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Tell Key to keep Pharmac

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 am, June 2nd, 2011 - 35 comments
Categories: capitalism, john key, leadership, overseas investment, us politics - Tags: , ,

Like the ACC, Pharmac is a Kiwi institution that delivers benefits to everyone at a lower cost than other countries. National has got ACC on the butcher’s block. We must make sure that Pharmac doesn’t follow.

The problem is that the government is trying to negotiate a free trade agreement with America (the TPP). Pharmac pisses of the American drug companies, so (via their puppet politicians) they’re applying pressure to the government to ditch Pharmac as the price of the deal. We’d have to be mad to agree. Here’s Gareth Morgan’s take:

Pharmac bashers need a dose of reality

Despite being the chief advocate for free trade, the United States has a reputation for negotiating trade deals that turn out to have more fish hooks in them than a Japanese long-liner. Could the Trans Pacific Partnership deal be shaping up to be another example?

Behind the scenes, drug companies are spreading misinformation to undermine our state monopoly drug purchaser Pharmac. …

Pharmac’s job is to get the best value for the budget it manages, and it does this job very well. It does this by buying the medicines that add the most years of healthy life for the money spent, and striking the best deal with the pharmaceutical giants. …

But of course the drug oligopoly wishes it could control our drug budget, and will no doubt be seeking the backing of US government negotiators.

Tough. Leave Pharmac alone, America, just buy our butter and wool and we’ll buy your Harley-Davidsons. Or get lost and we’ll deal with China instead.

This anonymous Herald editorial gets it: “Pharmac more important than US deal”. The Labour Party get it. Phil Goff says we won’t weaken Pharmac for the TPP — this is “an absolute bottom line”. But do the Nats get it? Key is dithering:

Prime Minister John Key says the New Zealand Government would take “a fair bit of convincing” that Pharmac wasn’t the best model to keep under the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement under negotiation.

He made his comment after 28 United States senators wrote to President Barack Obama expressing concerns about intellectual property aspects of the TPP, alluding to without naming Pharmac.

“A fair bit of convincing”? Not good enough. Pharmac is a proven asset to our country. Key needs to grow a pair and tell America it is not negotiable. And if that sinks the TPP, so much the better. The TPP is a poisoned chalice that requires us to surrender far too much of our soverignty. If we can get an acceptable free trade agreement with America, well and good. But the TPP isn’t it.

35 comments on “Tell Key to keep Pharmac”

  1. Jim Nald 1

    Is there a petition (online or hard copy) that folks can sign up to?

  2. M 2

    First our drugs, next our socialised health care and if that’s the case we can look forward to twelve year-olds dying from abscessed teeth like they do in America.

  3. JS 3

    I’ve heard that there is a clause in the TPP that says you can’t go back on a decision made. So once gone or privatised there is no chance to re-nationalise.

    • Jim Nald 3.1

      Oh, so no chance of Kiwi Treaty settlements in a hundred years from now?

      How come this new wave of “partnership” bullshit agreement is starting to look like Colonisation 2.0 ?

      And what might the new glass beads and blankets look like this time round to entice us?

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Because it is Colonisation 2.0. Although, considering how much of our wealth already flows offshore from previous FTA and neo-liberal policies, that may be more like 3.0 or 4.0.

  4. PeteG 4

    I don’t think it should be non-negotiable, minor changes that don’t affect the strengths of Pharmac wouldn’t matter – and an agreeement that improved our drug access/pricing would be good (albeit unlikely).

    But I agree that we should make it clear we don’t want Pharmac adversely affected by any trade agreement, and best to make it clear now.

    • Blighty 4.1

      what minor changes that will satisfy US Big Pharma but not hurt Pharmac are you suggesting?

      This sounds like you’re going for the fallacy of the middle ground because you instinctively don’t like government agencies, even hugely successful ones like Pharmac.

      • PeteG 4.1.1

        Wrong – I instinctively like Pharmac. I think it should be retained as it is.

        I just don’t think it’s wise to absolutely rule out any negotiation. It’s possible, and I’d say preferable, to go in to negotiations with no change to Pharmac as a bottom line without openly revealing that.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1

          If the negotiation doesn’t bring any benefit, which the TPPA won’t, then it’s wise to put forward that which we won’t move upon.

      • Jim Nald 4.1.2

        The RWNJs’ economic vandalism and policy terrorism agenda is simple: smash or sell

      • Lanthanide 4.1.3

        Well I agree with PeteG in principal. I think it’s possible that there could be some small tweaks around the edges for Pharmac that won’t damage it unduly, and we shouldn’t chuck out the whole deal if small concessions can be made.
         
