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As expected, TPPA gives a peanut return

Written By: - Date published: 9:15 am, October 6th, 2015 - 177 comments
Categories: accountability, john key, phil goff, Politics, trade - Tags: , ,

In 15 to 25 years, the expected tariff reduction return to NZ will be (summarized by kiwiblog)

The Beehive site has some details on the deal. The savings on tariffs, once full implemented by sector are:

  • Dairy $102 million
  • Meat $72 million
  • Fruit and vegetables $26 million
  • Other agriculture $18 million
  • Wine $10 million
  • Manufacturing $10 million
  • Forestry $9 million
  • Fish $8 million
  • Wool $4 million

Somewhere around $260 million per year in possible benefits long after I have retired. The upbeat guesstimates by the beehive propaganda sheet say

The full benefit of TPP is estimated to be at least $2.7 billion a year extra in New Zealand’s GDP by 2030.

To give you a sense of the scale of Tim Groser’s achievement, compare it to the current exports to China

Source: Statistics New Zealand
Country Goods NZ$ Millions Services NZ$ Millions Total NZ$ Millions Year end
Australia 8,773  4,076 12,850 31-Dec-14
China 9,986  1,829 11,815 31-Dec-14
United States 4,704  2,577 7,281 31-Dec-14
Japan 2,938  709 3,648 31-Dec-14

This is less than 7 years after signing the Chinese Free trade agreement.  The starting base of trade with China in 2007 started at well less than $2 billion.

It was an effective free trade agreement. As its architect Phil Goff justifiably said 5 years after the agreement came into effect.

I predicted at the time that the Agreement would increase New Zealand exports to China by up to $350 million a year. In fact we have done better than that with our exports trebling to $6 billion over the period.

So the increase in exports alone per year from the China FTA is greater than the expected export benefits to NZ from the TPPA in 15+ years. Yeah right… That sucks as a free trade agreement.

However the costs of the TPPA agreement start immediately. As an example and using the conservative estimate from Tim Groser, $4.5 million extra for Pharmec  in the first year to install software, and increasing its costs by $2.5 million per year. So in 15 years, this means that Pharmac will have cost the taxpayer an extra $42 million.

By less self-serving measures, the whining processes that have to be set up for pharmaceutical firms as part of the TPPA alone will probably add 10’s of millions to the Pharmac costs in both the costs of the process and in the way it allows those companies to jam their expensive medicines into the taxpaid system.

And this is before we consider the time value of money. I have no idea what the cost of the TPPA negotiation was for NZ. But I’d expect it far exceeds  the $26 million that John Key is wasting on his egotistical and fatally flawed flag referendum.  Just think what that money wasted on these exercises in egotism could have done over 15 years if it was invested in something more productive.

177 comments on “As expected, TPPA gives a peanut return ”

  1. Ad 1

    When Key speaks now I actually see the rats moving inside him.

  2. infused 2

    In 15 – 25 years I expect you are going to be completely wrong.

    • Ad 2.2

      The point of good government isn’t to predict the future; the point is to make it happen.

      LPrent is showing the stark difference between competent government generating an actual Free Trade Agreement, and the TPPA in which the best the government can offer is to apologize from the beginning and then keep apologizing.

      That is the difference here between a Labour government and a National government.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    Tim Groser is saying that the benefits of $2.7B per year are likely grossly understating what the actual benefits will be, and he is using the China FTA as the example as to why.

    It’s also impossible to estimate network and downstream effects, eg how many companies will be created because of new opportunities that otherwise would not have existed at all.

    • lprent 3.1

      The comparison is flawed. The difference is that we already have a lot of trade with all of the major economies in the agreement because they don’t have significant trade barriers for anything apart from agriculture. There is limited scope for expansion of exports. Unlike China.

      So I doubt we will get exports even close to $2.7 billion by 2030. We are more likely to get a small multiple of the expected tariff drops in exports.

      Basically Groser is dreaming.

    • Tracey 3.2

      Interesting that he thinks he negotiated a deal on flawed projections. Does he admit the cost/burden will be greater than he projected too?

      Lanta do you know what 2.7b per year in 2030 might be in today’s money?

      • lprent 3.2.1

        That 2.7 will probably be in today’s money. Predicting future inflation rates is like playing with random number generators. Generally most estimation forward is done in current dollars.

        Similarly doing discount cash analysis or any other project analysis is done on effective return/cost/interest rates in current dollars to remove inflation.

  4. millsy 4

    Most of the jobs created by this will be snapped up by migrants, so no real gains there. Meanwhile we will just have to sit by and watch as rents and house prices spiral out of control.

  5. Tel 5

    With so many of the savings on tariff based around the agricultural sector, NZ needs to improve it’s bio-security laws and implementation urgently. We’re an agricultural exporter, and excluding dairy as a main player, reasonably diverse, but with so many of our eggs in one basket we’re very exposed; especially to companies like Monsanto making use of the TPP intellectual property rights. Monsanto have a finger in so many intellectual property pies; genetically modified foods, crops, seeds, drugs, chemicals, and pesticides, and lets be honest here, they don’t have a good track record.

    Interesting the first piece of news on Radio NZ news this morning was not about the TPPA trade restriction deal, but about colony collapse in NZ due to pesticides.


  6. Puckish Rogue 6

    Well done Tim Groser, it can’t have been easy when you have such a small economy to work with but you managed to get concessions and in the future this will seen as a very good thing for NZ

    • Paul 6.1


    • millsy 6.2

      Not for those who will probably end up having to pay through the nose for things such as water, power, housing etc, just so shareholders can get a higher and higher return.

    • hey no need for personal attacks – it’s not tims fault he has ‘small economy to work with’ – we all have our issues, let’s not be too quick to judge puck

      • Puckish Rogue 6.3.1

        Meaning he has a lot less to work with whereas the bigger countries can and did play hard ball

        So well done Tim , he can now take a well-deserved break and of course a tip of the hat to Helen Clark and Phil Goff for the very good work they did all the way back when

    • maui 6.4

      That’s ok then, its going to be a very good thing in the end. My concerns are eased, just like when I heard the government would only sign if the best deal was on the table… In National we trust..

    • KJT 6.5

      Wait until your local council are stuck with using Bell Ameritech, instead of Northpower, as Bell give a lower initial price, so they can gouge us later.

      Then watch the court case when we try to limit the gouging with local competition or price controls.

      Anyone who is not terrified by the implications, hasn’t been watching.

