Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pharmac Undermined

National is setting a dangerous precedent by forcing Pharmac to fund 12 months of Herceptin, rather than the three months that Pharmac currently funds. The reason Pharmac was set up as an independent body (by National itself!) was to ensure that funding for pharmaceuticals would be done in the fairest way possible. Pharmac is not made up of elective representatives and is therefore able to consider the science and the best way in which funding can be allocated to give the most benefit to New Zealand. Thus placing drug funding considerations in the hands of a body of experts rather than Joe politician with no medical training. Under this model every drug gets equal consideration but the precedent that National is setting shows that the person or people that shout the loudest get the drugs they want. 

Cartoon Comment from today's Press.


90 Days No Rights

It was with no surprise that National placed the 90 Day Bill on its agenda during the election. What has been surprising though is the speed at which they are planning to push this piece of legislation through parliament. John Key has announced that this Bill will be in place by Christmas, which is only three weeks away. This rush through parliament leaves no time for the bill to be debated properly or for the public to be given the opportunity to make submissions on the bill.

This bill has huge implications for people looking for employment as it strips workers in small businesses of their rights as an employee. For many students this is for their entire summer employment. It places students in a rather difficult position as it can be hard to find work for short periods of time. It is easy to see how many students may not feel comfortable speaking up about unsafe work practices, work place harassment or other incidents at work for fear of being fired.

It now seems that the National Government are making noises about extending this bill to not only those in small work places but to all workers. This was not part of their election campaign and it is worrying to see them introducing a highly controversial piece of legislation in a watered down form and then eventually extending it. Maybe they are hoping that if they only make small changes at a time we won't notice what they are doing.