web analytics

Drug-peddlers

Written By: - Date published: 3:30 pm, May 15th, 2011 - 50 comments
Categories: health, International - Tags:

Good story from Rob O’Neill in today’s SST. Lobbyist Mark Unsworth of Saunders Unsworth is campaigning against Pharmac, ahead of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations with the US. They want more money spent on patented drugs. Lloyd Morrison and Gareth Morgan have come to the defence of Pharmac. Morgan describes the messages being spread by Saunders and Unsworth as “misleading and dangerous to our health sector.” Morrison sees Pharmac as a model for the broader public service.

Unsorth is lobbying on behalf of the drug companies’ front organisation, Medicines New Zealand. In this he will be joined by the US Embassy, as Wikileaks showed. The 2004 cable is signed by Geoff Swindells, the Bush-appointed ambassador to New Zealand. Some excerpts:

A possible U.S.-New Zealand free-trade agreement (FTA) offers one last avenue for changing government policies that limit access to pharmaceuticals, several U.S. companies said. Meanwhile, Geoff Dangerfield, chief executive of the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development, told a U.S. drug company that his government terminated its study of patent term extension for pharmaceuticals to keep the issue as a bargaining chip in the event of FTA negotiations. If FTA talks go forward, most of the drug companies will be looking to the U.S. government to win serious concessions from New Zealand on pharmaceutical issues. Pfizer, which withdrew from RMI early this year, will oppose free-trade negotiations until the New Zealand government alters some of its policies, especially its patent law and reference pricing.

To complement the industry’s efforts, post will work with companies to identify U.S. speakers to be brought to New Zealand and possible International Visitor Program participants, with the goal of educating New Zealand’s health practitioners, policymakers and consumers on pharmaceuticals’ role in health care.

Unsworth says the MedicinesNZ campaign is open and transparent, but I couldn’t find the slides referred to on their website. On the other hand, they clearly are lobbying for concessions to be made in relation to the Trans-Pacific Free Trade agreement. That is certainly not being conducted in an open and transparent way.

We get a good deal for our drug-buying through Pharmac. As the story says, Morrison and Unsworth clashed on Morrison’s Facebook page. Morrison says “I am able to purchase drugs here (from the drug companies) in New Zealand cheaper than they sell to their fellow Americans – the US system is not a system we should seek to replicate in New Zealand.”

50 comments on “Drug-peddlers”

  1. ianmac 1

    Pharmac is admired overseas. The British equivalent does not have the autonomy that Pharmac has.
    The autonomy and freedom from political interference was breached by Key when he made a unilateral political decision to authorise the Herceptin drug, even though the science did not support a 12 month treatment. Imagine a Pharmac which loses its independence and becomes tossed around to political whim and the avarice of Drug companies.
    Surely our negotiators would not betray our trust for the sake of a few pieces of silver? Trust John Key? You sure…sur…sure ccccan.

    • higherstandard 1.1

      Actually the science at the time only supported a 12 month treatment in the adjuvant setting.

      That being said U believe PHARMAC generally does a very good job on behalf of the taxpayer.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Drug peddlers who want to hike prices on users and move more tax payers funds into corporate coffers.

  3. Jim Nald 3

    Saunders and Unsworth

  4. Adele 4

    Teenaa koutou katoa,

    The Herceptin decision was never about hard science and rigid rationality overseeing the day. It was about human emotion, and the fear of loss.

    Pharmac should not be solely about the rigid application of science to its decision-making, there should always be room for a heart.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      If buying more of a drug makes no difference then why would we buy more?

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Not only might the drug make no difference, it might actually cause harm and therefore additional costs and strains on our health system.

      • McFlock 4.1.2

        especially if buying more means that we can afford less in the way of drugs that will actually have a demonstrably positive effect.

    • I think you’re right that, for the women and men who were lobbying for Herceptin to be funded, it was about human emotion, and rightly so.

      I don’t, however, think human emotion came into National’s decision to highlight it during the election campaign. That was quite a deliberate, ‘rational’ decision to back a drug that would win women’s hearts and minds (that part of the vote that had persisted with Clark in 2005).

      I’m left wondering, Adele, where the room is for other hearts (e.g., those suffering from other conditions – and their families)? They feel loss too yet Pharmac – under instruction – hasn’t come to their emotional rescue. (I speak as someone who’s had three family members recently treated for breast cancer, none of which I would want to lose and one of which has had herceptin as part of her treatment.)

      If, as you advocate, drug buying decisions are to be partly driven by ’emotion’ (and, hence, by associated activism in the public sphere) then I expect drug companies very quickly to get into the business of setting up local astroturf organisations fronted by sufferers. I can’t imagine how a remotely just allocation of the drug budget could ever be achieved under those circumstances.