      Or, like the apologists for National on here. blind “authoritarian followers”. “The Government knows best”.
      Anyone who thinks that, haven’t met the braying fools, that comprise most of National.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    arise Sir dear leader and Sir Groser… in recognition of services to and for the US corporate sector and international pharmaceutical industry

  8. northshoredoc 8

    It appears that those who are determined to find fault will do so.

    Suffice to say that the additional costs to PHARMAC processes are likely well overestimated and are not out of line with their annual increase in operating expenses.

    If as per the NZ herald

    -Under TPP the Government has agreed to set up an internal review process for funding applications that are declined by Pharmac.
    -It has also agreed that there will be a timeframe set for the consideration of funding applications. Any extra costs will be borne by the Government.
    -There will be no change to the standard 20-year patent period for pharmaceuticals in New Zealand but other countries will be required to extend the period on specific drugs if the approval processes are too long.
    -On the issue of biologics, the present five-year period of data exclusivity will remain.

    Nothing at all has really changed and the doom sayers should be looking elsewhere for hooks and downsides.

    I’m surprised that they got anywhere with dairy and still suspect some major pushback for the dairy lobby in the USA and japan. Horticulture and meat look like quite positive positions……I wonder if we’ll see seem conversion of farming back to beef/lamb from dairy over the coming decades ?

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      “I wonder if we’ll see seem conversion of farming back to beef/lamb from dairy over the coming decades ?”

      That will be pushed by climate change, not ‘trade’ agreements.

      • maui 8.1.1

        Its also assuming countries will be able to afford to trade with eachother anything like they do now.

      • northshoredoc 8.1.2

        I think that’s a very fair comment lanthanide, although there is some very useful science going on decreasing the methane production of the dairy herd which may make us rethink that view.

        • lprent

          Not any more. The scientists doing that appear to have been targeted in the last round of redundancies by the government

          • northshoredoc

            No I can actually refute that one – the science(scientists) in question are still there any are reaming untouched. One of them is a family member.

          • lprent

            Link on that. http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/285230/research-'abandoned'-in-agresearch-cuts

            The Crown research institute has confirmed it will cut the jobs of of 33 scientists and 50 technicians during the next year, as part of a restructuring to cope with a $5 million cut in funding.

            Their research in greenhouse gases, animal and forage sciences and on-farm tech support is being scaled back, while 27 new roles are being introduced in food security, Maori agri-business, high value foods and innovative food products.

            AgResearch chair Sam Robinson said the changes were in response to a changing demand.

            I won’t even bother saying how totally dumb and short-sighted that I think this decision was. The primary reason for this was persistent underfunding of required long-term research by this government.

    • yeah yeah we know where you stand – you keep reminding us continuously – why you bother with us ‘chicken little’s and loonies’ I’ll never know.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2.1

        For one thing, unless you make an effort to falsify your own opinion you can’t have any confidence in it.

        • marty mars

          don’t get that – probably too many ‘yous’ in there – I’m sure you can say what you want to say

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Spin more than one hypothesis. If there’s something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among “multiple working hypotheses,” has a much better chance of being the right answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.

            Carl Sagan.

            • marty mars

              gotcha – ta

              aren’t the chicken littles and loonies offering alternative hypotheses

              what place intuition based upon lived reality which can cut to the chase – i’m sure many scientific advances were based upon moments of clarity and intuition that defied the thinking of the time

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                By definition, Chicken Little et al* offer notions, rather than hypotheses 😉

                *not to mention most right wing contributors.

                • does describing people as chicken little’s and loonies seem petulant and premature – when they offer ‘notions’ based upon their understanding of a secret negotiation and the spin coming from the negotiators and supporters after the negotiations have concluded.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Well sure, it’s pejorative.

                    NSD is under no obligation to be polite, especially considering the regular personal attacks they receive from certain quarters.

                    NSD regularly corrects false impressions about Pharmac and medicine pricing. So far as I’m concerned informed debate is better than the other sort.

      • northshoredoc 8.2.2

        @MM my comment regarding chicken littles and loonies was directed at the likes of paul and mills, you may remember like to remember the full comment I posted rather than highlighting just one bit.

    • KJT 8.3

      So the fact that no Government in future can legislate in a way that threatens “anticipated” corporate profits without threat of expensive litigation doesn’t disturb you?

      When a US health conglomerate demands the right to monopolise all medical practises in NZ, for example.

      • northshoredoc 8.3.1

        “When a US health conglomerate demands the right to monopolise all medical practises in NZ, for example.”

        ha ha… how’s that going to work champ ? You really do need to get a grip.

        • Tracey

          not in one fell swoop Doc, nothing ever does… softy softly catchee monkey

          • northshoredoc

            NZ medical practises by and large are owned and operated by GPs once again I ask you how are these going to become monopoly owned by USA conglomerates ?

            Now if you were to make the argument that a conglomerate such as Aetna might be interested in purchasing Southern Cross and its private hospitals – sure that’s possible – so what ?

            • Tracey

              It wasn’t my argument. My comment was that just because you (I) can’t imagine how something could happen, fast forward 10 or 20 years and it might be… that’s all.

        • KJT

          Already happened. in Mexico and Canada under NAFTA. Chump!

          • northshoredoc

            So under NAFTAA US corporate has demanded the right to monopolise all medical practises in Mexico and Canada, have you got a link for that – sounds interesting.

            • KJT

              Future Government will have to think twice before breaking up say, Aetna, if they happen to have bought a monopoly on most medical provision in New Zealand. The liability under ISDS, as cases overseas have proved, is enough to scare any small countries Government into submission.

              Corporates are of course, over the moon, that laws such as the former US “antitrust legislation” will be forever impossible.

    • Tracey 8.4

      We are as in the dark as we we yesterday Doc. Notably fed farmers and Fonterra had a bit more info yesterday than we had, but then, they were invited, the people weren’t.

      Whether they got anywhere with dairy is determined also by what they already had with Canada because despite what this government says, my understanding is that some of our dairy products could already go into Canada without triggering tariffs.

    • Tracey 8.5

      Do you know what environmental provisions were agreed to?

