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TPP designed to cripple our health system

Written By: - Date published: 10:31 am, June 11th, 2015 - 80 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, International - Tags: , ,

Thanks to Wikileaks:

Today, Wednesday 10 June 2015, WikiLeaks publishes the Healthcare Annex to the secret draft “Transparency” Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), along with each country’s negotiating position. The Healthcare Annex seeks to regulate state schemes for medicines and medical devices. It forces healthcare authorities to give big pharmaceutical companies more information about national decisions on public access to medicine, and grants corporations greater powers to challenge decisions they perceive as harmful to their interests.

Expert policy analysis, published by WikiLeaks today, shows that the Annex appears to be designed to cripple New Zealand’s strong public healthcare programme and to inhibit the adoption of similar programmes in developing countries. The Annex will also tie the hands of the US Congress in its ability to pursue reforms of the Medicare programme. [my emphasis]

Doesn’t that just sound great for NZ? You can follow links from that page to a full press release, a PDF of the leaked Annex, and analysis by Professor Jane Kelsey. See further coverage:

Wikileaks: NZ health system could be ‘crippled’ by TPP
Controversial trade deal will ‘cripple’ NZ’s health system – Wikileaks
Latest TPPA leak shows Pharmac under threat

And for by far the best analysis and background, see as ever:
Gordon Campbell on the TPP revelations about Pharmac

It’s hard to imagine any advantage to the TPP that would make up for the obvious costs. And it’s impossible to have any confidence in negotiations that are being kept secret from we the people.

80 comments on “TPP designed to cripple our health system ”

  1. Richard@Down South 1

    If anyone is genuinely surprised by this, I’d be surprised

    Big Pharmacy wants to lock in their profits… its simple (and they have learned from the MPAA/RIAA and NRAA/Military Industrial Complex when it comes to lobbying, and buying legislation

  2. Wayne 2

    I appreciate the most Standardnista’s have long made up their minds about TPP, but aren’t these fears being rather over-hyped?

    Is a level of transparency really going to bring about the end of Pharmac as we know it?

    Pharmac will still be able to buy generics – this can hardly be stopped since by definition a generic drug is outside the patent period.

    And for drugs within the patent period, well obviously Pharmac can only buy from the major pharmaceutical companies which invent them. So they presumably are already deeply in the negotiations with Pharmac.

    Mind you I thought it was interesting to hear on Morning Report this morning that Australia has apparently achieved a specific carve out for its drug buying agency in the investor protection agreement.

    Overall it does seem that the TPP negotiations must be nearly concluded with many of the thorny issues close to resolution.

    • r0b 2.1

      Is a level of transparency really going to bring about the end of Pharmac as we know it?

      That is disingenuous. It is a level of transparency plus the ability of US drug companies to sue us into the ground. And yes, that would bring about the end of Pharmac as we know it. As most of the commentators have worked out, and Australia seems to have worked out too.

    • tracey 2.2

      I appreciate that you have never objected to a single FTA and trust the PM and his cabinet to be honest and act in the best interests of all New Zealanders equally but isn’t your unquestioning support a little unnerving in someone of your training (legal) and current position as a Law Commissioner which requires an open mind and an ability to view things from all sides.

      It’s also interesting to see the changes since the original leaked draft and the following public discourse (prohibited under the confidentiality arrangements of the TPP process). Given that all these countries have been spying on each other for security, commercial and other purposes, they have had no genuine secrets from each other vis a vis their negotiating positions in the TPP for over a year. It is reasonable to conclude that one reason for this change in drafts since the first leak IS the light of the public shining on the process. Not the only conclusion, I grant you, but a supportable one.

      I sincerely hope that you are right and that TPP won’t change Pharmac’s position one iota the problem is, if you are wrong, it will be too late to wind the clock back.

    • Colonial Rawshark 2.3

      Is a level of transparency really going to bring about the end of Pharmac as we know it?

      you really should think about helping the citizens of the country you were born in and sworn to protect Wayne, instead of helping out major investors in corporations who can’t even find NZ on the map.

      • tracey 2.3.1

        “The Law Commission’s role is to promote the systematic review, reform and development of the law of New Zealand. As an independent Crown Entity, its functions are to review the law and make recommendations for improvement. Additionally, the Law Commission advises the Minister and government agencies on ways in which the law of New Zealand can be made as understandable and accessible as is practicable. The Commission has a commitment to consult the public on areas of law that are being reviewed. It promotes discussion and consultation through its issues papers series, and invites submissions from the public prior to making its recommendations for law reform to the Minister. These recommendations are published in its report series, and the government then decides what future amendments are to be made to the law.”

