Trading away Pharmac and GE free to the USA

Following on from No Right Turn’s analysis of what we stand to lose from a trade deal with the USA, Russel asked a couple of questions of the Acting Minister of Trade in Parliament today:

Dr Russel Norman: Will the Minister publicly guarantee that he will not sign any trade deal with the United States that undermines Pharmac’s role as a monopoly purchaser of pharmaceuticals on behalf of all New Zealanders—yes or no?

Hon ANNETTE KING: As with all our free-trade agreements, in order for New Zealand to be able to agree to any outcome the agreement overall must be able to pass the test of being in our national interest. Those issues will be discussed and we will look at our national interest.

There’s not much ‘yes’ or ‘no’ happening in that answer. So he tries again:

Dr Russel Norman: Given the Minister’s previous answer, where she refused to publicly guarantee to protect Pharmac, will the Minister publicly guarantee not to loosen the current rules around genetic engineering as part of a trade deal with the United States—yes or no?

Hon ANNETTE KING: I repeat: as with all our free-trade agreements, in order for New Zealand to be able to agree to any outcome, the agreement overall must be able to pass the test of being in our national interest. Those are issues that we will look at.

 I worry that Labour thinks that concern about genetic engineering will eventually just fade away then it can change the rules without much of a public process.  That’s unlikely to happen through a public policy process. But doing it through a trade negotiation would be highly undemocratic so I hope MFAT does not go down that road.

 

4 Comments Posted

  1. If this is a choice of the ‘lesser of two evils’, in terms of major political parties in power, Labour have thus far proven resilient to calls to revisit the anti-nuclear stance particulary in relation to seeking a free-trade agreement with the US, whilst National have demonstrated significant ambiguity over the last few years about whether they would continue the anti-nuclear policy.

    My point is that if National could not be relied on to maintain this now fundamentally-Kiwi nuclear-free-identity, why would we hold out hope that they would continue to support Pharmac- of which both Jackie Blue and Tony Ryall, in particular, are repeatedly criticial of. Nor could National be relied on to maintain a similar level of ‘GE rules’, given that financial growth and industry development seem to be their bottom-line.

Comments are closed.