      • Bob 8.5.1

        Here you go: http://www.tpp.mfat.govt.nz/assets/docs/TPP12%20summary%20of%20the%20Agreement.pdf

        20. Environment
        As home to a significant portion of the world’s people, wildlife, plants and marine species, TPP Parties share a strong commitment to protecting
        and conserving the environment, including by working together to address environmental challenges, such as pollution, illegal wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, illegal fishing, and protection of the marine environment. The 12 Parties agree to effectively enforce their environmental laws; and not to weaken environmental laws in order to encourage trade or investment. They also agree to fulfil their obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and to take measures to combat and cooperate to prevent trade in wild fauna and flora that has been taken illegally. In addition, the Parties agree to promote sustainable forest management, and to protect and conserve wild fauna and flora that they have identified as being at risk in their territories, including through measures to conserve the ecological integrity of specially protected natural areas, such as wetlands. In an effort to protect their shared oceans, TPP Parties agree to sustainable fisheries management, to promote conservation of important marine species, including sharks, to combat illegal fishing, and to prohibit some of the most harmful fisheries subsidies that negatively affect overfished fish stocks, and that support illegal, unreported, or unregulated fishing. They also agree to enhance transparency related to such subsidy programs, and to make best efforts to refrain from introducing new subsidies that contribute to overfishing or overcapacity. TPP Parties also agree to protect the marine environment from ship pollution and to protect the ozone layer from ozone depleting substances. They reaffirm their commitment to implement the multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) they have joined. The Parties commit to provide transparency in environmental decision-making, implementation and enforcement. In addition, the Parties agree to provide opportunities for public input in implementation of the Environment chapter, including through public submissions and public sessions of the Environment Committee established to oversee chapter implementation. The chapter is subject to the dispute settlement procedure laid out in the Dispute Settlement chapter. The Parties further agree to encourage voluntary environmental initiatives, such as corporate social responsibility programs. Finally, the Parties commit to cooperate to address matters of joint or common interest, including in the areas of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and transition to low-emissions and resilient economies.

        • McFlock

          So ozone is covered but not carbon emissions.

          • Bob

            Obviously another tl;dr aye McFlock:
            “Finally, the Parties commit to cooperate to address matters of joint or common interest, including in the areas of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and transition to low-emissions and resilient economies.”
            Restricting the text to carbon emissions would leave Nitrous Oxide and Fluorinated Gases out of the deal. Car manufacturers might have been happy with that I guess…

            • McFlock

              Read that. So everyone gets to argue about “common interest”.

              Carbon is the main AGW problem. Ozone depletion was mentioned, but not AGW. Slow clap if you can pick the reason.

        • KJT

          “The 12 Parties agree to effectively enforce their environmental laws; and not to weaken environmental laws in order to encourage trade or investment”.

          The effect of this is to freeze environment laws in their current position.

          Lawyers are going to make a fortune, at the expense of any Government that tries to add to their environment laws.

          • Bob

            I actually read that a completely different way KJT, I read that as ‘National can no longer proceed with the weakening of the Resource Management Act’, but apparently I’m just a RWNJ, so I could be wrong…

            • KJT

              They will not be sued for billions for weakening it, even if it is against the FTA. Only overseas corporates can sue under ISDS

              Labour/Greens will be if they wish to extend it in future.

              Imagine the costs of a court case under the ISDS provisions, if we decided to further restrict BP drilling in the Kermadecs, for example. No Government would dare to pass such legislation and expose New Zealand to billions in liabilities.

            • maui

              Except an agreement that panders to global corporations in various areas hardly seems like one that would strengthen a countrys own laws. Maybe you want to point to the environmental groups that are welcoming this agreement?

        • RedBaronCV

          It was an interesting read until we hit this.

          “The chapter is subject to the dispute settlement procedure laid out in the Dispute Settlement chapter. ”

          which tells us that the rest doesn’t mean a thing

        • Tracey

          what is the date on that provision Bob? Or has the agreement been released early?

  9. Paul 9

    Gordon Campbell on the TPP deal reached in Atlanta

    ‘If the TPP was the Rugby World Cup, the New Zealand team probably wouldn’t be making it out of pool play. While the final details will not emerge for a month, the TPP is offering disappointing returns for New Zealand… and over a very long phase-in period… of up to 25 years in major areas important to us, even though many of the concessions we have made would take immediate effect.

    Typically, Prime Minister John Key has already been spinning the “93% tariff free” outcome across the TPP region, as if that situation was entirely due to the TPP deal. To get that figure, Key is adding all pre-existing tariff reductions and adding them to the TPP. To take a relevant example… 80% of US trade with other TPP members is already duty free.’

    Read more here


  10. Paul 10

    Read this…it’s our future under the TPPA

    ‘NAFTA ruling in Nova Scotia quarry case sparks fears for future settlements

    A NAFTA arbitration panel has ruled against Canada in a claim by a U.S. company that wanted to develop a quarry in Nova Scotia, although a dissenting member of the panel warned that the decision will be seen as a “remarkable step backwards” in environmental protection.’


    • Paul 11.1


      ‘When your friends and family start dying of the cancers their poisons spread and the fish disappear because Fukushima finally reaches your shores you will know an anguish you would not wish on your worst enemies.

      When your village drowns in toxins from fracking they’ll be circling to take the drags while your children die and your cattle can no longer feed of the land.

      When their bosses call, they will send your kids into their godforsaken wars and if you think you can call on the “treaty” to protect you they will laugh and it will sound like a pack of hellish hyenas.

      You will know what it means to be a tenant on the land you once owned. You will know what it means to be driven off, used and abused, and left for dead while you try to make sense of what just happened.’

  11. Macro 12

    Lprent, here is a sum you might like to consider when trumpeting how wonderful our FTA with China has been. What have been the costs in terms of reduced employment, our continual dilution of labour laws (forced upon us by the competition from unregulated child labour and sweatshops off shore) , the steady reduction in take home pay in real terms, and the resulting increased inequality and child poverty as a result of our FTA with China?
    We can expect more of the same with this even worse “deal” for corporate welfare so benevolently arranged by Groser.

    • lprent 12.1

      I wasn’t trumpeting the China FTA. There are significiant direct and indirect costs involved in it.

      However I was using it to compare scale – just as Tim Groser was doing.

    • dukeofurl 12.2

      Its gets worse:
      Australias FTA with China ( who isnt part of TPA) allows better access to Chinese skilled and semi skilled workers under their working visa regulations.

      “In Dr Howe’s assessment, Article 10.4, paragraph 3, of the FTA prevents the Australian government from putting any cap on the number of 457 visas issued to Chinese workers in two critical lower skilled categories: “contractual service suppliers of China” – basically trade qualified workers and “installers and servicers of China” – low skilled workers who will be able to access temporary visas.”