        But I take your point that it seems unlikely there would be much room to move in that arena – most changes acceptable to the US companies would be bad for us.

  5. prism 5

    The health allocation is one of the biggest costs to the government budget. There is an uneasy alliance between the sick person and the drug company with mutual need and ambivalent attitudes.
    They need to make a profit and pay for their research, that no doubt is often unsuccessful. We need to be not impoverished after buying their product.

    The drug companies are so big that they can buy politicians, flatter them, treat them, offer inducements, holidays, etc. I remember a story about the top judiciary of one or more USA states having a paid golfing weekend by some company, which might not have been a drug company. It would seem dangerous from the point of affecting their objectivity overall but worse because the company sponsor was in court before one or more of the judges at the time.

    So we need to watch that our ongoing NZ government system doesn’t get screwed for ever because of decisions made in a short period of governance by pleasure seekers and austere followers of the distorted sect of neo liberalism.

  6. stever 6

    It’s not just the politicians that get the treatment—GPs and specialists too get inducements to look kindly on drugs, and while they have little choice here in NZ than to go with Pharmac (for many people), the pressure must be worth applying or the companies would not indulge in it.

  7. William Joyce 7

    I wondered about the late November date to the election until I heard that the next milestone in the TPP (I think) is a preliminary signing in November. Did Johnny boy want to be around to do this on behalf of his handlers or am I seeing a conspiracy where one doesn’t exist?
    Someone better informed than me could answer this?

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      There are a whole myriad of reasons for announcing the election so early in the year. TPP could certainly be one of them, but I think the biggest two factors are the rubber wool cup and Key wanting to appear as principled and above petty brinkmanship.
       
      Possibly the Sept 4th earthquake also played into it – by November there should have been some good momentum going (was apparently going to crack into gear in late Feb-March anyway). Of course the announcement was made before the Feb 22nd quake, and it is in some ways remarkable that he didn’t pull the election in to late April or early May, with the excuse that the budget would be all about a response to Chch and therefore required a fresh mandate.

  8. ianmac 8

    Would Mr Key allow a short term gain in exchange for a long term loss? Surely not.
    But wait. Sell electricity companies to get a short term gain but a long term loss. Umm yes.
    There’s therefore more. Trade off Pharmac’s independence for short term US approval but long term loss for the patients of NZ.
    Would Key do that? He made a non-scientific Herceptin decision by over-ruling Pharmac for political gain. So yes.
    Would he do it again?

    • PeteG 8.1

      What if a trade agreement was reached that would end up costing Pharmac $500m more a year, but would virtually guarantee additional trade and business to the country that would generate an additional $1b in taxes? Including extra jobs.

      I don’t think “going for the middle ground” is anything like “considering all options and possibilities”.

      • prism 8.1.1

        Oh PeteG you little cheer germ. What if? dreams are so lovely and bright. The USA doesn’t even care about its own people and businesses, but they do have the ability to lobby and get protection from overseas competition.

        Australia has been putting up barriers to our apples with fascinating side trips into paranoid stories such as that a NZ scientist himself ‘planted’ some fireblight-contaminated plant which he had found in a park he was strolling in. The USA can do much better than that.

        Some years ago we were happily exporting beef or lamb to them under a ‘gentlemens’ quota which also applied to Oz. But they had a drought and got rid of the resultant excess of meat by exceeding the quota. The USA farmers were indignant and a swingeing tax was put on not only Australia but also NZ and we had been complying up to that point. Only then did we up our exports to take advantage of the window before the new tariff which remained for some time.

        The USA will give us little of worth and take much of what our little country has achieved for our successful advantage. We will be the losers. The Aussies didn’t get much out of their free trade agreement with the USA. Our pollies are just playing ‘me too, me too’.

        • PeteG 8.1.1.1

          I’m not cheerful about the chances of the US going subsidy free and trading freely. No harm in trying as part of a wider deal but there are easier, more fair trading partners.

          I was only positing the complexities of making absolute non negotiable stands. Everything ends up being a compromise with trade offs – but I’m sure that Kiwis as a whole would be very annoyed if Pharmac is compromised.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.2

          Last time I looked, the Australian FTA with the US was costing them $700m with no benefits.

      • William Joyce 8.1.2

        Bird in the hand, PeteG. If you think that a back door access will be opened for our goods then you underestimate the farming lobby of the US and the level of appeasement that congress members will accept in order to get re-elected.
        There are sooooo many subsidies, federal programmes, and protectionist practices that have been granted to farmers from pork-barrel politics.
        That back door access will be slammed shut despite the TPP. They will find another way to continue their protected, subsidised farming by leaning on the local pollies.
        To surrender what we already have (Pharmac) for the promise of free trade from the TPP is stupid and irresponsible.
        And to think that we should amounts to brown-nosing the US bully-boy corporates!

