You Have To Be Green To Be Red?

Environmental issues and social justice are intertwined. Global warming can only be averted by using the Earth’s resources in a fair and sustainable way.

Likewise, social justice can only occur if global warming is at least contained. Those most at risk from a planet with frequent extreme climate events, pollution, and scarcity of resources, are the same people at risk from unscrupulous employers who refuse to pay a living wage and provide safe working conditions. Continue reading

TPP – The Real Fight Begins Now

The government would have us think the TPP is a done deal, and we must make the best of it. Nothing could be further from the truth. All that has happened is that negotiations over the text of the deal have been concluded. So now we know, or will soon know, what we are up against.

The US must release the text of the deal within the next month. This means whether our government likes it or not, we will have access to the text as well. This is when the fight begins. Continue reading

Neoliberalism is Nasty

If we learn nothing else from the TPP debacle, it is that Neoliberalism is nasty. And its proponents are hypocrites.

One of the main sticking points in TPP negotiations now is the protection period, that’s right, protection period, on the use of clinical data behind the approval of new biological drugs. One would assume the TPP would be arguing for little or no protection period. After all, it is about removing barriers to trade; we are told so, repeatedly. But no, the proposed 12 year protection period is at least double what most of the signatory countries now have. The TPP is surely not about free trade. Continue reading

Human Rights Versus Corporate Capitalism; People Before Profits

Recently US corporation Turing Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to daraprim, a drug used to treat toxoplasmosis, and promptly announced it was increasing the cost from (US)$13.50 per tablet to $750. The same drug is sold in the UK for around $20 for 30 tablets.

When this news became public knowledge there was outrage. Social media went into overdrive, causing Turing to capitulate and announce that it will be reviewing the pricing of daraprim. By how much remains to be seen.

Turing’s CEO saw the rights to the medication as a market opportunity. He felt the market was prepared to pay a lot more for this drug and there was money to be made. And the role of any good CEO is to make as much money as possible for their company. Or more precisely, the company directors and shareholders. Continue reading

New Zealand’s Best Kept Secret? This Week is International Basic Income Week

September 14th to 21st is the 8th International Basic Income Week. And this may well be the only place you will read about it!

The motto for the 8th International Basic Income Week is “UBI: a safety net for life”. The basic tenets of an unconditional basic income are that it is: Continue reading

National Knows The Price of Everything And The Value Of Nothing

The National government are falling over themselves to entice rich businessmen to our country. The New Zealand Investment Attraction Strategy launched recently has as one of its main goals to “lift New Zealand’s pool of “smart capital” by convincing individual investors and entrepreneurs to live in the country.” Continue reading

The TPP: Who Are The Misinformed?

Last week around 25,000 people marched in protest at the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. People of all ages and occupations – a good cross section of the community.

When asked by the media, marchers time and time again eloquently expressed their concern at the secrecy of negotiations, the impact on access to medicines and the cost to our health service, the inclusion of investor state dispute provisions which would allow corporations to sue our government in international tribunals, the impact on patents and copyright laws, the impact on both local bodies’ and government’s ability to procure goods and services locally, our ability to take measures to prevent climate change, the likelihood the TPP will override the Treaty of Waitangi, the fact that the agreement is binding for the foreseeable future no matter if we change the government. These are all legitimate concerns based on the information from the agreement leaked through Wikileaks. Continue reading