      Also, those who are least articulate, media-savvy, educated and middle class are unlikely to get much action on medications for illnesses that particularly afflict them compared with those illnesses afflicting the articulate, media-savvy, educated and middle class.

    • terryg 4.3

      Sorry Adele,

      but thats the worst thing Pharmac could do.

      Consider the problem of health spending. there is no upper limit on health spending. And EVERY serious case is a tragedy for those involved.

      the ONLY way Pharmac can do their job is by using a purely scientific approach. Because on emotional grounds, everybody is worthy of essentially unlimited expenditure.

      Pharmac were correct with the Herceptin decision; Shonkey was wrong – its just another part of his populist, smile-and-wave technique of getting everyone to like him (rather than, say, think carefully about his performance).

  5. Hilary 5

    We should also get rid of Direct to Consumer advertising, which are all those drug ads cluttering up the media, so that people rush of to their doctor and ask for them by name. Such advertising is only legal in the US and NZ, and no other country allows them.

    • higherstandard 5.1

      Which drug ads are those Hilary ?

      The only things i’ve seen advertised on TV are the PDE5 impotence medications.

      • rosy 5.1.1

        Losec. It drives me mad that there was an ad that people used to pressure GPs to provide a glorified antacid so they can continue with rubbish diets. (Pharmac is now funding only a generic – ‘dr reddy’s’ that is cheaper – but the demand has been built).

        A huge number of people are taking this stuff, although it’s only meant to be used for serious stomach problems, not indigestion, while others who cannot make changes to influence their health status are being denied access to some of the more advanced drugs for their condition.

        • Jim Nald 5.1.1.1

          Saunders and Unsworth.

          Mmm.

          Re direct-to-consumer advertising (note that this post by Mike Smith is about Pharmac) has attracted the response of Barrie Saunders who described it as a “non-problem”,
          eg in the New Zealand Medical Journal 2003 at:

          http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/116-1180/556/

        • higherstandard 5.1.1.2

          Losec is an OTC medicine (i.e. can be bought from a pharmacist without a Rx from a clinician) OTC medicines are advertised in many countries.

          Omeprazole is also an extremely effective medication and at around $2 per patient per month it’s also pretty cheap medication.

          • rosy 5.1.1.2.1

            I was using Losec as an example -When the losec ad started on TV it was an exhortation for people to have the GPs prescribe it. The aim was clearly to create demand. And was around $70/mth (if I recall). Clearly Pharmac have changed to Dr Reddy’s (omeprazole) because it is available at a seriously reduced price.

            It’s one of those dilemma ads for me – I take omeprazole to counter-act the effects of anti-inflammatories because I can’t get access to the drugs that might make the anti-inflammatories unnecessary (they are too expensive). So the losec ad, in particular annoyed me, if they were not able to create demand for trivial uses of the drug, rather than it being for the serious conditions it treats so well, there might be more money for more important conditions than being unable to eat fried chicken.

  6. Adele 6

    Teenaa koe, Hilary

    But aren’t those same ads providing consumers with more choice in terms of controlling their own health care. This discussion is really about how stupid do we believe the average New Zealander really is.

    • Campbell Larsen 6.1

      Adele – ads do not generally ’empower’ anyone, they exist in the most part to convince people to spend their money purchasing something.
      You speak of choice, well I say to you there can be no choice without knowledge and that’s not what people are getting from these ads. The TV is not a doctor. Pharmaceutical companies care about their profit, not about you.

      • Adele 6.1.1

        Teenaa koe, Campbell Larsen

        So, in effect, you think, New Zealanders are in fact stupid.

        • Campbell Larsen 6.1.1.1

          No, I think that advertising has the power to overcome rationality, especially when given a veneer of credibility (think infomercials and Family Heath Diary)

          Attempts to undermine NZ’s Pharmac and the role it plays in affordable healthcare are shameful.

          The TPP must not go ahead, no consultation, no partnership.

        • Puddleglum 6.1.1.2

          Adele, you should read your first comment on this post.

          Human beings are much more than rational decision makers. Their psychology is set up (designed) to respond to rough and ready cues for action – which in the modern environment has a higher chance of being maladaptive than it did in previous social environments.

          Advertisers are very aware of this, which is why advertising operates on a completely different view of human psychology than does the discipline of economics – a discipline which makes a lot of the ‘choice’ argument you have just employed.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      Self-medication, especially when you aren’t trained as a doctor, is usually a bad idea.