        Mr Mapp is a law commissioner

        • tracey

          Hon Sir Grant Hammond KNZM LLD (President from 1 December 2010)

          2014 241,135 2013 207,500
          Professor Geoff McLay (Commissioner from 1 December 2010) 2014 291,473 2013 285,000
          Hon Dr Wayne Mapp QSO (Commissioner from 5 March 2012) 2014 210,266 2013 256,778
          Judge Peter Boshier (Commissioner from 15 December 2012)

          2014 204,031 2013 83,554
          Total 2014 946,905 2013 832,832

    • Colonial Rawshark 2.4

      Wayne – please explain why the NZ government should reveal commercially sensitive internal information to foreign corporations?

      In other words, why the fuck should the NZ Government be open and transparent to foreign corporations which have no intention of being open and transparent with NZ?

    • Macro 2.5

      Wayne. This is neither a free trade agreement, nor is it fair. It is an “agreement” designed by multinationals for multinationals, who hold a monetary gun to the heads of our elected representatives, and is designed to remove the sovereignty of countries ,to determine their own destiny, in favour of a few individuals.
      Why else are discussions being held in secret?

    • millsy 2.6

      So you think its OK then.

    • AmaKiwi 2.7

      Wayne – “aren’t these fears being rather over-hyped?”

      Would you an agreement that disadvantaged you?

      No. I don’t suppose you are that stupid but you think we are.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.8

      And for drugs within the patent period, well obviously Pharmac can only buy from the major pharmaceutical companies which invent them.

      I think you need to read this and then consider that elemental compounds, which includes drugs, are discovered and not invented.

      Quite specifically I don’t think drugs, which are a result of the natural laws of the universe the same way that maths algorithms are, should be patentable at all.

      • tracey 2.8.1

        the US and their pharmas holding patents wants 12 years we currently have 5 years. I assume eithe rMr Mapp doesn’t know the implications of this or doesn’t understand

        • Wayne


          Patent terms are 20 years in NZ and the US, and most other countries. This term was agreed in the WTO agreements of 1994. Prior to that, NZ patents were 16 years. I don’t think this issue is being argued in TPP.

          I understand the IP issue on the length of term relates to copyright. The US wants 70 years, instead of the current 50. I don’t know what has been agreed. Any such change would require legislation.

          • Macro

            Wayne I think you need to read the excellent article by Gordon Campbell linked to above to see just how Big Pharma can kill our very effective Pharmac with on ongoing legal action should such a travesty as the TPPA occur – and with a growing cohort of baby boomer requiring increased medication on the horizon they have every reason to be doing so.

          • Draco T Bastard

            So, you’re claiming ignorance of what’s already been reported on that’s detrimental to NZ?

            Patents on medications could in effect be extended, as pharmaceutical companies would be able to claim additional patents on medications where they discover an alternative use for them, or make a minor modification. This would apply even if the modification were clinically insignificant. It would effectively mean the original product would be withheld from the generic market even though its patent had expired.
            The life-time of patents could be extended to take into account the time taken for a new medicine to be approved as safe.

            And this:

            The leaked February 2011 text would require the New Zealand government to allow companies to secure patents on “diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical methods for the treatment of humans or animals.”

            Such means are designed solely to increase profits while denying lifesaving medicines and techniques to the majority of people. It also decreases investment as more profit can milked from less research.

            I understand the IP issue on the length of term relates to copyright. The US wants 70 years, instead of the current 50.

            Get it right Wayne. It’s not 70 years or 50 years but 70 years after the death of the author allowing for higher rates of parasitism by the corporations and families. Copyright should end at death.

  3. maui 3

    All the benefits of an American backed Government coup but without the violence.

    • Colonial Rawshark 3.1

      Precisely – they discovered that economic colonisation via buying off the 1% elites of a country was often a better financial first option than bombing the hell out of a place.

      it’s only when the elites of a country refuse to be bought off – eg. Assad, Saddam, Gaddafi, Putin, that it gets blitzed.

      • tracey 3.1.1

        Thank god it was leaked… they have slightly watered down but now we have no excuses when it comes in, doesn’t work as Mr Mapp promises, and can’t undo it.

  4. Molly 4

    Interesting article in the Guardian regarding: The obscure legal system that lets corporations sue countries.

    Worth the read. Especially for you, Mr Mapp.

    • tracey 4.1

      Thanks for the link Molly

      “Increasingly, these suits are becoming valuable even before claims are settled. After Rurelec filed suit against Bolivia, it took its case to the market and secured a multimillion-dollar corporate loan, using its dispute with Bolivia as collateral, so that it could expand its business. Over the last 10 years, and particularly since the global financial crisis, a growing number of specialised investment funds have moved to raise money through these cases, treating companies’ multimillion-dollar claims against states as a new “asset class”.