        • Lanthanide 8.1.2.1

          I’ve heard that many farmers in rural US knew that the corn ethanol programme was a huge scam, but they voted for Bush because he put money (tens of thousands/year) into their back pockets because of it.
           
          The US is the only country in the world that uses High Fructose Corn Syrup as a general sweetener for food products, to the point that Coca Cola made with cane sugar is called “Mexican coke” and is actually imported from Mexico. This is only feasible because of the ridiculous subsidies given to corn farmers and tariffs applied to imported sugar to protect the farmers. It is believed that the use of HFCS is a factor underlying much of American obesity.
           
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-fructose_corn_syrup

          • William Joyce 8.1.2.1.1

            I think that it was Nixon that instituted subsidies on corn and that made corn syrup so cheap. So cheap that it, as you say, is over used as a sweetener.
            Also so cheap that it is a main food in their factory, in door, disease breeding, overcrowded cattle barns. Cheaper than raising beef on grass!
            Grass farmers are selling up to factory corporates because they can not raise grass-fed beef cheaper than corn-fed.
            The problem is that cattle can’t digest corn properly. You have to stick a hose down their throats to get the accumulated gas out else they die.
            Then of course comes the ethanol requirements for fuel and the subsidies, that you mention, for farmers to grow more corn.
            With over US$20 billion already in US “income stability” subsidies for farmers, with the TPP, all I see is another “income stability” subsidy going to US farmers that will make US dairy and meat cheaper than the imported, grass-fed, relatively humanely raised NZ beef and dairy.
            So even if we get our product in they will have to promote an  edge (ie. taste, animal welfare, etc) other than price.

            • prism 8.1.2.1.1.1

              W Joyce that is interesting stuff. Sounds as if you know your subject. How often would the gas release treatment have to be given to the USA cows? Here farmers have to watch cows that eat too much new grass growth. That’s where the bloat arises isn’t it.? Then I’ve heard of kids chasing the cow around the paddock to release the gas or a knife being put into the stomach somewhere to release it or else the cow can swell, is it with fermentation, and die.

              • lprent

                I have done the latter

              • William Joyce

                Prism, I’m just a case of urban boy listening to a US NPR doco on the wireless/internet.
                Not sure how often grass fed cows burp but they are prone to bloat if they eat certain food in certain seasons.
                The inability to process corn or soy properly makes them more prone to bloat so I guess the methane producing bacteria produce more gas. It could also be made worse by the factory barns where they can not “walk it off”.

  9. johnm 9

    I can’t understand why anyone would want to have a free trade agreement with the U$: A third World (Heading rapidly that way) Banana Republic of incredible wealth disparities that people only acknowledge because they have the biggest arsenal of bombs and bullets the World will ever know.

    Oh I forgot! Shonkey has a house there: he’s almost an American citizen!

    • johnm 9.1

      He also worked for Merrill Lynch, a crooked wall street money manipulator outfit where he made a financial killing sitting at a computer monitor!

  10. johnm 10

    Yes Shonkey has worked and continues to work for The Wall Street asset stripper club( NZ affiliated branch!). NZers in love with their tax cut sweeties still support him! Sick!

    “Most Americans it is clear are as powerless as the rest of the world to detain this Washington chainsaw massacre that is as predictable as a Peckinpah orgy unfolding before those of us that have bothered to read the Mein Kampf script. It is seen and understood for what it is but unfortunately power is out of our hands; we cannot influence the impending crash under the present circumstances where all power is concentrated in the few. The whited sepulchre of a Congress that meekly rubber stamps the corpocracy’s global death grip, only adds insult to injury by upholding the illusion of a functioning democracy for anyone that still might give a damn about right and wrong.
    The elite of this crumbling, has been “republic” are evil and debauched to the core while Joe and Smo Crackpipe are oblivious to the global stench of dead bodies wafting across a planet that utterly despises everything that America stands for. The good thing about the drug addled, suited thugs and banksters running riot in the sewer that is Washington and Wall St is that the empire is decomposing just as quickly at home as on the rim of its fetid outer colonies. Today where history moves with the speed of light the NSA CIA geeks with their gadgets and remote controlled Predators and Reapers just don’t seem to grasp the reality down here on the ground : that the gangrene is beyond stopping. When a government has so much fear of its own citizens that dancing becomes a threat and must be suppressed at all costs then that is indeed a despotic society that is not far from opening up the much ballyhooed Fema Concentration Camps. ”

    Would you do a deal with this to get rid of PHARMAC?

