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John Key – Snake Oil Salesman

Written By: - Date published: 12:33 pm, July 30th, 2015 - 42 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, Globalisation, International, john key, national, national/act government, same old national, us politics - Tags: , ,

john-key-snake-oil

One of the most annoying things about John Key is the soothing disingenuous way that he treats issues.  He is always relaxed about issues, the effects of dramatic changes are downplayed and everyone else is wrong and he always sounds utterly convincing.

Pharmac’s future under the TPP is one of those issues where his confidence has in the past been excessively high.  But a short analysis of his recent comments with what appears to be the probable outcome suggests that he overcooked his description of things.  Completely.

The closer we have got to the conclusion of the negotiations the more dead frogs have appeared.  As Anthony Robins states this is a rubbish deal which National will sign to protect a few egos.

This is a report from the Herald on July 11, 2015.

Prime Minister John Key has promised that New Zealanders will continue to pay no more than $5 for subsidised prescriptions, whatever happens to Pharmac under the Trans Pacific Partnership.

He made his comments to reporters in Christchurch today when questioned about the latest leak of TPP text by Wikileaks which suggest there will be greater requirements on Pharmac for transparency in its decision-making and potential for review.

“Ultimately for New Zealanders, they pay $5 for prescription drugs sponsored by Pharmac,” Mr Key said. “The Government pays any additional costs.

“So whatever happens as a result of TPP, New Zealanders are going to carry on paying $5 for their prescriptions.”

He said again that the Government would not sign anything that under-cut Pharmac in a dramatic way.

This is a report from the same day on TV3’s site:

Pharmac won’t be damaged by the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, Prime Minister John Key says.

The agreement is still under negotiation and draft agreements are secret, but according to Wikileaks a healthcare annex could “cripple” New Zealand’s drug-buying agency.

Mr Key says it won’t be at risk.

“There’s no chance of that and no suggestion of that,” he told reporters today.

“I’m quite comfortable that our capacity to have Pharmac, and the benefits New Zealanders enjoy because of it, will be preserved.”

Wikileaks has published on its website TPP documents it says would force healthcare authorities to give big pharmaceutical companies more information about national decisions on public access to medicine, and grant corporations greater powers to challenge decisions they perceive as harmful to their interests.

Key’s line that we will pay no more than $5 for pharmaceuticals is completely disingenuous.  It is clear that either Pharmac will require more funding or the quality and [variety] of the drugs it purchases will reduce.  Ignoring this and talking only about how individual purchase costs will be capped is disingenuous in the extreme.

Not only are we looking at a decrease in quality or an increase in price for the country but the dreaded investor state resolution procedures opens the door to multinational drug companies attacking Pharmac through the Arbitration Courts.  Recent news of Australia spending $50 million in preliminary legal skirmishes against Phillip Morris trying to protect its plain package policy may be a sign of things to come.

News from the latest round of negotiations makes you wonder what benefit there will be for New Zealand.  Besides with the current state of the international Dairy Market and the fact that many farms are trading at a loss suggests that increasing the ability to trade at a loss may not be such a good thing.

And in breaking news the TPP may have significant implications for State Owned Enterprises.  From Wikileaks:

Today, 29 July 2015, WikiLeaks releases a secret letter from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP or TPPA) Ministerial Meeting in December 2013, along with a comprehensive expert analysis of the document.

Download the TPP SOE Ministerial Guidance in PDF or read below.

Download the expert analysis on TPP SOE Ministerial Guidance in PDF or read the HTML.

The letter indicates a wide-ranging privatisation and globalisation strategy within the Agreement which aims to severely restrict “state-owned enterprises” (SOEs). Even an SOE that exists to fulfil a public function neglected by the market or which is a natural monopoly would nevertheless be forced to act “on the basis of commercial considerations” and would be prohibited from discriminating in favour of local businesses in purchases and sales. Foreign companies would be given standing to sue SOEs in domestic courts for perceived departures from the strictures of the TPP, and countries could even be sued by other TPP countries, or by private companies from those countries. Developing countries such as Vietnam, which employs a large number of SOEs as part of its economic infrastructure, would be affected most. SOEs continue to fulfil vital public functions in even the most privatised countries, such as Canada and Australia.