      One of the largest of these funds to specialise in backing corporations’ suits against governments, Burford Capital, is based just a few blocks from East Croydon train station, on the fifth floor of a nondescript brown brick building. Companies rarely disclose when their cases are being financed by one of these third-party investors, but in the Rurelec suit against Bolivia, Burford issued a triumphant press release celebrating its “groundbreaking” involvement. Typically, funders like this will agree to back companies’ claims against states in exchange for a cut of any eventual award. In this case Burford gave Rurelec a $15m loan, using the claim against Bolivia as security.

      “Rurelec did not need capital to pay its lawyers. Rather, it needed capital to continue to grow its business,” Burford said in a statement. “This is a good demonstration that the benefits of litigation finance go far beyond that of simply helping to pay legal fees,” the CEO added, “and in many cases can provide an effective alternative method of financing to help companies achieve their strategic goals.” It was highly rewarding for Burford as well: it announced a net profit of $11m from the dispute.”

      Unintended consequences Mr Mapp? Except now they are known.

      it gets worse

      “From the beginning, part of the justification for the international investor-state dispute system has been to create a “neutral forum” for conflicts to be resolved, with investors giving up the right to seek diplomatic support from their home countries when they file cases like this. But documents obtained in response to a Freedom of Information request reveal that Rurelec was also able to rely on the British government, which actively intervened to support its case.

      The 44-page disclosure includes dozens of emails and internal briefing notes from May 2010 to June 2014, several of which explicitly reference British lobbying on behalf of the company. One email, to the UK ambassador to Bolivia, Ross Denny, whose sender has been redacted, includes the line “Lobby on Rurelec, yes.” Another, from Denny, said: “Our regular high-level lobbying on behalf of Rurelec has helped to demonstrate the seriousness with which we take protection of our companies’ interests.” Yet another said simply: “Rurelec needs our help.””

  5. tracey 5

    Final word to a lawyer specialising in the investor disputes area on people calling for El Salvador to pull out of treaties with investor dispute clauses”

    “Luis Parada, representing El Salvador in its dispute with Pacific Rim, agrees that this would be a wise move: “I personally don’t think countries get as much from these treaties than the risks that they incur in international arbitration.”

    Thanks again Molly

  6. millsy 6

    Wayne is on record as saying it is Ok for nations to be sued. So that means we will have a US style health system and Indonesia style employment law with Chinese style environmental law.

    A law of the jungle where New Zealaders pay thorough the nose of everything and lose their sick leave.

  7. tracey 7

    and there is Jane Kelsey’s counter-argument to Mr Mapp (Wayne)

    Her rebuttal of his assertion above is compelling.


  8. Colonial Rawshark 8

    ZeroHedge and RT have additional commentary

    The secret negotiations now allegedly reveal that Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme might be undermined, pushing up the cost of medicines in the country.

    “United States trade negotiators have aggressively pushed for provisions favoring multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers at the expense of national governments and public healthcare systems,” the Sydney Morning Herald wrote.


  9. Neil 9

    Its all part of Keys master plan to kill off the sick & invalided legally.

  10. OMBE 10

    Kelsey and co have shown how little they actually know, and keep harping the same old BS.
    TPP will not be the end of Pharmac, but may actually improve health outcomes for NZ’ers. Pharmac in its current state is not that great for the average NZ’er. When it was first implemented it was quite revolutionary, in the following years most countries systems have moved beyond what Pharmac delivers to NZ. The BS about Big Pharma is so delliousional – most generic drug companies are owned by the big pharma companies, so the view that NZ is sticking it to big pharma is so misguided.
    Why should Pharmac be reviewed – simply this – better health outcomes for NZers. Currently Pharamc is all about the largest number of pills for the least cash. What wrongs with that ? Two examples (among many):
    1) In Australia, there are over 40 fully funded cancer treatments that are not funded in NZ. So what ? NZ’ers are missing out on the gold standard of treatment that the rest of the OECD enjoys. The generic treatments that Pharmac funds are older and less effective than what is the gold standard. Heres the irony that the left has missed……gold standard treatments are avialable to NZers who can afford to pay. So by the left supporting the current Pharmac regime, they are effectively slowly killing their constitutents.
    2) Mental Health. The ranges of Pharamc approved drugs are known not to be effective on 70% of the population, but its not until your 3rd merry go-round (6-12 months later) that you may get more modern effective drugs. In the meantime, what has been the cost to individuals, families and the community ? This is the dirty little secret in mental health…..
    If Pharmac actually focussed on better health outcomes for every dollar they spent we would be better off.

