On Wednesday, the fine folks at Wikileaks published the draft sections of the TPPA dealing with Healthcare.
It makes for pretty grim reading.
Basically, regardless of the Prime Minister's breathless assurances that PHARMAC will be protected ... the TPPA will grant pharmaceutical companies unprecedented rights of access and challenge to PHARMAC's decision-making process.
Company representatives - who've already been granted *far* more information about the text of the treaty than you or I or even our MPs - will be able to sit in on PHARMAC's meetings. Not only that, under the Investor-State Dispute mechanisms in the TPPA ... if they don't like a particular decision, they'll be free to sue OUR state in order to get their way.
So as far as I'm concerned, when John Key says PHARMAC will be protected by his government - he is simply lying. Just like he did when he promised his government would not raise GST.
New Zealand First's Fletcher Tabuteau MP puts it bluntly: "We’ve already had the Saudi debacle in which the government paid a bribe to two businessmen. At the same time the Prime Minister claims we can’t stop Koreans buying land here because of the free trade agreement. That’s why New Zealand First is determined to stop any future governments signing agreements that allow corporations to sue us, which is what our Bill, Fighting Foreign Corporate Control, is all about."
He's absolutely right. Time and time again, this government has used international agreements and the lure of filthy lucre as "justification" to renege on its commitment to our citizens in favour of rolling out the red carpet for foreign capital.
That's not good enough. And I, for one, am infinitely glad that New Zealand First has taken the lead in defending our sovereignty on this one.
If you're interested, you can check out the text of Fletcher's awesome Fighting Foreign Corporate Control bill here.
Meanwhile, you can help the struggle by writing to your local MP and making it plain how you feel about this issue. Better still, write to a Government MP - and get your friends, family and co-workers to do the same.
I know that when it comes to consultation, this government seems to have the tinniest ear of any in living memory - but as we saw with the backdown over mining in the Coromandel, when they feel they may be facing swathes of electoral oblivion ... they CAN be forced to be reasonable!
Over to you.
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