  11. thatguynz 11

    Does anybody honestly think that there will be ANY benefit to NZ signing on to the TPPA? I can see tremendous benefit to US corporations but for the NZ populace, not 1. In fact I would be so bold as to suggest that signing this would be every bit as bad/silly/naive as the asset sales that are being proposed. That being said, it completely aligns with the NACT ideology so I would expect nothing else but for them to advocate this as a good idea. The fact that Labour haven’t come out and categorically stated that they would remove NZ from these “negotiations” concerns me…

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      Actually, Labour have come out and said that they support the negotiations but have said that they don’t support dumping Pharmac for them.

    • ianmac 11.2

      The benefit for a TPPA is largely a political “coup” for John Key’s election prospects. Politically pragmatic? Or straight out unscrupulous?

  12. johnm 12

    Another example of Shonkey’s Wall Street asset strippers club in action: not ACC, Pharmac or SOEs but old people being ripped of by a Wall Street suited criminal in the UK:

    Sharks who made a killing out of ‘care’: How City predators destroyed firm caring for 31,000 old people
    Care-home bailout could cost £600m
    Second biggest care company also in trouble
    Shark: Stephen Schwarzman’s U.S. private equity firm Blackstone bought out Southern Cross Healthcare in 2004 before selling them three years later
    The U.S. private equity firm Blackstone, led by Stephen Schwarzman, bought Southern Cross in 2004 for £162million and sold it three years later. It is believed to have quadrupled its investment.
    Old People were ripped off for a return of pounds 648 million. Great American Business!

    Refer link:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1393294/Southern-Cross-Healthcare-destroyed-Stephen-Schwarzmans-private-equity-firm-Blackstone.html

  13. johnm 13

    This Wall Street Crim Schwarzman had a great 60th birthday attended by amongst others the War Criminal Colin Powell who last year was giving tips to Paula Bennett on “corporate responsibility” Like the case in point here where 30,000 old folks get ripped off for profit!

    “He was certainly the king of conspicuous consumption. While other private equity moguls tend to be shy of publicity, Schwarzman – a graduate of Yale University, where he was a member of its exclusive Skull and Bones Society – liked to advertise his self-indulgence at every opportunity.

    In 2007, he paid Rod Stewart a reported $1million to perform at his extravagant 60th birthday party at which Patti LaBelle led the Abyssinian Baptist Choir singing He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands in his honour. Guests included Colin Powell and the New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.”