    • millsy 10.1

      So you support US style healthcare, which means that people DIE because they cannot afford treatment..?

      • OMBE 10.1.1

        Dont recall suggesting that US healthcare was the answer ? In fact, pretty sure I didnt mention the system in my post. People die here everyday because they cant afford the gold standard of cancer treatment – whats your point ? The question re the review of Pharmac is not about choosing the US system, its about having Pharmac looking at funding better health outcomes for every NZer.

        • millsy

          Yeah but you want to weaken Pharmac and make NZers pay more.

          Anyway, TPPA is much more than Pharmac. It is about everything, ranging from employment law to public ownership/control of utilities.

          Imagine if the your sick leave was taken away because corporations sued the government because our employment law wasnt on the same level as Indonesia?

          Or if you got locked into paying high water and power bills because multinational’s sued the government for ensuring these are in public ownership?

          We could even be sued simply for having clean air and water regulations.

          • OMBE

            I would only hope that Pharmac starts to focus on health outcomes not just the number of pills they can buy. I dotn think that makes Pharmac weaker.

      • Neil 10.1.2

        Millsy That is exactly what Key, the national party & their supporters want to happen.

    • AmaKiwi 10.2

      @ OMBE

      If Pharmac needs improving, we can do it ourselves.

      Do I trust US corporations to “fix” Pharmac?

      Yeah right. Like the way I fixed my dog. America only wants what’s best for their cherished New Zealand “partners.” (The kind of partners who date rape you and then steal your purse.)

    • Draco T Bastard 10.3

      TPP will not be the end of Pharmac, but may actually improve health outcomes for NZ’ers.

      Yes it will and no it won’t.

      The evidence, which has just been presented to you, shows quite clearly that the TPPA has now been designed to destroy the Pharmac model so that the pharmaceutical companies can make higher profits. That profit will come out of our taxes meaning that we won’t be able to afford the standard of treatment that we have now.

      1. What’s Australia got to do with our government not taxing the rich enough? Australia does tax their rich more than we do.
      2. Mental health in NZ is pretty badly served but, again, that could be fixed by properly taxing the rich.

      Basically, you’re a standard ignorant RWNJ who’s more interested in following their belief than reality.

  11. Lloyd 11

    New Zealand should ensure that all citizens of countries signing the TTP have the freedom of access to an equivalent of Pharmac,

    It should be the right of the citizen of every country to have access to drugs at an affordable price.

    Every government should have the right to examine the pricing structure of any pharmaceutical company in any country that signs up to the TTP to ensure the drugs being sold by that company are not being sold at an inequitable price. And the government doing the investigation should be able to claw back any excess profits if the big pharmaceutical company is doing a rip-off.

    The argument put out by big pharmaceutical companies that they need big profits to pay for research is refuted by the fact that they spend more on promotion and advertising of drugs than they do on research.

    If big drug businesses want to use the TTP to push small countries around, it is fair that the TTP should be available to whack the big drug companies around, too.

  12. philj 12

    Why should Governments give up its right to govern in favour of corporate multinationals? Its fundamentally undemocratic and leads to a corporate pseudo government. No wonder why people are losing trust in their government Wayne.

    • AmaKiwi 12.1

      @ philj

      Sorry to disappoint you but corporations have been running the “free” world for some time.

      If American defense industries were government owned (no private profits) there would be a lot fewer wars around the world.

  13. john 13

    The TPP is estimated to be worth $3B a year to NZ, which is pretty conservative considering the China FTA is worth $8B a year in extra exports.

    And we have protesters claiming it could cost Pharmac up to $50m a year – that’s little more than 1% of the benefit.

    Yet the article writer at the top says “It’s hard to imagine any advantage to the TPP that would make up for the obvious costs.”

    If he can’t even imagine that $3,000M might outweigh $50M, then I suggest he enroll in the new entrants class at the nearest primary school for some maths classes.

    • millsy 13.1

      So you think that it is OK for corporations to sue governments if they increase minimum wage, build more state houses, control power prices, etc?

      Do you support US style health care, because we will have US style healthcare under TPPA.

      • john 13.1.1

        Yeah right – the TPP will change our health care system, just like the China FTA did.

        The extremist nutters like Professor Kelsey were against that as well. And it’s been wildly successful for New Zealand. $8B growth in annual exports in the few years since it came in. Before that it was took ten years to get just $1b growth in exports.

        • Draco T Bastard

          And yet we still have increasing poverty. This shows, conclusively, that the China FTA failed as much as the other FTAs failed.

          Of course, our entire ‘economic’ system fails as it enriches the already rich while impoverishing everyone else to do so.

      • john 13.1.2

        I think it’s fantastic that corporations can sue governments if they act illegally or corruptly.

