TPPA Protestors Not ‘Rent A Crowd’

The National government would have everyone believe that TPPA protesters are ill-informed, unemployed rabblerousers without anything better to do than make public spectacles of themselves. ‘Rent a crowd’, John Key calls them.

Nothing could be further from the truth. TPPA protesters are very likely the people serving you in shops and restaurants, cleaning your office, teaching your children, caring for you if you end up in hospital or residential care, giving you legal advice. TPPA protesters are a very large and diverse group from all walks of life. Continue reading

TPPA – Is It Time For A Citizens Initiated Referendum?

There have been record turnouts in all the main centres to hear Prof Jane Kelsey and Lori Wallach from Public Citizens Global Trade Watch speak about the reasons not to sign the TPPA.

People have taken to the streets in the thousands for the past two years or more to tell the government they don’t want New Zealand to agree to the TPPA. Online petitions have collects tens of thousands of signatures in a very short of time. The Green Party and New Zealand First don’t want a bar of the TPPA. Now the Labour Party has capitulated. Surely the time has come to flex our democratic muscles? Continue reading

Free Education

Another cringe-worthy moment for New Zealanders this week. The Cook Islands Prime Minister’s nephew was arrested for not paying back his student loan when he visited New Zealand to attend a work based conference – on education. A loan that had ballooned, thanks to extortionate interest charges, from a mere $20,000 to over $100,000. Continue reading

Don’t Blame Pharmac

Keytruda is a new immune-oncology drug to treat advanced melanoma released recently by Merck Group at a cost of over $10,000 per month, per patient. Yet again we have a new cancer treatment that is prohibitively expensive released onto the market. Yet again we have clamouring for the government via Pharmac to shell out the extortionate amount of money required to procure the drug.

Of course the government should fund the drug, as it should fund any treatment proven to be effective in treating illness or disease. However the money will have to come out of an already stretched health budget or increased taxes. And it is totally unnecessary. The drug, like most new and effective treatments, is grossly overpriced in relation to the cost of production. Continue reading

$207 Million Per Day in Share Trading And No One’s Thinking About A Financial Transactions Tax. Seriously?

The NZX has reported that average trades increased in value in October by 56% to an eye-watering $207 million – per day.

That is $207 million worth of share transactions each day that no GST is paid on. For reasons that have never been made entirely clear, financial services, unlike other goods and services, are exempt from GST.

The government claims it is strapped for cash, especially when it comes to spending on essential services such as health, education, infrastructure, and social welfare. With the record-breaking turnover on the NZX, surely it is time to look at taxing financial transactions. Continue reading