Doctors for Healthy Trade
“Former Minister of Health and Prime Minister Helen Clark’s statements today appear totally inconsistent with her responsibility as administrator of the UN Development Programme and her historic legacy of global leadership for health on tobacco control when she stated it would be ‘unthinkable’ that NZ not be part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” says spokesperson for Doctors for Healthy Trade, Dr Joshua Freeman.
“The 4th UN Sustainable Development Goal aims to ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all’. Almost top of the list for healthy lives is tobacco control. New Zealand’s world leading approach to smoke-free environments ushered in by Ms Clark would have been unaffordable if the TPPA provision had been in place at the time. Australia has already had to spend $50 million on just the first stage of defending their next step on tobacco control.
Healthy lives also need medicines to help cure diseases, and the World Health Organization today announced anti-retroviral medicines should be available to every person infected with HIV/AIDS’. Yet new intellectual property rights in the TPP would delay access to life saving medicines for millions of people.” Says Dr Freeman.
“The 11th UN Sustainable Development Goal calls for ‘urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts’, but the ‘investor state dispute mechanism’ contained in the TPP would empower fossil fuel companies to challenge new laws or regulations that interfere with future profits.”
“Surely Helen Clark has been quoted out of context” said Dr Freeman. Ms Clark is reported to have identified a “balancing act” in international trade. An essential part of that balance is responding to a coalition of UN Experts who have recommended that an assessment of human rights impacts be performed before the TPP is signed” Says Dr Freeman.
“To take the Sustainable Development Goals seriously means that global treaties such as the right to health, tobacco control and climate change must not be trumped by foreign investment treaties.”
“It is likely that as a result of her statements today, Helen Clark has lost a lot of credibility in the eyes of the global public and the health profession in NZ. She has some serious explaining to do”, says Dr Freeman.