Public Health Association media release Wednesday 09 November 2011, 11:19AM
The Public Health Association (PHA) is calling for openness on
the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) because the
agreement could harm our health future.
This week far-reaching 'free trade agreement' negotiations are
taking place in Hawaii between New Zealand and eight other
countries, including the US which wants to limit New Zealand's
ability to make laws and adopt policies that might interfere with
PHA National Executive Officer Dr Gay Keating says much of what
New Zealanders value could be at stake here.
"For example, it looks as though the agreement could limit
Pharmac's ability to purchase medicines at a reasonable price for
all New Zealanders - solely to protect the interests of overseas
"Likewise it seems it could stop New Zealand making laws to
control harm from tobacco and alcohol, also to protect foreign
Dr Keating says laws about protecting food quality, being
smokefree, or controlling alcohol advertising are for New
Zealanders to decide upon.
"We should not be told what to do by other countries who only want
to protect their trade interests - just as we should not let
smaller Pacific states be bullied into bad laws that create bad
"We're just lining up with the biggest group of doctors in the
world, the American Medical Association, in saying that health
concerns must take priority over commercial interests in
international trade agreements,1 but because of the secrecy, we
don't know what our government is considering doing."
The PHA supports today's march, which begins at midday in
Wellington's Civic Square, to protest the TPPA negotiations because
laws in New Zealand that would encourage good health are too
important for secrecy.