Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How many kiwis is John Key willing to kill for the TPP?

There's an unpleasant implication no-one seems to be following up on from John Key's admission this morning that the TPP would mean higher pharmaceutical prices: people will die. How? Its pretty obvious: absent recreational misuse, people take pharmaceuticals for a reason: to stop them from dying. Any reduction in availability therefore means a statistical rise in deaths.

Increased pharmaceutical costs due to the imposition of US drug laws necessarily means a reduction in availability. For drugs outside the Pharmac system, its a direct consequence: higher costs means fewer people can afford treatment. For subsidised drugs, its because Pharmac's budget is effectively capped and has been for years, so if they're paying more, they have to provide less. But either way: lower availability, statistically higher deaths due to illness. And while National could increase Pharmac's budget to compensate, with them hellbent on austerity and teasing tax cuts for the 2017 election, that seems unlikely (and even if they do, it will just result in their ripping funding from somewhere else, like road safety or state housing. Meaning more deaths, but on a different budget).

These deaths are completely avoidable. They are purely a consequence of signing this "trade" deal, and the effective cut in core government services it requires. Which invites the question: how many will there be? Has the government even bothered to count? And most importantly, how many kiwis is John Key willing to kill to make this deal?

This sort of statistical murder is sadly not criminal - but it should be. When a government makes decisions which they know will result in people dying, the decision-makers should be held responsible in a court of law, and jailed if convicted. Because murder is murder, whether you do it with a gun, a knife, or a budget cut.