        Because in every example I have ever seen of a corporation successfully suing a government, the court has ruled that the government has been acting illegally and often corruptly.

        Canada has lost cases under the North American Free Trade Agreement, including one for dodgy deal where they banned an American company from importing petrol with a particular additive, even though Canadas own health department said it was harmless, and Canada’s own petrol companies were not stopped from using it.

        • millsy

          Governments do not act illegally, they act to PROTECT THEIR OWN PEOPLE from corporations.

          Do you think that governments should be sued for, say stopping corporations from putting toxic waste into our rivers, or increasing the minimum wage, or ensuring water reticlation is kept public?

        • Draco T Bastard

          I think it’s fantastic that corporations can sue governments if they act illegally or corruptly.

          Perhaps we should be suing all the corporations for acting corruptly because the evidence coming out shows that they’ve been so acting in creating the TPPA.

          Because in every example I have ever seen of a corporation successfully suing a government, the court has ruled that the government has been acting illegally and often corruptly.


          The lawyers acting for the corporations (ie, acting corruptly) have found against the governments which were acting for the best interests of their country.

        • joe90

          Canada has lost cases under the North American Free Trade Agreement, including one for dodgy deal where they banned an American company from importing petrol with a particular additive, even though Canadas own health department said it was harmless, and Canada’s own petrol companies were not stopped from using it.

          A poorly written law targeting one company’s product was challenged under NAFTA and in Canadian Courts. NAFTA came in because the law allowed the additive to be sold in Canada if it was made in each province where it was sold. The Canadian courts threw out the law.

          Ethyl Corporation (EC), the only manufacturer of MMT in the world, subsequently contested this ban under NAFTA provisions. The essence of the EC argument was that the Canadian MMT ban was an expropriation of EC assets and that the ban was a performance requirement forbidden under NAFTA articles 1110, 1102 and 1106. EC successfully argued that EC could still manufacture and sell MMT under the existing Canadian law, including the new law, if EC created a manufacturing facility in each Canadian province and territory, thus circumventing the new law’s provisions that made the import or interprovincial transport of MMT illegal. The Canadian government’s failure to craft the legislation under health or environmental guidelines was the only reason for the failure of the Canadian law to stand under the articles of NAFTA. EC was paid $13 million and withdrew the $250 million NAFTA based suit.


  14. millsy 14

    John think corporations should sue governments if they ban them from discharging toxic chemicals into our rivers, and have better employment law than Indonesia.

    • john 14.1

      There have been similar trade agreements all over the world for decades.

      So perhaps you can give us lots of examples of where this is happening, unless of course your words are just empty scaremongering.

      • millsy 14.1.1

        SO you think it should happen?

        • john

          If we gain $3b in exports, and it costs Pharmac $50m more for medicines (which is what the extremists are claiming), then that’s barely 1% of the gain to the country.

          And as the government says, after the TPP comes, the cost of a $5 prescription will still be $5.

          • McFlock

            the prescriptions that used to be $3, right? Riiiiight.

            Besides: big ifs you got there.

            • john

              Yes – the same ones the government has made free for all children under 13 in just three weeks time from the 1st July 2015.

              • Clemgeopin

                Did you just pluck the figures of ‘$3 billion in exports’ and ‘$50 million extra for Pharmac’ from thin air when the buggers have kept all the details secret from the public so far?

                Did you read and understand the points made in these recent articles based on the Wikileaks? Are these points not valid?





                Isn’t it best for our long term safety, independence, control and benefit, to have only bilateral trade agreements between countries as we have done successfully with several countries already?

                • john

                  Opponents of the China FTA scoffed at claims that the agreement would increase exports to China $180-$280 million a year (a 10-15% increase)

                  In reality the annual increase was up to 11 times larger than the highest estimate. In just one year we had a $3b increase, and we now export $8,000 million more every year than when the agreement was signed.

                  For the Trans Pacific Partnership, the Peterson Institute modelling, reviewed by the NZEIR, had benefits to New Zealand by 2020 of $5.16 billion per year, depending on the configuration of the agreement, and what countries do and don’t sign up.

                  • AmaKiwi

                    @ john

                    Please explain to me how the Peterson Institute did modelling on a scheme so secret even members of the US Congress aren’t allowed to see?

                    It’s a pack of lies.

                    Until the plan is revealed no one can do a cost/benefit analysis. But by then Key & Crooks will have signed it. And they have the gall to say we live in a democracy!

                    • john

                      Duh – that’s why it’s called modelling.

                      They did a range of scenarios of tariff reductions and the number of countries involved.

                      It’s funny how the nutters get all excited about their latest pet protest, yet not a whisper from them about other trade deals like the recent Taiwan deal. (where our exports to Taiwan skyrocketed over 32% in less than half a year after the signing).

