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

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

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