Jane Kelsey has in her rigorous way has provided expert analysis of the paper.  Her conclusions are that TPP will require SOEs and monopolies to act on the basis of commercial considerations, will not be able to discriminate when buying and selling goods and services by favouring domestic firms, must comply with all the other chapters of the TPPA when they exercise a delegated authority and are not allowed to get government support or non commercial assistance if that causes “adverse effects” to another TPPA country.

The threats of disputes will have a chilling effect on SOE activity.  And you have to wonder how Pharmac, presuming it falls within the definition of an SOE, will deal with these provisions should they come into force, particularly the requirement that it not receive government support as it will obviously affect the bottom lines of big Pharmaceutical companies.

We are potentially witnessing the greatest loss of sovereignty New Zealand has ever experienced, the undermining of Pharmac, the kneecapping of our SOEs and the opening up of an expensive disputes resolution procedure that we have no control over.  And all for what appears to be decreasingly ability to export more milk.

42 comments on “John Key – Snake Oil Salesman”

  1. esoteric pineapples 1

    At least the other Jack’s beans really were magic – no such luck here

  2. Paul 2

    Quisling.

    treason
    ˈtriːz(ə)n/
    noun
    the crime of betraying one’s country.

    • Capn Insano 2.1

      John Key is most definitely a quisling colon wart of the worst order.

      • aerobubble 2.1.1

        The GFC changed global economics, yet Labour persists in letting Key cite pre-gfc policy settings to indicate how Labour would rule.

        Add in how balming the housing debate has gotten, a CGT would have shifted incentives from housing to productive sectors thus raising growth and yes house prices, as housing is all about a nexus of three crisises, affordability tackled by a cgt, not enough supply tackled by better public transport and infrastructure build in s.auckland, coupled by govt commitment to social build.

        You see what we have is the hidden deflationary effect of toryism, lower regulation, concerns of the rich only in housing and basic debt industry that plagues us.
        Reaching the height where s.auckland rate payers subdise infrastructure in the heart of the cbd for a few wealthy to fly in for a few months a year and enjoy the liveable city, but wait, add overcrowding and debt, paying the interest of the homes theyre renting, suffering overcrowding, and you get the reasons why the us housing market collapsed. Housing was a political play area for politicians ans a giant scam for the debt industry.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          A CGT would have been a small part of the required overall solution shifting investment from property into industry. Same with banning foreign ownership of NZ land.

          The thing which is really irksome to me is that we’re focussed on a couple of simple silver bullet points, but still not discussing the comprehensive programmes and goals that we need to implement.

          • aerobubble 2.1.1.1.1

            Yes. But labour during the election did say cgt was one part and thats why hooten is a thteat to democracy, instead of aiding understand he takes time out to not only misrepresent by take cheap shots. Saying that lab cgt would not lower housing prices, duh, shifting investment to productive sectors or infrasyructure would raise wealth and so raising buyer power in the market bar any immediate shake out from such changes.

  3. northshoredoc 3

    “It is clear that either Pharmac will require more funding or the quality and extend of the drugs it purchases will reduce. ”

    Que ?

  4. G C 4

    I can’t speak to the nature of other Trans-Pacific Partners but… …let’s just say it – America is very litigious and the idea of being sued for some insanely ridiculous amount is inevitable. Most horrifying would be loosing and liable for said ‘insanely ridiculous amount’.

    Pharmaceuticals will increase in cost (for the government) and yet this FTA isn’t really Free Trade because we’re not getting Free Trade on Dairy. If anything we are opening the doors for more foreign property speculators.

    National are quick to point out that state-liability clauses similar (copied?) to/from the China FTA will be in the TPPA. Yet, China are hardly as litigious as America.

    So where are the benefits? It was reported the PM was making emergency calls after question time yesterday to sure-up-dairy-free-trade or some such. It sounded very tacky and concerning.

    I don’t want to be on the wrong side of economic history here. Saying that – I’m not sold on this TPPA.

