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TTPA not democratic and not right, nurses say

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is joining thousands of other organisations and individuals in calling for the text of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), currently being negotiated in secret, to be made public.

NZNO believes the Government should not sign any agreement that has the potential to limit its ability to make decisions in the best interests of New Zealanders.

The TPPA will limit the ability of governments to regulate wholesale and retail prices for medicines to ensure that they are affordable, and will also give foreign investors the right to sue governments for making laws which affect those investments, even if the legislation is in the best interests of citizens.

NZNO policy adviser, Marilyn Head says, "These are matters that affect public health, and must be open to scrutiny. There is a very real risk that multinational corporate interests will override our sovereign interests and that could be disastrous for health."

TPPA proposals for extended patents on medicines will delay market entry of the cheaper generic medicines that PHARMAC relies on to keep the price of medicines down. Other proposals would delay and interfere with PHARMAC's negotiating and decision making power. Without PHARMAC New Zealand will find it harder to afford the most effective medicines or medical technologies."

"The TPPA would also mean our government would lose their right to set policy on issues like tobacco control. Tobacco companies would have the right to sue the New Zealand government for taking steps to reduce the harm tobacco causes."

"NZNO advocates for effective delivery of public health policy and a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025. The TPPA will make achieving those important aims much harder," Head says.

"The health of New Zealanders should not be negotiable. NZNO urges the Government to release the text of the agreement, consult properly with the public and put the health and well-being of its citizens before big business."

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