      • Murray 6.2.1

        Its an equally bad idea to have blind faith in the medical profession. especially with the huge amount of lobbying directed at GP,s by the drug giants.
        I was one of the unfortunate people who had an adverse reaction to statin drugs as a result I now suffer from a permanent and disabling illness.
        All thanks to doctors who never warned of possible side effects.

        • NickS 6.2.1.1

          The sooner drug companies are forced to publish the full results of drug trials, the better, as they’ll often massage the data sets to ignore low incidence side effects and there’s various other statistical sins, though mostly those apply to the big block buster drugs.

          As for the muscle wasting statins can cause, if I’m remembering my biochem course right, the main issue was that they weren’t tested on large enough populations in the human testing phase. So it was only when it was approved for human use and became widespread that set of side effects become visible. And generally, because animal tests on later statins didn’t show muscle wasting at therapeutic dosages etc compared to earlier discovered statins, it was assumed that it wouldn’t be a significant side effect.

          Though with Cerivastatin Bayer A.G. didn’t release vital fucking test results that indicated it had a much higher risk of causing muscle wasting.

          Generally though, statins should only be used when exercise and dietary changes aren’t available, or when high LDL (the protein that carries cholesterol in the bloodstream) is a congenital condition caused by under active cholesterol regulation. The marketing of them is the classic example of why marketing in the drugs industry should be regulated the ever loving fuck out of because the idiots involved cannot be trusted to present information truthfully.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.2

          My mother was, for many years, diagnosed as having arthritis and then some other ailment. Finally the doctor sent here to hospital for scans and she was diagnosed as having cancer. She died nine months later.

          So I can assure you I’m not about to have blind faith in individual doctors but I’m going to have a lot more faith in their ability to diagnose and prescribe than mine. If I think the doctor I see initially is wrong, I’ll get a second opinion but I still ain’t going to go around prescribing medicine for myself which is what advertising drugs will encourage some people to do.

          • terryg 6.2.1.2.1

            DTB, its the Bell Curve at work.

            A few professions have the public into believing that every single one of them is utterly brilliant at their job (doctors, lawyers, accountants) – but its just not true.

            even those professions requiring years of university study, and many degrees.

            Alas all having a degree actually proves is that you have a degree, and probably passed at least the bare minimum requirements to get said degree.

            it says nothing about whether or not you are any good at your job.

            by way of example, I know a number of people who were disciplined and studied hard, and were able to remember vast amounts of complex material for weeks on end, and therefore scored very well in exams. All without any real understanding at all. So a few months or years later – its all gone.

            ultimately any human endeavour will obey the Bell Curve (Gaussian Distribution) if there is a reasonable number of people involved. Most will be about average in their abilities, some will be good, some will be bad, a few will be excellent, a few will be utterly atrocious.

            And it doesn’t matter what the job is – this is as true of Ditch-Diggers, Chippies and Schoolteachers as it is of Lawyers, Surgeons and Astrophysicists. because we’re all just people.

  7. locus 7

    Having a heart and funding expensive patented drugs because desperately ill people need them is one thing. It’s another thing to do this without a substantial increase in budget as this may preclude or reduce the chance of funding drugs which other desperately ill people need. Being ‘informed’ by rampant lobbying and marketing by drugs companies that aim to feed the hopes of recovery from terminal illnesses or debilitating chronic pain is yet another.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Having a heart and funding expensive patented drugs because desperately ill people need them is one thing.

      Actually, it’s just bloody stupid. We cannot afford to try to keep people alive indefinitely.

  8. Clipbox 8

    This doesn’t make it right, but I believe its quite rare for trade agreements to be conducted openly for the public to read about.

    • Jum 8.1

      Clipbox
      The difference between the TPPA and average trade agreements is the control that the US gets over NZ in more ways than just trade.

      As for Herceptin – Key cynically used it as a ploy to get women’s votes even though the medical info stated that there was no proof 12 months use would be better than the Pharmac approved time.

      People aren’t stupid when they want people they care about to be well again. We are all stupid if we believe Key was funding the extra Herceptin use for the women of this country.

      If New Zealanders lived by the dictates of the heart no child would be bashed, refuges would be closed down because they were not needed and Kiwis would have voted for someone other than a narcissistic moneytrader.

  9. KJT 9

    Interesting when they interviewed the US ambassador in Q and A yesterday.

    The implication from what he said, which Holmes missed of course, is that NZ governments can ram through free trade agreements quickly. Unlike US politicians they do not have to answer to their constituents.

  10. Adele 10

    Teenaa koutou katoa,

    I have spent time in two spheres of human endeavour – the health field, and the legal arena. Pillars to rationality, medicine and law.

    Yet, I have seen surgery where even a physician resorts to hope, despite all odds. And, I have witnessed the legal defend even the guilty on matters of principle.

    Pillars of Salt.

