" and “technical barriers to trade” clauses are part of the TPP negotiations. Such clauses could leave countries like New Zealand wide open to litigious action by giant international corporates such as the alcohol industry if health legislation was put in place that threatens their trade.

“A perfect example is how trading nations and alcohol industry interests continue to undermine Thailand’s decision to put graphic warning labels on alcohol using ‘technical barriers to trade’ clauses in existing trade agreements.”

Thailand first proposed warning labels as a way to address alcohol-related harm in 2010. Since then it has come under intense pressure to reconsider the measure from trading nations including New Zealand and Australia, along with the alcohol industry. Just this week Spirits Europe asked Thai officials to reconsider warning labels and to consult with the World Trade Organization’s Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade.

Ms Williams says a country’s right to take action to address health issues must be protected now and into the future.

“Big business has no business meddling with a sovereign state’s right to legislate in the interests of the health of its people. We need to take great care that we’re not about to sign away the right to pursue our alcohol reform agenda, which includes warning labels and other harm reduction measures Big Alcohol do not like and consistently oppose.

“New Zealander’s have demonstrated their support for policies when they are aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm. We cannot afford for such policies to be vetoed directly due to trade agreements or indirectly through threats of litigation.”

She says the assurances given to date by the Government that health will be protected remain hollow, especially when there is evidence our trade officials have been party to challenging another country’s right to protect its citizens from alcohol-related harm.

“The TPP continues to be a risk factor for public health and must be put up for public scrutiny in this regard.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Raising Corporate Taxes Has Become A Hot New Political Cause

Surprisingly, “raising taxes” has become a very fashionable political idea in 2021. That’s right. After decades of being seen (at best) as a necessary evil, higher corporate taxes are now being treated as the Great Good Thing that will revive the US economy, re-distribute wealth productively, help to build neglected and decaying public infrastructure, fund public health, address social inequality, restore a sense of community and generally make everyone feel better about the society in which they live... More>>


Government: Delivers Next Phase Of Climate Action

The Government is delivering on a key election commitment to tackle climate change, by banning new low and medium temperature coal-fired boilers and partnering with the private sector to help it transition away from fossil fuels. This is the first ... More>>

Government: Independent Experts To Advise On Post-Vaccination Future

The Government is acting to ensure decisions on responding to the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic are informed by the best available scientific evidence and strategic public health advice. “New Zealand has worked towards an elimination ... More>>

Travel: Trans-Tasman Bubble To Start 19 April

New Zealand’s successful management of COVID means quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia will start on Monday 19 April, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris ... More>>


Health: Drug-Testing Law To Be Made Permanent

Interim legislation that is already proving to keep people safer from drugs will be made permanent, Health Minister Andrew Little says. More>>

World Travel: New Zealand Temporarily Suspending Travel From India - PM Jacinda Ardern

Travel into New Zealand from India - including for New Zealand citizens and residents - is being temporarily suspended because of high numbers of Covid-19 cases. More>>

Finance: Crown Accounts Again Better Than Forecast

Hon Grant Robertson Minister of Finance The economic recovery from COVID-19 continues to be reflected in the Government’s books, which are again better than expected. The Crown accounts for the eight months to the end of February 2021 showed both OBEGAL ... More>>




InfoPages News Channels