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Govt 'must make decisions in the best interests of NZers'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is concerned that the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), currently being negotiated in secret, has the potential to limit the government's ability to make decisions that are in the best interests of the health of New Zealanders.

NZNO policy adviser, Marilyn Head says, "We are concerned that the agreement may affect Pharmac's pharmaceutical purchasing powers and extend patents, which would increase the cost of medicines and limit access to new medicines. New Zealand wouldn't be able to afford the most effective medicines or medical technologies."

"There is also potential for provisions in the TPPA that will compel commercial behaviour and restrict governments from making socially responsible decisions, such as ensuring that energy prices remain affordable in order to protect public health."

"We have already seen the power of so-called "free-trade" agreements. Tobacco companies are suing the Australian Government for trying to reduce the harm of smoking by packing cigarettes in plain packages. And recently the World Trade Organisation upheld Indonesia's right to sell clove cigarettes in the United States where they had been banned because they encouraged higher rates of smoking in children", Marilyn Head says.

"The health of New Zealanders should not be negotiable. NZNO urges to Government to listen to its 46 000 members and the many other health sector organisations who have called on the Health Select Committee to hold an open inquiry so that the public health implications of the TPPA can be fully explored. The health of our people is not for sale."

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