    Human based policies, and dare I say, left ideology, should never begin with the numbers, otherwise, how is the left different from the right, again?

    Personally, I am, learning to respect Pharmac, for other reasons.

    However, in defending Pharmac, can we then also defend the WAI 262 claim – which would restrict if not prohibit the multi-national pharmaceutical giant from claiming property and patent rights over indigenous flora and fauna. That really sucks.

  11. felix 11

    Getting a bit sick of these bastards who make a living by actively working against their countrymen and women.

    Unsworth’s actions, if successful, will result in fewer people being able to afford the medicine they need. Some of his fellow kiwis will die for his fat fee.

    Hooten’s work for the tobacco companies directly kills his fellow kiwis.

    These mercenaries almost make John Key’s work to destroy the NZ currency seem mildly evil by comparison.

  12. PeteG 12

    Getting a bit sick of these bastards who make a living by actively working against their countrymen and women.

    Like those who actively try and undermine and disrupt the government of the day?

    • felix 12.1

      No, “One-Party Pete”, that’s obviously not what I meant.

      Trying to stop a government from destroying your country is called patriotism.

      You don’t hate your country do you Pete?

      • PeteG 12.1.1

        No, I don’t hate my country, I hate the whingy hissy fitters who who grossly overstate the situation because they didn’t get their way on election day.

        I support a positive input from multiple parties who have a mandate to be in parliament. You’re the one party stater, you want to destroy any party that doesn’t follow your foolishness, and stuff the country.

        pa·tri·ot·ism – devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty.

        Note the reference to “national”, that means everyone and not just your own selfishness. A patriot in a democracy would support the democratic process and will of the people.

        • felix 12.1.1.1

          Pete.

          You’ve been championing the one-party state here for a while now.

          I realise you’re too thick to know that’s what you’re doing, but nonetheless that’s precisely what follows from your “get-behind-the-ruling-party-whether-you-agree-with-them-or-not” bullshit.

          If you have a coherent argument to show that this isn’t the case then now is the time to state it, but as you’ve declined every previous opportunity to do so I won’t be holding my breath.

          • PeteG 12.1.1.1.1

            As usual you are totally misrepresenting what I say with factless bullshit.

            Supporting a four party coalition that was voted for and is still supported by the majority of the people plus encouraging non-coalition parties to contribute positively is not supporting a one party state.

            Your maths is as bad as your politics.

            When you grow up and actually want to debate rather than play little games you might be taken a bit more seriously, but that may not be what you want.

            • felix 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Do you deny that you’ve been calling for opposition parties to stop opposing?

              Do you want me to provide the links?

              • PeteG

                Provide the links.

                I haven’t suggested opposition parties should stop all opposing. I’ve called for opposition parties to stop being so pathetic, and to pick fights that are justified rather than continuously wailing wolf. They’d be a bloody sight more effective when it really mattered – and they’d have a lot more time to contribute positively.

                • PeteG
                   
                  The factor that has been sending a few of us spare is that your comments about supporting the Government seem to be based on the proposal that they are the Government therefore we should support them.  How about an issue by issue approach so that if the Government appears to be making a silly decision then the opposition opposes?
                   
                  If you accept that then the possible gutting of Pharmac is a doozy.  All that will be achieved is greater costs for drugs and enrichment of overseas corporations.  Why would any Government do it?
                   

                  • PeteG

                    MS, I agree entirely with an issue by issue approach.

                    I also think Pharmac should be maintained much as it is and that so called free trade agreements should not be used to try and force excessive drug prices on us. This topic is about lobbying, I’m not aware of any inclination by our government to give in to it, if that’s what they may do (rather than just being a potential being worried about) then I would speak against it.

                    I don’t like the drug advertising we see here. It’s more likley to put me off being sucked in but when you see the success of the Double Down campaign it’s obvious there are many gullible consumers.

                • felix

                  Ok here’s the first link, in which we discover that Pete thinks opposition needs to be “justified”.

                  To whom? To Pete?

                  Or to Pete’s mythical consensus of opinion in which everyone fundamentally agrees that there’s one right way to get things done and any argument to the contrary (“opposition”) is petty point-scoring?

                  • PeteG

                    That link does nothing to support your claim that I have been “calling for opposition parties to stop opposing?”

                    Do you think opposition parties would be less effective if they chose fewer more important issues to oppose?

                    • felix

                      Yes it does Pete.

                      In the link you state that opposition parties should only oppose when doing so is “justified”.

                      I’m going to walk you through this slowly: To whom do they need to justify their actions?

                    • PeteG

                      T o t h e v o t e r s felix. Is that slow enough for you?

