Leaked Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) documents show that the Government is allowing overseas companies to sue our country for policies that may cause them to lose money. Australia has refused to agree to a similar clause and it exposes New Zealand to potential litigation from the likes of pharmaceutical companies who have long criticized Pharmac's control of drug imports.
This is just another sign of dodgy governance where New Zealanders are not being served well because National is more concerned about the flow of money than the potential environmental or social damage that may ensue. Examples abound:
- Petrobras was able to do drill exploratory wells without providing an emergency response plan, the responsibility for mitigating any leak fell on Maritime New Zealand (and therefore the taxpayer).
- A deal with Warner Bros involved putting aside New Zealand's immigration law and reducing the employment conditions of our actors.
- A back room deal is done with Sky City in exchange for a loosening of gambling laws that will essentially cause an increase in problem gambling.
- Fracking is able to continue even though the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has been asked to write a report on the environmental impacts of the industry.
- An increase in classes sizes was planned to save millions from the education budget, the claim that this would increase teaching quality was not able to be supported by any explanation on how this would be achieved.
- The ACC debacle would not have occurred if National's key focus was providing a good and sustainable service. The fact that ACC has made a huge $2 billion profit while poor customer service and shocking privacy breaches have become commonplace is telling. John Judge's employment brief was never about improving service but running ACC like a private insurer.
The TPP agreement has the potential to inflict the most damage on ordinary New Zealanders. Not only could we see huge increases in prescription charges, because of the costs of litigation and the necessary weakening of Pharmac, but I can imagine if we decided to stop off shore oil exploration and fracking because of environmental concerns, compensation will be sought.
My biggest concern of all is that we have two more years of this Government and with asset sales being progressed under urgency we will only see more of the same until 2014.