                      And funny how they’ve gone really quiet about the wildly successful China FTA after their earlier whinge-fest.

                    • Clemgeopin

                      @John, don’t know which ‘nutters’ you are referring to.
                      Personally, I have always supported the China -NZ bilateral trade deals from the time of the Labour government, Helen Clark and Phil Goff’s courageous, brilliant and patriotic, but cautious deal.

                      I don’t have that same confidence about a multi-country joint TPP agreement.

                      Country to country agreement, I am fine with for the reasons I have stated in an earlier post.

                      It is somewhat like a Government wanting to form a coalition with other parties, will make bilateral agreements separately with different parties, rather than a combined multi-party agreement. Won’t work because it will be messy, with too many conflicts and compromises, because each party’s policies, values, interests are different. Often such small boot licking poodle parties get screwed by the bigger fish in the group and end up losing support from the voters and from their own members too!

                      So, better to reject TPPA and instead, pursue independent bilateral trade agreements.

                    • john

                      Clemgeopin – we can possibly get much more out of this agreement than we can out of bilateral agreements.

                      If countries want in, they have to reduce tarrifs.

                      They may be much less willing to do that in a one on one agreement with us when they have much less to gain from it (as we already have very few tarrifs to give up).

                      And the nutters I was talking about are the serial protesters who hopped on a bandwagon and got hysterical about the China FTA, but were oblivious to several other FTAs in recent years – obviously not you.

                      In my view even if the govt has to cough up some money to top up Pharmac, that’s a small price to pay for all the benefits.

                      It’s a bit like someone refusing a $20 note because they’re worried that in accepting it, they might drop their 10 cent coin.

                    • Clemgeopin

                      “It’s a bit like someone refusing a $20 note because they’re worried that in accepting it, they might drop their 10 cent coin”

                      What worries me accepting that $20 from so many TPP sugar daddys is the possible repercussions such as gradually being at a disadvantage, losing independence, powerless, being controlled, being screwed, unable to get out, costs of medicines etc going up, losing all kinds of rights, being sued by big corporate crocks etc. Because all those things could will be the long term effect and the price to have to pay for being in the BIG club.

                      Money is always cool to have, but not at any cost. No use getting some extra cash but lose our soul in the process.

                      Reject TPPA. For me, it is BTA.

                  • Clemgeopin

                    You haven’t responded to my comment/questions clearly at all.

                    “In reality the annual increase was up to 11 times larger than the highest estimate’

                    That actually shows that bilateral trade deals could be much more beneficial than being one in a large group of TPP countries each working in their own interests while trying to dish out crumbs to a small country like NZ which probably will end up losing some freedom and independence because of being bound by collective rules and restrictions!

                    Also, you did not respond to my question ‘Did you read and understand the points made in these recent [linked] articles based on the Wikileaks? Are these points not valid?’

                    • john

                      All I see in your links is the same sort of scaremongering that left the scaremongers covered in egg after whinging about the China FTA.

                      Maybe bilateral deals would be better, but maybe not – it might take decades to get deals with all the countries, particularly those where deals are much more beneficial to us than to them (i.e. most countries, because they still have high tarrifs harming our exporters, but we don’t)

                    • Clemgeopin

                      @John, you say doing ‘scaremongering’, I say showing ‘wisdom’.

                      Once embedded/trapped in a TPPA, and then if found problematic/disadvantageous in practice, it will be TOO hard to get out, like as if one is trapped in Alcatraz surrounded by rough seas, sharp rocks and sharper sharks.

                      It is much easier to end a bilateral agreement, if the need arises to do so.

                    • Clemgeopin

                      P.S : And another important reason for me personally is that I simply do not trust this National/ACT government which is a pro- corporate, pro-capitalist outfit working primarily for the wealthy with cunning calculated crumb measures for the workers, common people and the poor. I have found this government quite untrustworthy and untruthful.

                      If an agreement is made by a left wing labour led government, I would be a little more comfortable because I think the left honestly cares for the country, its values and its people definitely much more than the pretentious pro rich RW.

                      I also think that Andrew Little will make a trustworthy straight up Prime Minister. I will be keen to hear the views of the Labour party and Andrew Little after the FULL TPP agreement details are put in the open domain for our consideration BEFORE the government signs it in secret. The government will be stupid if they sign it first before showing it to us, the people.

              • McFlock

                the ones who survive their non-WoF’d substandard housing, anyway.

            • miravox

              Riiiiight all right.