    Refer link above

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    2 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    A mass government house-building programme is a favourite policy of the left for solving the Auckland housing crisis. Use cheap government capital, build affordable, energy-efficient homes, mass produce them to get efficiencies of scale, and get people back into owning… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    A mass government house-building programme is a favourite policy of the left for solving the Auckland housing crisis. Use cheap government capital, build affordable, energy-efficient homes, mass produce them to get efficiencies of scale, and get people back into owning… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protected: Tributes to Dame Margaret Sparrow
    This post is password protected. You must visit the website and enter the password to continue reading.Filed under: Uncategorized ...
    ALRANZBy ALRANZ
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and New Zealand
    There’s a 2009 sci-fi novel by China Miéville called The City and the City. The action takes place in two separate cities which overlap each other geographically, but the denizens of each city is compelled to ‘Unsee’ things they see happening in… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and New Zealand
    There’s a 2009 sci-fi novel by China Miéville called The City and the City. The action takes place in two separate cities which overlap each other geographically, but the denizens of each city is compelled to ‘Unsee’ things they see happening in… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Breaking free from fossil fuels – the risk we take is not taking action
    Last week, #BreakFree2016 wrapped up across the globe. Greenpeace joined with many inspiring organisations in a global wave of peaceful actions that lasted for 12 days and took place across six continents to target the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects.In places… ...
    2 days ago
  • More odious debt
    The media over the last few days has been full of stories about WINZ and odious debt. But the worst one is this:A woman with eight children living in emergency housing is facing a debt to Work and Income of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • More odious debt
    The media over the last few days has been full of stories about WINZ and odious debt. But the worst one is this:A woman with eight children living in emergency housing is facing a debt to Work and Income of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    2 days ago
  • Additional Harbour Crossing ill-considered and over-rushed.
    We are increasingly concerned that Auckland is in the middle of very poor process where by far the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure project is being forced along and at ill-considered speed without anything like the level of public participation nor detailed… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    2 days ago
  • Tinder and 3nder are officially at war
    Your right to swipe for threesomes is under threat.    Some clean-cut millennials enjoying the 3nder afterglow. 1232RF Those for whom three is the magic sex-number should know that one's right to swipe one's way into a six-limb circus is… ...
    2 days ago
  • Weekly Listening: Die Antwoord, Joey Purp, King Kapisi and more
    A showcase of some of the best new music releases from the past week.   Joey Purp - GIRLS @ Feat. Chance The Rapper This track might be the catchiest three minutes and 32 seconds to hit your ears… ...
    2 days ago
  • Some big news, for me
    Two pieces of news that are kind of a big deal, for me. Firstly, I’m ditching my landline! I’m not a student and I’m not in a low income band, so make of that what you will. Secondly, after 10… ...
    GrumpollieBy Andrew
    2 days ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Start as you mean to go on
    The GCSB has a new director: His family tease him by calling him Johnny English. He has a 3000-strong record collection – not classical, but some “out there” 1980s indie rock. Andrew Hampton is also a government fix-it man –… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    frogblogBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    2 days ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    2 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    frogblogBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    frogblogBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • What we are expected to believe
    In recent months I have become increasingly concerned at the state of bullshit in this country. Bullshit, as Harry Frankfurt famously wrote, is distinguished not by its intentionally negative truth value (those are lies) but its absence of intentional truth… ...
    2 days ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    2 days ago
  • Why are whistleblowers being prosecuted as spies?
    Whistleblowers are a ‘check’ on government, corporate or organisational secrecy and malfeasance. I recently read Tim Shipman’s preview of the Chilcot report into the origins of the Tony Blair-led UK engagement in the US’s invasion of Iraq, which looked at… ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    2 days ago
  • Spend and Tax
    As a general rule, New Zealanders want more public spending. Surveys (such as the 2014 Election Survey) show consistent support for increases in spending, particularly in the areas of health, education, housing, law enforcement, public transport and the environment (in… ...
    Briefing PapersBy Brian Easton
    2 days ago
  • The birth place of the artist
    It may not be the best reason to fund the arts. It’s certainly not the only one. But travelling to the small city of Rovereto, at the feet of the Italian dolomites, reminded me of the lasting influence that a… ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    2 days ago

  • Minister won’t fess up on wrong figures
    The Minister of Health was caught out telling porkies in Parliament today when he was asked about the number of people getting access to mental health and addiction services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. ...
    11 hours ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    12 hours ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    12 hours ago
  • Scrambled announcement policy on the hoof
    Paula Bennett’s scrambled desperate announcement that she will pay homeless people to move to the regions is just the latest evidence of the disarray this Government’s housing policy is in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is policy… ...
    13 hours ago
  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    14 hours ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    14 hours ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    15 hours ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    15 hours ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    3 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    3 days ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    4 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    5 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
    Motorists who have been overcharged for their car registration should get a refund, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “Minister Nikki Kaye’s ‘faulty risk’ rating scheme has blown up in her face with over 170 different models of car having… ...
    6 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
    The Auckland Council’s statement today shows they don’t understand the problems created by the urban growth boundary, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “I have been the first to defend the Auckland City Council when Bill English has been blaming… ...
    6 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
    Labour is expressing concern for New Zealanders’ privacy rights as the Government signals Customs will have the power to inspect electronic devices coming across the border, says Labour’s Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “We agree that customs officers should have the… ...
    6 days ago
  • The Price of Water
    This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
    Today I received a petition from the NZ Captioning Working Group urging the government to legislate for accessibility via closed captioning for deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders. It was timely because today is the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    7 days ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    7 days ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    7 days ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
    On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    1 week ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
    A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Moko case should never have been manslaughter deal
    Confirmation again yesterday that the manslaughter charge in the Moko Rangitoheriri case was a deal done by the Crown Prosecution Service is justifiably the cause of outrage, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.“This should never have been a case where… ...
    1 week ago
  • Overseas investor funds school’s digital devices
    The Government must address the inequality laptops and tablets in classrooms are causing after a Queenstown school was forced to use a donation from an overseas investor to get their students digital devices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Documents obtained… ...
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Key plucks $3b out of thin air – reckless and irresponsible
    John Key refuses to give up on his dream of tax cuts to the wealthy, despite being shot down by Bill English, and is resorting to plucking numbers out of thin air, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “On radio… ...
    1 week ago
  • John Key woefully out of touch on homelessness
    John Key is completely out of touch if he thinks desperate South Auckland families forced to live in cars can simply go to Work and Income for help, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Many of these families are working and… ...
    1 week ago

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