      Supposedly they are supposed to say no local workers are avialable but in practice that is easily got around, and in many cases existing local workers are replaced by cheaper overseas labour.
      Silver Fern Farms can expect local workers to be replaced by overseas contract workers once its takeover by a Chinese state owned company is complete

      • travellerev 12.2.1

        Nobody seems to know that the trade agreement with China will automatically extend to the TPPA provisions the moment New Zealand signs on to it. The same for the new Trade agreement with Saudi Arabia.

        Yep, those countries and their 1% can sue NZ for every perceived sleight or lack of profit the moment NZ signs the TPPA!

    • Macro 12.3

      Further to the above we also need to consider who are the beneficiaries of the income from the increased trade. In a word – “banks”.
      Farmers as a whole borrowed heavily to increase production – they are still paying that back.
      Truck drivers borrowed heavily to buy their logging truck and driving for a pittance – they are still paying that back.
      Logging companies working for off-shore owners work their workers to exhaustion in order to make a profit.
      and so on…
      Not much of that “trickled” to the bottom of society – if any.

  12. Mike Bond 13

    It is unreal that Labour still try to find fault with this agreement. We are a small country and we could just as easy have been excluded from the deal. We have something of benefit to the country even if it is not what we would have preferred. The negativity from the left is really starting to have an effect on the way people think and it will be interesting to see how the polls react to this news. Lets face it, Key and National have not had a good run of late and despite that they have maintained their support. This is really the first good news from National for some time and try as they will, Labour can only look like the spoiled brat in the play ground that has not been included in the lunch time game.

    • Anne 13.1

      Labour can only look like the spoiled brat in the play ground that has not been included in the lunch time game.

      According to you.

      Apart from a brief comment by Annette King along the lines Labour intends to scrutinise as much of the deal as they can before committing themselves, Labour have remained largely silent about the TPPA.

      Assuming it is a pseudonym, your choice of surname does nor inspire confidence in your judgement.

    • Colonial Viper 13.2

      It is unreal that Labour still try to find fault with this agreement. We are a small country and we could just as easy have been excluded from the deal.

      We started the negotiations you pro-multinational anti-NZ business moron. It beggers belief that people like you keep advocating for corporate big business owned on the other side of the world at the detriment of your own country. Loser.

      • northshoredoc 13.2.1

        “We started the negotiations you pro-multinational anti-NZ business moron. It beggers belief that people like you keep advocating for corporate big business owned on the other side of the world at the detriment of your own country. Loser.”

        This looks remarkably similar to the types of smears you directed at me during our numerous debates regarding the utility of vaccination. Just because someone sees benefit in trade (in this particular case) it does not make them anti NZ and pro multinational. To suggest it does is silly and there’s been quite enough silliness published on this blog over the last few weeks.

  13. David H 14

    Peanuts??? Maybe the Shells. The Rats ate the rest.

  14. Thinking Right 15

    For as long as the TPPA drama has gone on the left have been crying wolf that the devil will be in the detail. (Loss of sovereignty, goodbye Pharmac etc.)

    Well now that a summary of the detail is out and it appears that the net benefit to NZ is fairly substantial with none of the (cookie) monsters raised by the left, now the only way for the left to save face is to say that the gains are less than what is realized with the China FTA?

    The people who are likely a bit nervous this morning are the Labour Caucus.
    Do they support an agreement which they started and which looks like a good deal for NZ and risk alienating their activist base or do they froth at the mouth and vote against the TPPA – making the activists happy but likely to put negative pressure on their poll ratings.

    A very difficult line to walk I would have thought. Also what will NZ First’s response be to this? If both they and Labour oppose then this may drive them both closer together politically but will likely see both drop in the polls.

    Happy times in politics.

    • Srylands 15.1

      Labour will support it. Otherwise they will look ridiculous to the voters they need to attract to win government. Any doubt about this was killed by Helen’s helpful intervention!

      • lprent 15.1.1

        You mean the bit where she said that it should be signed if it was a “good deal”?


        On the issue of Helen Clark’s comments about the TPP – she said it was unthinkable New Zealand wouldn’t be part of the deal – he said she had added a crucial rider – “provided the deal was good”.

        I still astonished that the NZ Herald managed to remove that crucial rider from their initial articles, leaving political morons like yourself to interpret as more than a very lukewarm support. But I guess that was the point really. It effectively promoted your kind of idiotic lying.

        So far it still looks like a shit deal, so it shouldn’t be supported by Labour. I suspect that Labour members and MPs won’t see this as a good deal.

    • lprent 15.2

      …now the only way for the left to save face is to say that the gains are less than what is realized with the China FTA?

      Ah no. Tim Groser raised the comparison with the China FTA. Hell, the Herald said that it was “Biggest deal in a generation” (but I note that Audrey Young’s actual title was somewhat more realistic).

      So I just took the opportunity to show how piss poor the expected results from the TPPA are compared to the best trade deal NZ has had in my lifetime. I haven’t even bothered to look at the cost side yet except in passing. I’ll need more details that I haven’t had time to read yet.

      • Mike Bond 15.2.1

        No one could persuade you as it is obvious you are one of those die hard lefties that believe if National do anything it is bad. It is sad that the left have stooped so low with the negativity. Negativity breeds negativity and you will always be a loser.

        [lprent: Ummm. Clearly you don’t understand much about me. Let me enlighten you. I’m an avid freer-trade supporter. I’ve supported every free-trade deal we have been involved in since CER. I don’t support restraint-of-trade agreements like this one.

        I have been exporting in virtually every company I have ever worked with. Every company I have worked in for the last 20 years has exported over 80% of their product and services, and usually more. To forestall the usual slogans of the idiotic right, I have never worked in the public sector for any job apart from holiday jobs as a kid and the odd contract while working for someone else.

        When I was a member of the NZLP, I was regarded as a economic “dry”. Somewhere well to the right of Phil Goff on most economic and trade matters.

        My favourite reading each week apart from books on programming techniques is The Economist. Of course having a 1986 MBA from Otago in operations management probably influenced that. So does my abandoned career in management – I discovered PCs just as as I was getting bored with running people.

        Loser? Depends what you are looking at. Knowing some of the other unthinking idiots of the right like you, I suspect you are probably into money. I have been heavily in the top tax brackets since my late 20s, usually paying direct and indirect taxes above the median wage. The only thing that ever held down my salary was my habit of jumping into startup tech companies and bootstrapping them into exporting. But that is because unlike simple minded munters like you and Mike Hosking, I really am not interested in doing things for any reason apart from enjoying myself – usually while working somewhere towards the bleeding edge. Money is a by-product of what I do rather than being the reason for doing it.