              There goes the Prime Minister dodging the issue again. Prescription charge doesn’t have anything to do with the the cost of medicines and, yes, is changed by governments at will. At best it’s a flat dispensing fee, based on the number of items prescribed, not the cost of the medicine prescribed. It probably barely covers the pharmacy dispensing costs.

              It’s the ‘relative value’ part of the process that is the issue in the TPPA, especially where the linked flow chart says ‘economic assessment’, ‘prioritisation’, and ‘negotiation with suppliers’. But the PM knows that already. Strange how his dodge is reported as if it’s relevant.

              I reckon a bit of political skullduggery would be required to keep the prescription fee for basic meds the same, while but there would be hefty co-payments invented for new, expensive meds. Otherwise NZ won’t be able to afford the health system in its current form.

  15. Drowsy M. Kram 15

    “If we gain $3b in exports” – says who, and why do you trust them?

    Who is responsible for informing New Zealanders about TPP negogiations? Clearly not OMBE.

    1. Belittle the experts [“harping”; “the same old BS”; “how little they know” – mind you I’m impressed with how much they DO know given that our Government is treating citizens like mushrooms – Long Live WikiLeaks!]

    2. Spout nonsense Edward Lear would be proud of, e.g. “TPP will not be the end of Pharmac” – [“I, for one, have never said the TPP would mean the end of Pharmac” – Jane Kelsey, Professor of Law, University of Auckland.] A common concern, however, is that Pharmac’s bargaining positions will be weakened by TPPA conditions. BTW, this is now an established NAct Government strategy to undermine not-for-profit service providers such as RS and Pharmac; (i) starve them of funds or otherwise compromise their operations, (ii) claim they’re inefficient, (iii) replace them with regimes that facilitate profiteering (by “the haves and the have-mores”) from the impoverishment and suffering of the most vulnerable New Zealanders.

    3. Make ‘non-assertions’ – “TPP… may actually improve health outcomes for NZ’ers”. Well yes, it MAY. But since our Government is VERY DELIBERATELY keeping its citizenry in the dark as to what they are signing us ALL up for, this comment too is simply more uninformed nonsense. [Unless, of course, OMBE has access to privileged information.] The TPPA forces ALL New Zealanders to take a MASSIVE gamble that only the 1% can win – the ‘game’ is already rigged.

    IF OMBE could demonstrate how the TPPA would (not ‘might’, WOULD) address the concerns he/she raises in “1) Australia” and “2) Mental Health”, then I might be swayed.

    You’d think that given the continuing TPP-associated concern and criticism that the Government might have opted for greater transparency in its TPP negotiations (part of their ‘vision’ for NZ), and until they do I really don’t see why I should trust them. The corruption and poverty of spirit of our Government is literally breath-taking.

    • john 15.1

      It’s laughable that extremists like Kelsey are called “experts”. On National Radio shes was quizzed about the positive aspects of the TPP, like removal of barriers that are excluding our exporters from some markets.

      When she claimed there were no positives, the interviewer said there must be at least one small positive thing for the country in the TPP. She said there wasn’t a single solitary thing. Not one.

      That’s the opinion of someone so blinkered, and so tunnel visioned, that they’re so far out at the extreme end of the spectrum that they’re about to fall off the edge of their flat earth.

      • AmaKiwi 15.1.1

        @ John
        If there is no document we can read there are no known benefits. It’s all conjecture.

        What we do know is what Drowsy M. Kram just wrote:

        “The corruption and poverty of spirit of our Government is literally breath-taking.”

        • john

          So were you this concerned about our recent free trade agreements with
          Or Hong Kong?
          Or China?
          Or Malaysia?
          Or Singapore?
          Or Thailand?

          Or the other TEN trade agreements currently under negotiation?

  16. saveNZ 16

    I really look forward to having Lawyers solve all our problems and be in charge of our economy under TPP, NOT!

    NZ are an international joke! A tadpole selling our country in a fire sale, with zero benefits to 95% of the population in a secret agreement which Grossly arrogant Grosser would not be able to understand anyway. Even many right wingers understand it will not benefit them.

    My favourite quote was simpletons selling our country for ‘magic beans’. Yep sums it up.

    • john 16.1

      Yeah right – we’ve got trade agreements with countries all over the world and suddenly you think overseas lawyers will be running the country – best take something for those paranoid delusions.

      Kelsey said the same about the China FTA – in the meantime it’s been successful beyond it’s proponents wildest imagination.

      And not a foreign lawyer in sight.

      Her extremist views couldn’t have been more wrong.

      • Grant 16.1.1

        While we’re on the subject of delusional and extremist views would you like to tell us again about how it used to cost you a days wages to fill the tank of your motorcycle in 1981?

        Better just take a moment to read this quote from Stats nz first though.