    Will be interesting to see how the American economy is looking towards the end of September (2015)

  5. AmaKiwi 5

    2 Anti-TPPA demonstrations in Auckland:

    Today, Thursday 30 July
    3:30 pm
    Tim Grosser’s electorate office
    3136 Great North Rd.
    New Lynn

    Directions: 2 block west of New Lynn train and bus station. Plenty of nearby free public parking.

    Saturday, 15 August,
    1pm
    Aotea Square
    Queen St., Auckland

  6. AmaKiwi 6

    The Sham is Exposed

    After 6 years of “trade” negotiations they are down to the wire with no agreement yet on agricultural tariffs.

    Tariffs are about trade. Everything before this has been about surrendering our autonomy to corporations whose only purpose is their profits.

  7. tc 7

    Selling us out to a setting sun empire who is looking to delay the inevitable and doesn’t care who it takes with it when it eventually crumbles.

  8. DH 8

    This does seem to be leading to some serious questions about the future of our public health system under a TPPA. Our hospitals and other state health providers would likely be seen as competing against private providers and being non-profit organisations funded by the taxpayer it could be claimed they have an ‘unfair’ competitive advantage over a private business wishing to enter the market.

    I’m wondering just what an “SOE” is in these TPP talks, SOE is after all an acronym for State Owned Enterprises. For NZ it’s also a legal definition covered by the SOE Act but I doubt our definition matches what the TPP parties will be using to define an SOE. Our hospitals may not viewed as SOEs by us in NZ but they could still be described as state owned enterprises because that’s what they are – enterprises owned by the state.

    Does anyone know where public health stands in these TPP talks? I’d think there would need to be specific exclusions in the TPPA contract for things like Pharmac, public hospitals etc, and I haven’t heard much about health at all (except for Pharmac).

    • AmaKiwi 8.1

      @ DH

      “This does seem to be leading to some serious questions about the future of our public health system under a TPPA.”

      More: It raises serious questions about who controls these islands that are deluded into thinking they are an independent country.

    • Skinny 8.2

      Could also be our Railway? One of the American captains of industry bought a railway a few years back think it was Warren Buffet, perhaps Fay & his clan will broker another dirty deal. Meanwhile I doubt slippery John Key would have addressed the shareholders at Mainfreights AGM. The leadership of the logistics group gave the Nats quite a serve about their piss poor integrated transport strategy and took exception for the lack of support for Rail from the Key regime. These comments would have had the NBR guest columnist Matthew Hooton cursing as he runs the paddocks of No Tree Hill.

      http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/mainfreight-throws-weight-behind-kiwirail-laments-lack-national-transport-strategy-b-176311

    • Blue Horseshoe 9.1

      They’re all under suspicion, every last one of them. Public and private sector, MP’s, public servants, CEO’s and the heads of departments inside industry.

      Academia, University’s , Institutions

      Media, journos, news readers, writers, editors, producers top to bottom all part of the problem

      The only interesting question to ask, is WHY

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        Partly fear, partly careerism, partly ignorance, mostly self interest.

        Ratio will vary.

  9. Tautoko Mangō Mata 10

    “​Open source leader ‘livid’ at TPPA software patent capitulation
    Negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement appear likely to undo New Zealand’s ban on software patents.”
    http://www.zdnet.com/article/open-source-leader-livid-at-tppa-software-patent-capitulation/

  10. Anno1701 11

    The USA has produced ( & destroyed by literally tipping it in holes in the ground ) RECORD BREAKING amounts of milk and milk products so far this year

    why the hell would they want ours ?

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      And the surprise answer is: they don’t. Neither does Japan.

      • Murray Simmonds 11.1.1

        EXACTLY. The rhetoric about ‘dairy access’ is merely a smokescreen. What the National Government really wants is a country run by offshore multinationals – which is exactly what the “Agreement” is designed to deliver. Its all about delivering to the 1% (in the hope that they may become a part of that) and NOTHING about free trade.

    • GregJ 11.2

      Totally. And domestically there is no political will to allow access to the domestic agricultural markets in Canada, US or Mexico.

      Agricultural access to the North America market (USA, Canada, Mexico) and Japan has been the Chimera of NZ trade negotiation for the last 35-40 years. We have sacrificed economic sovereignty, destroyed our domestic manufacturing base, and put the country through 30 years of neo-liberalism in pursuit of it.