        But I am and always was a reluctant leftie. But unlike you I exercised my brain whilst growing up. I long ago saw the limitations as well as the strengths of market economies that short-sighted dumb fuckwits like you are reluctant to see past your simple-minded slogans. So I found that I supported the left more than right primarily because of the preponderance of short-sighted idiots like yourself on the other side. Just look at the National cabinet to see what I mean.

        If I say this looks like a crap deal, then it will take more than a fool like you for people who know me to not take it seriously. I work around exports and in the free and open markets of the world all of the time. It is pretty obvious that you don’t. You are just a angry little fool who likes to use your lower brain rathe rthan thinking.

        Oh in case you hadn’t realized, I don’t suffer ignorant fools like you gladly. I’m afraid I regard stupidity as an indication of outright laziness – far more common among the right than the left. ]

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          What a load of crap. I for one was slightly taken by surprise by Lprent’s opposition to this deal. I doubt you even know what motivates it, and you probably understand even less.

          The TPPA restrains trade, particularly in IP. Do you understand the difference between freedom and restraint?

          National’s track record is sub-standard in every quarter from per-capita GDP to the GINI, from human rights to the rule of law. Pointing this out isn’t negativity it’s good citizenship.

        • Mike Bond

          You could have kept quiet and left us all wondering if you are stupid, but you had to go and run off at the mouth to prove it. So sad that you have to try and boast your self esteem by boasting about your supposed achievements and earning potential on a site like this. The language you use really reflects a very classy, educated person! NOT.

          • One Anonymous Bloke


            Potential, eh. I bet Lynn wouldn’t mind doing it all over again but…

            PS: “be utterly ignorant of thine enemy”, said no-one, ever, and here you are.

            • lprent

              Yeah, Lyn would be having a go at me about my grammar and phrasing. She is the writer of human. I’m more used to writing for computers. Human feels so easy (no compilers) that I usually think I can write in it in a single pass.

              But I think that missive did the job of communicating my viewpoint on that particular meme pretty effectively.

          • lprent

            As I said – an ignorant idiot. First ‘Mike Bond’ is upset that I’m a ‘die hard lefty’. Then when I disabuse him of that little fantasy, the lazy and ignorant fool thinks that I am ‘boasting’.

            FFS if I was boasting then I’d talk about code and systems I have built or I am working on. Mostly I was talking about accidental byproducts of having a life doing what I want to do.

            I have no idea why he thinks that educated people don’t know how to use language. I thought that most of the point of having an education was so that you did. It is called growing an ability to communicate.

            Language is language, and in this case it was quite deliberately used to get your attention. After all how does one rouse a stupid catatonic from their self-induced stupor?

        • Tracey

          So National and some of its supporters don’t call people loonies or communist just cos they disagree with them? Or they do but that is “positive”?

    • Tracey 15.3

      the devil is in the detail but the government released a summary…


  15. Srylands 16

    And to repeat a comment I made on the parallel thread.. Stop displaying such selfish parochialism. The agreement is not just about New Zealand. It is about promoting globalisation. The bitching here about paying maybe an extra $5 for your meds is so laughable.

    • McFlock 16.1

      You fucks are all about how well markets work when everyone acts in their own self interest, and now you’re arguing that NZ should distort the free market model by acting against its own self interest.

      Just goes to show that support for the market model isn’t out of altruism or any belief in their own bullshit, it’s an argument of convenience used by the powerful to abuse the powerless.

      • greywarshark 16.1.1

        Yeah McFlock you tell them. You make a really good point that gets to the heart of their argument or would if there was a heart there that we could recognise.

      • Tracey 16.1.2

        that sound of the last two days McFlock, was silence… Funny who has piled out of the woodwork to talk up the TPP. Using the flll 30 days advantage before anyone can see the whole thing and begin an analysis.

        • McFlock

          it’s probably because I used rude words – tories who don’t give two shits about bombing hospitals seem to get outraged when I drop an f-bomb. Sensitive wee souls….

    • vto 16.2

      “It is about promoting globalisation”

      Sooo, it is about sovereignty

      Lying bastards

    • Lanthanide 16.3

      Why should we care for globalism if it doesn’t actually benefit us materially?

    • lprent 16.4

      The bitching here about paying maybe an extra $5 for your meds is so laughable.

      Per week? The hidden costs in this look to cost me directly either through increased med charges or through taxes as damn sight more than $260 per year.

      The point about being parochial is that usually enlightened self-interest is usually better for globalism than a deal which looks like it will do nothing for us or anyone else apart from the US and maybe Japan.

      There are other trade deals around that would be better for global trade than this one. In fact the deal of the 4 nations that started the TPPA if continued would have been better for all of us.

      This deal looks more like straitjacket and we should get it cut off before it gets too tight. We need to not sign it, or to get rid of it at the next change of government.

      • Enough is Enough 16.4.1

        It is a winning election policy for Labour.

        If they go in with the promise to walk away from this corporate jack up, the people of New Zealand will fall in behind them.

        • Puckish Rogue

          Yes! I totally support this idea, Andrew Little should announce this right away!

    • the pigman 16.5

      ” The agreement is not just about New Zealand. It is about promoting globalisation.

      We’ve got you here to promote globalisation, srylands, that’ll do. Vintage stuff from the dude who didn’t know NZ’s GST rate… well done! You’re starting to nail the non-US spellings and everything!

  16. Ad 17

    Readers who oppose this deal could do worse than email and text your local Labour, New Zealand First and Green MP to strengthen their resolve to continue to oppose this deal, and to repeal what they can of it when they next get in power.

  17. Chooky 18

    One of the biggest worries is unrestricted foreign ownership of New Zealand land and property…this has the potential to change the landscape of New Zealand and our identity



    Where are the other political parties on this ?

  18. greywarshark 19

    How do citizens step in and take the reins back from these charlatan charioteers?
    First I would like to take their salaries back to the ones we used to pay that got us clever monkeys in parliament. Remembering them they weren’t so bad. They were more than just busy meeting-keepers adept at communication and technology, and worrying about clothes and that’s both men and women. Walking the walk to these pollies is taken as looking good on the catwalk, the red carpet at events, and the blokey, jokey people’s pics and talking the talk is polly-speak learned from the polly kindle bible.

  19. McFlock 20

    The thought occurs that if there’s not much if anything in the TPPA for NZ, what is in it for our Cabinet, personally?

    • Tel 20.1

      Blind trust they got it right?

      • rawshark-yeshe 20.1.1

        Don’t you mean they got it right for their blind trusts ? There. Fixed it for you 🙂

    • Sacha 20.2

      Timmy gets to be an Ambassador soon. And John’s next employer will be grateful.

    • lprent 20.3

      As far as I can see the main thing in the TPPA is to do with balancing power blocs and security in the Pacific border region. But I really don’t like screwing around with trade to achieve that. Mixing the two together is like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. What you wind up with is squashed food and nasty sharp fragments of shell that you cannot control.

      We have been doing pretty well without this type of agreement in freeing up travel, dropping tariffs, and regularizing legal frameworks. Having the US jump in and start using trade agreements as some kind of end-of-empire move, like the brits at the end of the 19th is a damn stupid idea. All it does is to distort economies and foreclose on changes that will need to be made eventually.

      In our case, we’re still slowly building a economy that isn’t reliant on being the farm of britian / china / usa / whoever. This is going to slow it down again.

      • northshoredoc 20.3.1

        Can you advise how you see this as slowing down the building of our economy and how you see it as not “freeing up travel, dropping tariffs, and regularizing legal frameworks.”

        • lprent

          Read. What I am saying is that we were doing all of those things anyway with bilateral and small scale treaties. Like the original TPPA before the gorillas got on board.

          All of NZ’s experience with the US in the last 15 years has been that they are completely paranoid (ask anyone going through customs there), have some of the most bloated and unhelpful public servants any of have seen (ask anyone who tries to set up a company there, you need a lawyer just to find out what forms to read), and are generally specialists in over-regulation at all levels from federal, state, and county. The only difference with Japan is that they are way worse.

          As far as I can see, merely getting them to our current level of being a relatively open and transparent business friendly environment will take many decades at least. Why would we want to be shackled to them?

          Can you advise how getting into bed with some large and retarded and bloated economies is going to speed up building our economy up and those other things?

          We should have carried on working with countries that have an interest in international trade. The US has the desire, but not the legal wherewithall to be able to achieve it. It suffers from being a poorly designed republic that has damn near rigidified itself into stasis.

          • northshoredoc

            Well I think you’ve got this completely arse about face.

            Of course we should be working with countries that have an interest in free trade and I’m sure NZ governments of whatever flavour (excepting Winston and/or the greens if they have any influence) will continue to do so.

            However it’s not an either/or situation with the TPPA, despite North America and Japan’s protectionism most especially in dairy it certainly does us no harm to wedge the door open for the tidbits available with a view for future widening and for the horticultural and meat industries it appears there may be some significant advance.

            I’d be more interested in your view on IT/IP which is your area of expertise and whether there is anything on the positive or negative side which we should be concerned about.

            • Tracey

              We are in the unfortunate position of having to wait til the agreement comes out Doc. The Government and some outside government (it seems) have seen the agreement or parts of it. Enough to be permitted to be part of those publicly speaking to it.

              Opponents do not have privvy to it, not for another 30 days.

              Then it will take time and resource to do the analysis. The government has had over 7 years and their marketing strategy will have been well in place before the deal was signed.

              Gordon Campbell is doing some good analysis based on whatever sources he has and addresses the very point of what we might have achieved without the TPP.

  20. One Two 21

    What have we all given up for the pittance?

  21. ianmac 22

    Rod Oram has an interesting perspective on TPP. He delves sort of sideways re the implications. Interesting listen:

  22. Chooky 23

    This from the aid organisation that was recently bombed in Afghanistan:

    “The big losers in the TPP are patients and treatment providers in developing countries.” said Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), callling TPP ” the worst trade agreement for access to medicines in developing countries, which will be forced to change their laws to incorporate abusive intellectual property protections for pharmaceutical companies.”

    The group says the deal will “raise the price of medicines for millions by unnecessarily extending monopolies and further delaying price-lowering generic competition.”


    ( This says it all really …the TPPA is unethical )

    • northshoredoc 23.1

      As with certain persons on this site their thinking is a bit wonky, the biggest manufacturers of generic medicines are India (by some distance) and China and of course the very large USA/Israel company Teva and Europe’s Mylan from what I can see these zompanieswon’t have any change in their ability to supply medicines ?

      Or am I missing something obvious ?

      • Tautoko Mangō Mata 23.1.1

        North Shore Doc:
        This is an issue that concerns me: That Pharmac has to justify its decisions to drug companies. Part of the Eli Lilly ISDS claims against Canada using was that “Favoring” of Generics Violate Its NAFTA-Granted Property Rights”
        Tim Groser in Dec 2013:
        “The Government had committed to protecting the fundamentals of the Pharmac central drug-buying agency in the face of changes sought by the United States.

        However he would not rule out some extra cost to the Government to meet so-called transparency rules on Pharmac that would allow drug companies to challenge Pharmac’s decisions. That could require new regulations and there could be a cost involved with that.

        However, the extra costs would be “totally manageable and hugely outweighed” by the extra tax that would flow from the boost to exports from a TPP deal, he said.”

        Pharmac needs to be able justify its decisions to the people of NZ but not to Big Pharma. This is very intimidatory stand-over tactics and is obviously designed to put pressure onto Pharmac. Totally unacceptable!

        • northshoredoc

          The Eli Lilly claim is in regards to a patent that the Canadian IPO voided – so a red herring and one which Canada will roast up and have for breakfast and not applicable to NZ.

          As I have stated a number of times PHARMACs decisions and its decision criteria are quite transparent and openly available on their website as are there decisions on funding. The only real change is that there will be a dined timeline in which applications for funding of new medicines must be considered by PHARMAC – this will be welcomed by health professionals and patients.

          The PHARMAC issues in relation to the TPPA are really non-existent I would suggest people look to other parts such as internet/online shopping provisions and intellectual property in other areas if they are looking for fish hooks.

          • Tautoko Mangō Mata

            From paper

            “How the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement could undermine PHARMAC and threaten access to affordable medicines and health equity in New Zealand”

            6. 2011 US Transparency Chapter Annex draft text – analysis of likely effects on PHARMAC

            •Text that may preclude the use of therapeutic reference pricing;
            •Introduction of an appeals process that would allow challenges to PHARMAC’s decisions;
            •Requirements to specify and disclose formulary decision criteria (which may create inflexibilities);
            •Transparency and disclosure requirements that may undermine price negotiations;
            •Mechanisms for ongoing engagement that would facilitate further industry influence; and
            •Text mandating the legalisation of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines via the internet.


            I guess a lot depends on the fine print, nsdoc.

            • northshoredoc

              That’s from 2013 and has people speculating what may have been in the TPPA.

              I do note that the following are definitely not in the TPPA

              •Text that may preclude the use of therapeutic reference pricing;
              Mechanisms for ongoing engagement that would facilitate further industry influence; and
              •Text mandating the legalisation of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines via the internet.
              •Requirements to specify and disclose formulary decision criteria (which may create inflexibilities);

              in relation to

              Introduction of an appeals process that would allow challenges to PHARMAC’s decisions;

              …this exists at present as part of PHARMACs operating policies and procedures

              “I guess a lot depends on the fine print, nsdoc.”

              Quite, however, this hasn’t stopped a great deal of misinformation and egregious scaremongering.

              • Chooky

                re ..” this hasn’t stopped a great deal of misinformation and egregious scaremongering.”…

                Why the secrecy then?…if there is nothing to hide?…

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Do you ever make any sort of vague attempt to employ your critical faculties? “Nothing to fear, nothing to hide” is right wing drivel and also your opinion when it suits your emotions.

                  Please stop manufacturing ammunition for right wing shills.

                  • Chooky

                    AOB…projection ?…seriously i would suggest this is a good description of yourself

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Your conspiracy theory nonsense about Red Peak, for example. Misinformation and scare stories simply divert attention from genuine fact-based concerns.

                      It’s counterproductive, to put it mildly.

                      Now, why don’t you have a little tanty and attack the messenger some more.

      • Tracey 23.1.2

        Given the USA is historically SO anti free trade agreements (well ones where they have to open up their markets), what do you think this has given them to change that stance? Do you know what the major US Pharamceutical firms are worth?

        • northshoredoc

          Not sure what point you’re trying to make Tracey.

          In answer to your question what are the major US pharmaceutical companies worth – a considerable amount I imagine, have a look on the stock exchange, probably no different from other very large corporations.

          • Tracey

            It seems to me that you were implying further up that US Pharmas had nothing to game from certain provisions of the TPP (not that I have seen them). Perhaps I misunderstood your point.

            “Quite, however, this hasn’t stopped a great deal of misinformation and egregious scaremongering.”

            From all sides. One side, however did so for want of information (other than occasional leaks), the other had the information but also spread misinformation and scaremongering.

            I believe Mr Groser described me as someone who thought the “TTP eats babies”. (his description of those questioning the TPP rather than following his lead with blind faith.

            • northshoredoc

              “It seems to me that you were implying further up that US Pharmas had nothing to game from certain provisions of the TPP (not that I have seen them). Perhaps I misunderstood your point.”

              I’m not sure what comment you’re referring to but a more accurate reflection of my thinking would be that pharmaceutical companies had nothing to gain from the top in relation to the NZ pharmaceutical market.

              in relation to the egregious scaremongering you may or may not have seen the rubbish that has been repeated on this site over the last few days regarding the privatisation of healthcare in NZ and that our pharmaceuticals are going to be priced as per the US pharmaceutical market along with one commenter that repeatedly parrots that water and education are going to be privatised in NZ.

              Unfortunately the more reasonable comments and queries on this site tend to be lost amongst this type of bombast and tripe which leaves those wanting to have a reasonable debate and have their questions answered giving up and looking elsewhere.

  23. Hami Shearlie 24

    Tim Groser is the new Max Bradford – remember when Max said our power bills would go DOWN when the Nats changed our power network to the SOE model? Problem is, Groser and Key will be long gone, and no doubt knighted, by the time the TPP goes sour for NZ. The Nats changed the regulations around using treated timber for framing houses, and it took many years for that disaster to become apparent – these things seem alright at first and it usually takes many years for people to realise that they are far from good! Having all the secrecy around it in a democratic country is a worry – why shouldn’t people be worried and suspicious when they are allowed to know nothing in the first instance, and finally when some information becomes available, the deal is already done before the people can do anything to stop it? Groser called us all “children” and wanted us to leave it all up to him – well, I for one wouldn’t trust anybody who is that fond of the bottle as well as other substances!

    • Chooky 24.1

      +100 ….” why shouldn’t people be worried and suspicious when they are allowed to know nothing in the first instance, and finally when some information becomes available, the deal is already done before the people can do anything to stop it? Groser called us all “children” and wanted us to leave it all up to him – well, I for one wouldn’t trust anybody who is that fond of the bottle as well as other substances!”

      …EXACTLY !

  24. McFlock 25

    Hey, if it’s a done deal surely they can release the full text now?

  25. RedBaronCV 26

    Any protection for indigenous land claims ahead of foreigners using ISDS? If there are we’d better bang all the land into Waitangi Tribunal claims with lease back straight away.

    If not how are Groser & key going to explain that

    • Chooky 26.1

      +100…good question!…how does the TPPA reconcile with the Treaty of Waitangi?

      New Zealand is not just another company or corporate to be taken over .

      NZ has a Maori /Pakeha culture and a heritage of law based on the Treaty and the British legal system…. and fair play and social welfare care for its citizens

      ….another reason why jonkey wanted to change the NZ flag …and lately with the help of the Greens to a corporate Red Peak flag ( designed by a corporate… and already used as a corporate logo by companies in USA and Britain …one of them a surveillance company in Britain already uses Red Peak as its logo…irony much)

  26. Nck 27

    A lot of Americans realise they will be screwed also….. Here’s a good huff post article….http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ian-fletcher/the-transpacific-partners_5_b_8246364.html

    • Chooky 27.1

      +100 good article….and the conclusion

      “It may be too late to stop the TPP. But with both Sanders and Trump (though not Clinton or Bush) being serious dissenters against current American trade policy, there is definitely a glimmer of hope.”

      Go good Americans in stopping the corporate takeover TPPA in its tracks !

  27. Smilin 28

    Amazing isnt it how a load of green house gas negotiations can produce nothing except tax us all back to when the emissions of the early 90s were a little concerning now they are critical and we have shyte running our country costing us billions just so we dont for get it wont be long till we hit our first trillion of debt thanks Key for nothing the rest i wont write but im sure it will be known

  28. Bob 29

    So the TPP gives us a reduction of around $260m / year in tariffs, let just give that some context, the China FTA only gave us $115.5m / year in tariff reductions: http://www.chinafta.govt.nz/1-The-agreement/1-Key-outcomes/1-Goods/

    The expected increase in trade to China from the FTA was around $350m/year, but has instead risen by around $4b / year.
    The expected increase in trade from the TPP is around $2.7b / year…

    Wouldn’t this be a more apt way “To give you a sense of the scale of Tim Groser’s achievement, compare it to the current exports to China” as you put it?

    • lprent 29.1

      However China was a wide open new market, with just us as a FTA partner.

      Not exactly the case with the other 11 nations on the TPPA. Why would you expect exponential growth from markets that are already consumer societies, largely satisfied with existing external suppliers, and far more open than China was?

      Besides, you are comparing tariff reductions in China that were forward loaded in the first years with those from the TPPA that are late loaded 15-25 years out

      Perhaps you should compare the TPPA with the CFTA at say 5 years out.

      • Bob 29.1.1

        That is all true, and obviously near impossibly to accurately forecast (as the CFTA showed us), however you are also forgetting that we are still one of the only countries to have an FTA with China, so you are also missing the opportunity for us to become a tariff free gateway between the worlds economic superpowers.

        • Tracey

          You’d think the Government would have had projections of both gains and losses, wouldn’t you. They could release them.

          • Bob

            They have released them, $2.7b in gains by 2030, as lprent states in the original post.
            What the Government is unable to do is project revenue for business that do not currently exist. As soon as people figure out the full details of the deal (if it actually gets ratified), I am sure there will be new import/export businesses pop up that you may never even hear about (especially in the likes of Tauranga where they have a major port).
            The risk then is putting too many eggs in the ‘China/US gateway’ basket and China signing an FTA with someone else in the TPP who has the same ideas.

            • tracey

              They’re pretty reluctant to put figures on, and statements out, on the losses Bob. I have read all the Fact Sheets today and where there are admitted losses or costs, they are NOT quantified.

              You say “if ratified”, do you think the Cabinet and/or Executive won’t ratify it Bob?

              • Bob

                “You say “if ratified”, do you think the Cabinet and/or Executive won’t ratify it Bob?”
                I think it would be pretty rash to say it will/won’t be ratified prior to the full release of details, I also think it would be pretty rash to say that all 11 countries would ratify the deal when there are already high profile opponents coming out (Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for a start) against it.

                I also think that the Cabinet and/or Executive would only ratify the deal after the details have been released and the opposition have tried to land some hits. If there were any solid pitfalls to the deal (other than ‘we may get sued at some stage, by someone, for something, even though we never have before with any of our previous FTA’s that include ISDS provisions’: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Trade-and-Economic-Relations/2-Trade-Relationships-and-Agreements/Trans-Pacific/1-TPP-Talk/0-TPP-talk-3a-Dec-2012.php), I think that this government (being poll driven) could be swayed.

                • tracey

                  Thanks for stating your reasoning Bob. I certainly agree that some other countries failure to ratify will collapse the agreement.

                  Certainly our Government is working hard with its PR while it has the jump on naysayers. The “Fact Sheets” are very slanted and cannot be criticized because no one has the full details. I see Kelsey is using information released from other countries to score some hits. For example, stating that 3.25% access to Canada for diary is for ALL 11 countries, not NZ alone.

                  As I have said before about being sued, the nations we are currently in FTA’s with have no such history. Some nations we are joining in the TPP with do have such a history.

                  • Bob

                    “As I have said before about being sued, the nations we are currently in FTA’s with have no such history. Some nations we are joining in the TPP with do have such a history”
                    Completely agree with you on this, however I really do not think that this will be a ‘king hit’ on the deal that the opposition will be looking for. The fact we already have FTA’s with (without full detail, I can only assume) the same clause inserted, it will be easy for John Key to dismiss this to the public. If the deal is to be stopped, there would have to be something fairly concrete pop up.

                    “For example, stating that 3.25% access to Canada for diary is for ALL 11 countries, not NZ alone.”, I personally don’t think this would be too much of a hit either, I had assumed that would be the case, but back NZ dairy’s reputation over any of the other TPP nations to make the most of the access. The US would obviously push hard (being the largest producers), but if you are only opening up 3.25% of your access, you would assume that this would be to let in quality rather than quantity, and this is where Fonterra have positioned themselves globally.

  29. Bojack 30

    I’ve been out of NZ for the past 10 years and watching this unfold whenever I’ve been able to stomach to sheer horror this installs in me. There is an awful lot in the TPPA to be concerned about, but one of the most concerning issues for me is the changes to patenting laws in the pharmaceuticals industry and this is something I’ve seen very little reporting on.

    Until last year I was working for a company that publishes academic journals for biosimilars and generics, and the patenting laws which effect everything from new research to the cost to consumers. If I hadn’t worked here I don’t think it would occur to me to consider how drastically and immediately patenting laws can effect the public. It’s the sort of thing that’s really only addressed in industry news.

    I don’t want to come across as condescending by explaining something that is perhaps obvious to many of the people here. I’m commenting because I appreciate the clarity of this article and the effort of lprent to maintain a rational counterweight to the self serving propaganda of our government, and hope this is a topic that someone more qualified than me will perhaps consider addressing in a more thorough way to a larger audience.

    Drug patenting laws effect the length of time a newly developed drug can be manufactured exclusively by the company that developed it. After the patent expires, generics can be manufactured, and they are a cornerstone of affordable healthcare. Not only do generics provide an affordable version of the drug to the public, but they also force down the price of the commercial version of the drug.

    A short patent means generics of life saving medicines are affordable for the people that need it is available sooner. On the other hand however, there is less incentive for drug companies to invest in new research, as they have a shorter period to make more profit from the drug before the patent expires and generic versions of the drug come on to the market, forcing down their prices.

    A longer patent means exactly what you have probably already extrapolated from the above paragraph – a longer period between the development of new medicine and the affordability of that medicine to the public. Unfortunately, due to a number of complicating factors, right now longer patent periods don’t actually increase the amount of money being put in to innovative new research either, and the current situation is that a lot of the most passionate researchers are leaving the industry entirely due to lack of funding for the research they want to do. This is in part because patents can now be used to patent combinations of existing drugs or slight variations of existing drugs. This is more profitable to drug companies, as new research is lengthy and is not guaranteed to produce results at the end. If they can hold a lengthy patent for a new combination of existing drugs or a slight alteration of an existing drug, they have to invest minimally in research while having a longer period to make more profit. This is why it is imperative that drug patenting laws are set by sensible lawmakers with the interests of progression and people in mind, and not by anyone with commercial interests in mind.

    With that in mind, the danger of extending drug patents for the purpose of profit to pharmaceutical companies should be obvious, and terrifying to anyone who currently enjoys living in the 21st century with 21st century healthcare.

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