                      If the voters see that opposition parties are dredging up endless trivial crap:
                      – they get the perception it is being done by a trivial crappy politicians
                      – important issues that really need opposing risk being lost in the noise

                    • felix

                      Which voters, Pete?

                      The ones who voted for the governing parties or the ones who didn’t?

                      (“both” or “neither” are also acceptable answers btw)

  13. uke 13
    “A patriot in a democracy would support the democratic process and will of the people.”
    National, then, have not been behaving particularly patriotically .
  14. Kay 14

    This whole pharmac business is terrifying me. I’m completely reliant on prescription drugs to stay alive. One drug I take was branded when I started it, and as soon as that drug lost the patent and generics showed up there were a few scarey moments that I’d have to switch to a generic, which is a very dangerous thing for people with my condition. Thankfully this was recognised by pharmac and I’m able to stay on the brand fully subsidised.
    The problem is, when a drug company isn’t making a profit on one of their products, said product is frequently pulled out of NZ. There are no issues with generics except for people who are settled on the brand and are forced to switch. One of the “incentives” that’s been mentioned in this big pharma lobbying is refusing to supply some of their drugs to NZ (ie blackmail) which means I could lose the branded drug I take.

    While it’s an awful situation for a minority who could benefit from drugs that aren’t subsidised here and who can’t afford to priveatly import it, I think the pharmac system is brilliant, especially for a country our size. That the vast majority of NZers can access medications for most conditions is a pretty good accomplishment.

    I’m sure all the US pharma lobbyists have fully comprehensive insurance that will supply them with any drug they may require. Pity the same can’t be said for their compatriots. They exist primarily for profits, the idea of helping humanity is only a secondary fleeting thought. Problem is we need them.