      It is our Snark but it’s really a Boojum – and now the TPPA will ensure we softly and suddenly vanish away.

      • Macro 11.2.1

        ^^^^ THIS…

      • Draco T Bastard 11.2.2

        +1

        The simple fact of the matter is that the majority of developed nations can already supply all the dairy that they need/want themselves and are looking for ways to get rid of their excess. Give China another few years and they’ll be in the same place – trying to get rid of excess.

  11. millsy 12

    Well looks like we will be paying more for utilities and the government will be sued for trying to keep water reticulation public.

  12. Ann Johns 13

    New tonight, straight from the negotiating table. Not only will there be no gains for NZ dairy farmers they may end up being losers. Garner is now calling it an EPIC FAIL and a FRAUD. I hope these natz voters can now see clearly that FJK is a traitor, selling out the country for nothing, absolutely nothing in return, just losses.

  13. BrianBoru 14

    Japan’s offer on dairy imports unlikely to satisfy New Zealand

    http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Japan-s-offer-on-dairy-imports-unlikely-to-satisfy-New-Zealand

    ‘LAHAINA, Hawaii — Japan is considering setting a 70,000-ton quota for low-tariff imports of dairy products from the U.S., Australia and New Zealand under the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, but Wellington is objecting to the figure as too small. ‘

    Lets face it – it’s turning out to be the ‘block of cheese’ FTA.

  14. Lucy 15

    “Ultimately for New Zealanders, they pay $5 for prescription drugs sponsored by Pharmac”
    But if things cost more there will be less drugs sponsored by pharmac so more drugs will be available to you and me full price. Pharmac is also a good place to start for a Government cutting budgets so even if Key “guarantees” that his government will spend more he can not bind future governments!

  15. rawshark-yeshe 16

    Excellent analysis of the threats we face proving we are not alone in distrusting and detesting …. it is truly people vs corporations .. this is the battle line ….

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ralph-neas/tpp-threatens-access-to-affordable-medications-for-people_b_7899190.html

  16. rawshark-yeshe 17

    and here comes Monsanto via TPP … we will no longer be able to keep Aotearoa GM free. Read it and weep for our children and grandchildren.

    http://www.redicecreations.com/article.php?id=27898

  17. Observer (Tokoroa) 18

    It is sad seeing our Prime Minister getting himself right up the diseased skirts of the “take everything give nothing” United States of America.

    Our negotiators being rolled like so much street litter – down lanes that have NO EXITS. The ever creeping cringing kiwi. Servile weak minded politicians… stupid smiles and subservient body language. Yuck – it makes you want to throw up.

    Buying off the plan is always a hell of a risk. Locking our whole resources and intellectual property into the midas hands of the USA is total folly.

    At the very least would some courageous Polly stand up and say this unwanted deal will be rescinded by the New Zealand public when it wishes.

    Also, sign up only for a three year trial before we become the next batch of black and brown slaves to the sick Americans.

  18. David H 19

    “One of the most annoying things about John Key is the soothing disingenuous way that he treats issues. He is always relaxed about issues, the effects of dramatic changes are downplayed and everyone else is wrong and he always sounds utterly convincing.”

    That is because if you don’t care about anything then why should you have an affinity for it? Key does not care about NZ he only cares about himself. And that’s what makes it so easy to lie.

  19. David H 20

    “One of the most annoying things about John Key is the soothing disingenuous way that he treats issues. He is always relaxed about issues, the effects of dramatic changes are downplayed and everyone else is wrong and he always sounds utterly convincing.”

    That is because if you don’t care about anything then why should you have an affinity for it? Key does not care about NZ he only cares about himself. And that’s what makes it so easy to lie.

    • Anne 20.1

      He is always relaxed about issues, the effects of dramatic changes are downplayed and everyone else is wrong and he always sounds utterly convincing.

      And look at the way Professor Jane Kelsey has been defiled… oh, she’s just some nutty old professor (and a woman to boot – left unsaid of course) so what does SHE know about anything. Sadly, it looks like that “nutty old woman professor” is going to be proven right and we will all suffer the consequences.

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