        “Petrol prices rose to more than $1.75 per litre at times during the September 2006 quarter. This compares with retail pump prices of less than 60 cents per litre 25 years earlier in 1981, following oil price shocks in 1974 and in 1979. It is interesting to note, however, that petrol prices have not increased as strongly as consumer prices overall since 1981. This article looks at how petrol prices and the overall Consumers Price Index (CPI) have tracked since 1981, when the CPI petrol index started.”

      • saveNZ 16.1.2

        Not sure the fonterra farmers think the China FTA has been as successful as you do. Not only are milk prices at a world low, the once fantastic reputation of Fonterra is tarnished with continual milk scares. No wonder milk is going down in price.

        Also all the hungry kids in NZ, the lack of affordable houses, the crap boxes going up with the rate payers bailing them out with all their problems, Kiwis being tenants farmers/renters in our own country, $12 mill now to Saudi Investors and a 50 thousand sheep off to Mexico for live slaughter (oh I mean “breeding”).

        Record amount of budget deficits from the Nats.

        Yep there are the 5% getting even richer while selling our country and future off. Yes they have benefited by the trade agreements, but the majority is worse off.

        I’m talking about the other 95% that apart from making a killing selling their property/land (with the RMA which is already a joke and the Environment court a Kangaroo court like in the US). Funny how all the carbon, pollution, water quality is now declining while the figures are massaged by the Nats to hide it.

        People can’t afford the basics now, like power, water, rates and rent.

        Now Campbell Live gone, the questions of course have stopped. Remember the millions of litres of water sold to China for bottled water for the brand sum of $3000 to the council for the permit, while the farmer next door was in drought.

        Yes interesting times, not really good times for much of the population.

        Try and tell the farmers and much of NZ they are better off, I think they will think you are the delusional one.

        Perhaps you should have a read of Bills article on Labour above. To win, Labour needs to apologise for Rogernomics and neoliberalism, change their ways and move on. The polls have shown that voters do not like, National Lite and it is the same for Labour in the UK with a similar legacy.

      • KJT 16.1.3

        How about a cost benefit analysis of FTA’s?

        For example selling 7 billion of milk powder. Gross Profit to New Zealand about 3 billion.

        ?Billion of interest on borrowings for Dairy farms.
        ?billion on interest to pay for Chinese goods.
        The cost of degraded rivers and water.
        The lost jobs.
        The cost of extra welfare.
        Increased food costs for New Zealanders.
        The costs of subsidies to Farmers over decades, and lately of irrigation.
        The future cost of not diversifying, when dairy collapses because we have oversupplied.
        The costs of losing local manufacturing skills.
        Money going offshore to overseas contractors instead of our community under FT rules such as the GPA’s.

        Yes, we were unhappy about other FTA’s.

        At least the China one did not sell us out totally and make decisions by New Zealanders to increase our own welfare too costly. The Aussies are finding now with “plain packaging” in their Aussie? US FTA..

        Ask Canada and Mexico how well NAFTA worked for them? Or the Aussies about their FTA with the USA.
        The Aussies are finding now with “plain packaging” in their Aussie? US FTA. Plenty of Lawyers in sight their. And in Germany when they cut the profits of Nuclear power companies with legislation.

        North Americans, the smart ones, remember all too well, how they became more prosperous than Britain after the revolution, by protecting their own industries and annulling British patents, British industry protection and property.

        TPPA is to ensure that US corporate imperialism is entrenched for ever.

        • saveNZ

          I agree, the Chinese FTA has not been as bad as the US style proposed TPP. But are the benefits really there, especially when you look at branding and milk scares? I doubt it. Chinese take our IP, our land in NZ, and not sure what we really got out of it? Kiwi politiicians are too stupid to do trade deals and they can’t defend when it goes bad anyway. Ie OZ not taking our apples, China not taking our milk etc etc

          But at least the Chinese seem more interested in Trading than Invading. Why invade, when you can just legitimately buy up our country and move in? Then the US can surveil them, so win win for the super powers, but what do locals get?

          The big question is, Do we want life in NZ like China or the US?

          I think the answer it NO. We want to preserve the Kiwi way of life and this is what is under threat.

          Although I don’t vote for him, Winston Peters/ NZ First is the only party who seems to understand this.

          We can still be friends with China and the US, we just need to preserve our own way of life.

  17. whateva next? 17

    Pharmac has always been a thorn in the side of the drug companies, and something to be very proud of. A canary in the coalmine as far as public health system. Lest we forget, I will yet again link to the very wonderful Harry Smith, who WAS ACTUALLY AROUND PRE- NATIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM, so lets listen to him, he knows what he is talking about.

    Same comment as I put on earlier post, but will keep saying it.

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