    Trade negotiators- letting pharma bully you and you’re too cowardly to stand up to them, watch hospital admissions and deaths go through the roof when the population loses access to their medications.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Green Party unveils Clean Energy Plan
    The Green Party is today unveiling part one of its plan for a fossil-fuel free Aotearoa, including an immediate ban on new industrial coal boilers. ...
    14 hours ago
  • New Zealand First calls for tahr cull halt
    Mark Patterson MP, Spokesperson for Primary Industry New Zealand First is supporting calls by hunters and the New Zealand Tahr Foundation (NZTF) to halt a large scale cull of Himalayan Tahr by the Department of Conservation in National Parks. The calls are supported by a 40,000 strong petition and the ...
    5 days ago
  • Response to Spin-off allegations
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First leader Winston Peters today scoffed at suggestions that a team of six political operatives have been dispatched to New Zealand to assist his campaign. ‘As President Ronald Reagan once said, ‘there they go again.’ ‘The clickbait journos can’t ...
    5 days ago
  • Jenny Marcroft MP to represent New Zealand First in Auckland Central
    New Zealand First is pleased to announce Jenny Marcroft as the party’s election 2020 candidate for the Auckland Central electorate. Jenny spent years working in Auckland Central, having spent a vast proportion of her broadcasting career there. She says she, "knows the place and knows the people." Ms Marcroft says ...
    6 days ago
  • Creating jobs and cleaning up our rivers
    New Zealanders deserve healthy rivers and lakes that are safe to swim in - but they have been getting worse for decades. That's why, with our latest announcement, we're investing in projects that will help clean up our rivers and lakes and restore them to health, within a generation. ...
    1 week ago
  • Jacinda Ardern: 2020 Labour Congress Speech
    Jacinda Ardern's speech to the 2020 Labour Party Congress. ...
    1 week ago
  • Kelvin Davis: 2020 Labour Congress Speech
    Kelvin Davis' speech to the 2020 Labour Party Congress. ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: Another week of major progress
    This week we moved into the second half of 2020 - and our Government delivered another week of big changes and major progress for New Zealanders. Read below for a wrap of the key things moments from the week - from extending paid parental leave, to making major investments in ...
    1 week ago
  • Green Party opposes RMA fast-track bill that cut corners on environmental safeguards and public cons...
    The Green Party has opposed the COVID-19 Recovery Fast-track Consenting Bill which shortcuts normal consenting processes under the Resource Management Act (RMA), reduces public participation and narrows environmental considerations. ...
    1 week ago
  • Site of new freight hub revealed
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Regional Economic Development A regional freight hub for the lower North Island will be built just northeast of Palmerston North, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The Government is investing $40 million through the Provincial Growth Fund to designate and buy land and design ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens call for Guaranteed Minimum Income to alleviate skyrocketing debt with MSD
    Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson is calling for the introduction of a Guaranteed Minimum Income to lift hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and prevent more families entering into further debt with the Ministry of Social Development.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters: Facts matter when taxpayer money is on the line
    There has been renewed focus on New Zealand First acting as a handbrake on the Government after our decision to not support Auckland light rail. We are a handbrake for bad ideas, that is true, but our track record since 2017 has seen New Zealand First constructively also serve as an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill raising minimum residency requirement for NZ Super passes first reading
    Mark Patterson MP, New Zealand First List MP New Zealand First’s Fair Residency for Superannuation Bill passed its First Reading in Parliament today. The Bill makes a significant change to NZ Super by raising the minimum residency requirement from 10 to 20 years, after age 20. “Currently, a migrant of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Harsher penalties for assaults on first responders one step closer
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Law and Order A New Zealand First member’s bill in the name of Darroch Ball introducing a six-month minimum prison sentence for assaults on first responders has passed its second reading in Parliament. The new offence of "injuring a first responder or corrections officer with ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission delivers Coalition promise
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Deputy Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First welcomes the launch of the new Criminal Cases Review Commission, gifted with the name from Waikato-Tainui - Te Kāhui Tātari Ture, announced in Hamilton today by Justice Minister Andrew Little. “New Zealand First has long believed in and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens welcome huge new investment in sustainable projects
    The Green Party is celebrating over $800m in new funding for green projects, which will get people into jobs while solving New Zealand’s long-term challenges. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First demands answers from Meridian Energy
    Mark Patterson MP, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is appalled that Meridian seems to have been unnecessarily spilling water from its dams to drive up its profits."While New Zealanders have been coming together in some of our darkest hours, we don’t expect power gentailers to waste water and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting New Zealand moving again: June 2020
    We wrapped up the first half of 2020 with a busy month, taking additional steps to support New Zealanders as we continue with our economic recovery. We rolled out targeted packages to support key industries like tourism and construction, helped create jobs in the environmental and agriculture sectors, and set ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori union leader appointed to Infrastructure Commission board
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has welcomed the appointment of Maurice Davis and his deep infrastructure and construction experience to the board of the Infrastructure Commission. Mr Davis (Ngāti Maniapoto), is the seventh and final appointment to the board led by former Reserve Bank Governor ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Click-bait journalism at its worst
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand’s click bait journalism is taking a turn for the worse, with yet another example of sensationalist, wilful-misrepresentation of the facts. “New Zealand First has worked constructively with its Coalition partner on hundreds of pieces of legislation and policy, and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party proposes transformational Poverty Action Plan
    The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity.     ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF accelerates Rotorua projects
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Rotorua Museum redevelopment and Whakarewarewa and Tokorangi Forest projects will be accelerated thanks to a $2.09 million Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) boost, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Getting people into jobs
    This week, we rolled out the next steps of our recovery plan, with new infrastructure investment, extra support for tourism operators, and a new programme to get Kiwis into agriculture careers. The global economic consequences of COVID-19 will continue to be a challenge, but we have a detailed plan to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Coalition commitment establishing Mental Health Commission delivered
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its final reading in Parliament today fulfilling a coalition agreement commitment. “This is an important step in saving the lives of New Zealanders and delivers a key coalition commitment ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whakatāne gets a $2.5m ‘turbo boost’
    Whakatāne has been given a $2.5 million boost to speed up previously funded projects and create more than 450 jobs in the next decade. Of those, the equivalent of 160 full-time jobs could be delivered in the next six weeks. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is in town to make ...
    2 weeks ago
  • $2.5m PGF funding to speed up economic recovery in Whakatāne
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $2.5 million to accelerate three infrastructure projects in Whakatāne, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “This package is about ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shane Jones calls out those holding drought-stricken Auckland ‘to ransom’ over water
    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones is throwing his weight behind a bid by the Auckland Council to fast-track the more than doubling of the city's water allowance from the Waikato River. And he's coming out strongly against anyone who plans on getting in the way of this campaign. "It is my ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another Green win as climate change considerations inserted into the RMA
    The Green Party is thrilled to see changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) that mean consents for large projects can be declined if they will have significant climate change implications that are inconsistent with the Zero Carbon Act and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Paris Agreement obligations.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Navy vessel Aotearoa to arrive in New Zealand
    Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence The Royal New Zealand Navy’s new ship, Aotearoa, set sail for New Zealand on 10 June from the Republic of Korea, and is due to arrive in Auckland tomorrow, announced Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “Aotearoa is the Royal New Zealand Navy’s new fleet ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Racing Industry Bill passes third reading
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters has today welcomed the Racing Industry Bill passing its third reading, creating the legislative framework for revitalising the racing industry while limiting the need for future government intervention. “For too long our domestic racing industry has ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Green Party seek amendment to ensure all prisoners can vote
    The Green Party has today put forward an amendment to the Electoral (Registration of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill to ensure all people in prisons can vote in general elections. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Green Party welcomes new approach to delivering light rail
    The Green Party welcomes the decision to not proceed with Public Public Investment (PPI) delivery of Auckland’s light rail project and to instead run the process through the public service. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First welcomes PGF investment in Wairarapa Water
    Hon Ron Mark, New Zealand First List MP based in the Wairarapa New Zealand First List MP Hon Ron Mark welcomes the announcement of Provincial Growth Funding investment of $1.4 million to help secure the Wairarapa’s water supply. The funding boost will allow the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), and ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First MP Mark Patterson selected as candidate for Taieri
    New Zealand First list MP Mark Patterson has been selected to represent the party in the newly formed Taieri electorate at the upcoming election. Mr Patterson, his wife Jude and two daughters farm sheep and beef at Lawrence and Waitahuna. He previously stood in the Clutha-Southland electorate however boundary changes ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio is pleased to announce the inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week as part of the 2020 Pacific language Weeks programme. “I am so pleased that this year we are able to provide resourcing support to the Kiribati community in Aotearoa which will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New support package for wildlife institutions
    Wildlife institutions affected by a loss of visitor revenue during the COVID-19 lockdown are set to receive government support with nearly $15 million of funding available announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage.  “Eco-sanctuaries, zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, and wildlife rescue, hospital and rehabilitation facilities provide crucial support for the recovery ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • 300,000 students to benefit from free mental health services
    The Government is expanding and accelerating frontline mental health and wellbeing services at tertiary education institutes (TEI) to help students manage ongoing stresses related to COVID-19. “The lockdown has been hugely disruptive for students. Many of them have had to relocate and move to online learning, isolating them from their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Gang crime, meth harm targeted in Waikato
    The Minister of Police says a major operation against the Mongrel Mob in Waikato will make a big dent in drug harm and violent offending linked to organised crime networks. “Senior leadership of the Waikato Mongrel Mob has been taken out as a result of Operation Kingsville, which resulted in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Supporting victims and families to attend mosque attack sentencing
    The Government is extending the border exception criteria to enable some offshore victims and support people of the Christchurch mosque attacks to attend the sentencing of the accused beginning on 24 August2020, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. “We want to support our valued Muslim brothers and sisters who were directly ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Boost for community freshwater restoration projects
    A project to support volunteer efforts to look after streams and rivers is getting a boost thanks to support from DOC’s Community Conservation Fund announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today.  “The government is backing efforts to look after waterways with $199,400 for the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • More support for women and girls
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter today announced that funding for the COVID-19 Community Fund for women and girls will be doubled, as the first successful funding applications for the initial $1million were revealed. “Women and girls across the country have suffered because of the effects of COVID-19, and I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Crown accounts stronger than forecast with higher consumer spending
    The Government’s books were better than forecast with a higher GST take as the economy got moving again after lockdown, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Crown Accounts for the 11 months to the end of May indicate the year end results for tax revenue will be stronger than forecast. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt releases plan to revitalise wool sector
    A plan to revitalise New Zealand’s strong wool sector and set it on a new, more sustainable and profitable path was unveiled today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The newly-released report - Vision and Action for New Zealand’s Wool Sector - was developed by the Wool Industry Project Action Group ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding for Predator Free Whangārei
    Community efforts to create a Predator Free Whangārei will receive a $6 million boost, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. The new funding, through Government company Predator Free 2050 Ltd, will create around 12 jobs while enabling the complete removal of possums over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand to review relationship settings with Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced that the New Zealand Government is reviewing the settings of its relationship with Hong Kong. “China’s decision to pass a new national security law for Hong Kong has fundamentally changed the environment for international engagement there,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand remains deeply ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding for Whangārei’s infrastructure projects revealed
    Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced details of a multimillion-dollar investment in Whangārei for infrastructure projects that will help it recover from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 200 jobs are expected to be created through the $26 million investment from the Government’s rejuvenation package ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Managed isolation and quarantine update
    Following a second incident in which a person escaped from a managed isolation facility, security is being enhanced, including more police presence onsite, Minister Megan Woods said. “The actions of some individuals who choose to break the very clear rules to stay within the facilities means that more resourcing is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding for Kaipara district community waste programmes
    Waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara are set to get a boost with Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage today announcing a $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) Sustainable Kaipara. “The new funding will allow Sustainable Kaipara to partner with local schools, kura, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government will support the people and economy of Southland
    The Government will support the Southland economy in the wake of multinational mining company Rio Tinto’s decision to follow through with its long signalled closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. “This day has unfortunately been on the cards for some time now, but nevertheless the final decision is a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New transformational tools for the Predator Free 2050 effort
    New tools being developed to help boost Aotearoa’s Predator Free 2050 effort were unveiled today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. A new rat poison, a camera with predator recognition software to detect and report predators, a new predator lure and a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Armoured vehicles for New Zealand Army
    The Coalition Government has approved the purchase of a fleet of Bushmaster vehicles to replace the New Zealand Army’s armoured Pinzgauers, Defence Minister Ron Mark has announced today. The new fleet of 43 Australian-designed and built Bushmaster NZ5.5 will provide better protection for personnel and improved carrying capacity. “The age ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
    The Government’s three prevention frameworks to reduce family violence in Aotearoa were launched this week by Associate Minister for Social Development Poto Williams.   The frameworks were developed in partnership with communities around New Zealand, and build on the work the Government has already begun with its new family violence prevention ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
    The Government is pleased to confirm funding for improvements to radiology and surgical services at Hawke's Bay DHB, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says.     "The Minister of Finance the Hon Grant Robertson and former Health Minister Dr David Clark approved funding for Hawke's Bay DHB’s redevelopment of their radiology facilities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
    •    New funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre •    A new managed withdrawal home and community service, and peer support before and after residential care at Tairāwhiti DHB  •    A co-ordinated network of withdrawal management services throughout the South Island •    Peer support in Rotorua and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
    Introduction, seafarers and POAL Good morning everyone, I am delighted to be online with you all today. Before I begin, I have to acknowledge that COVID-19 has disrupted the maritime sector on an unprecedented scale. The work of seafarers and the maritime industry is keeping many economies around the world ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
    A $13 million investment from Government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau say. The funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
    The Government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  The announcement was made at the site of the water bore that was found to be the source of the fatal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
    Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. The time-limited visa changes are: Stranded RSE workers will be able to work part-time (a minimum of 15 hours ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
    The Government is making immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while also ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. We are: Extending temporary work visas due to expire by the end of 2020 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
    Professor Peter Skelton CNZM has been appointed as Chief Freshwater Commissioner and Alternate Environment Court Judge Craig James Thompson as Deputy Chief Freshwater Commissioner for the newly established Freshwater Planning Process (FPP). Environment Minister David Parker today also announced the appointment of Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Queen’s Counsel Neil Campbell has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Campbell graduated with a BCom and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1992. He spent two years with Bell Gully Buddle Weir in Auckland before travelling to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
    The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to better enable the development and operation of commercial film and video facilities in Christchurch. The Proposal, developed by Regenerate Christchurch in response to a request from Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
    The Government has launched a bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, while protecting the environment and growing jobs. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today released Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential, a 10-year roadmap to unlock greater value ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
    A new approach to prevent family harm that encourages greater collaboration across government and community groups is being celebrated at the opening of a new facility in Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today opened the Multi-Disciplinary Family Harm Prevention Hub Te Taanga Manawa in Lambie Road in Manukau. The facility ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
    The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. “That decision needs to be informed by policy analysis that is still to be completed. As a result it will be up to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
    The history of Rāpaki is being restored through the inclusion of te reo in thirteen official place names on Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula and around Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō, the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced today.   “I am pleased to approve the proposals from Te Hapū o Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
    Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan Woods.  “Last week Air Commodore Darryn Webb and I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
    Grant Robertson has today announced the first major release of funding from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced at Budget 2020.  “Today we’re setting out how $80 million will be invested, with $54 million of that over the 2020/2021 financial year for organisations from community level through to elite ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
    The Government is maintaining current levy rates for the next 2 years, as part of a set of changes to help ease the financial pressures of COVID-19 providing certainty for businesses and New Zealanders, ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “New Zealanders and businesses are facing unprecedented financial pressures as a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Extended loan scheme keeps business afloat
    Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says it will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New investment creates over 2000 jobs to clean up waterways
    A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects put forward by local councils receiving $62 million and the Kaipara ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
    Tena koutou katoa  Nga tangata whenua o tenei rohe o Pōneke, tena koutou Nau mai, haere mai ki te hui a tau mo te roopu reipa Ko tatou!  Ko to tatou mana!  Ko to tatou kaupapa kei te kokiri whakamua  Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa   Welcome. I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PGF top-up for QE Health in Rotorua
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $1.5 million to ensure QE Health in Rotorua can proceed with its world class health service and save 75 existing jobs, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The PGF funding announced today is in addition to the $8 million ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Building a more sustainable construction sector
    A new programme, which sets a firm course for the Building and Construction sector to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has been announced by the Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa. “A significant amount of New Zealand’s carbon emissions come from the building and construction sector.  If we’re serious ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago