Yesterday NZNO president Grant Brookes, CTU economist Bill Rosenberg and others made submissions to the Greater Wellington Regional Council on a motion brought by Cr Paul Bruce.
Cr Bruce realised that, if ratified, the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) would constrain the Council from reaching its goals, in many ways. The Council has recorded its opposition to the TPPA.
Grant made the links between people and health, and the environments they live in. Achieving health requires wrap-around thinking and intersecting actions. We all need to be on the same page if we are to realise a healthy Aotearoa New Zealand.
Here’s Grant’s submission:
Kia ora koutou. Good morning. My name is Grant Brookes. I am a registered nurse, and the president of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation.
NZNO is the leading professional association and union for nurses in Aotearoa New Zealand, representing 46,000 nurses, midwives, students, kaimahi hauora and health workers – including four and a half thousand in the Greater Wellington Region.
NZNO embraces Te Tiriti o Waitangi and works to improve the health status of all peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand through participation in health and social policy development.
At present, a major policy focus for the sector is the update of the New Zealand Health Strategy, being led by the Ministry of Health. The relevance of this to Councillor Paul Bruce’s motion will soon become clear.
The previous New Zealand Health Strategy, introduced in 2000, has occasionally been referenced in this Council’s planning.
The updated Strategy, which proposes a clear view of the future for the health system over the next 10 years, is likely to have greater bearing on your decision-making.
This is because an eighth guiding principle for the health system has been added to the existing seven, in recognition of the way the wider environment contributes to people’s health. It is: Thinking beyond narrow definitions of health and collaborating with others to achieve wellbeing.
Particular examples of collaboration between health services and other agencies are mentioned in the Strategy. They include Healthy Auckland Together and Healthy Christchurch.
Healthy Auckland Together revolves around a Regional Action Plan, developed by 21 organisations, including District Health Boards, Primary Health Organisations and the Auckland Council. It views local government domains like transport and regional parks (and indeed local government employment conditions) as part of the health infrastructure.
Healthy Christchurch is a similar, DHB-led collaboration involving local government, based on the World Health Organisation’s Healthy Cities model.
Meanwhile, World Health Organisation Director-General Dr Margaret Chan has spoken of the TPPA as part of a “particularly disturbing trend [involving]… the use of foreign investment agreements to handcuff governments and restrict their policy space.”
And as we’ve just heard from New Zealand Council of Trade Unions economist Bill Rosenberg, the TPPA’s restrictions apply to local government as well – even as your role in creating healthy environments is receiving greater recognition.
As a nurse, I am very concerned that the TPPA will restrict your ability to fully contribute under the updated New Zealand Health Strategy.
So I applaud you for being one of the councils, covering 60 percent of New Zealanders, who have previously voted to express opposition to the TPPA, as it stood.
I now ask you to support the recommendations in Cr Paul Bruce’s notice of motion, especially these parts:
“That the Chief Executive… deliver a report… on the impact that the TPP will have on Greater Wellington Regional Council’s ability to make decisions in the interests of our region, the people and their environment”, and
“That the Council asks that central government carry out… health impact assessments of the potential effects of the TPP.”
Thank you for the opportunity to address you today.
November 5, 2015 at 11:22 pm
After the public submissions and Council debate, the unconfirmed minutes record that a vote was held on the following motion:
“That the Council:
1. Notes the content of the report.
2. Reviews the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) text against the TPP Policy Solution adopted by councils representing a majority (60%) of the NZ population.
3. Requests the Chief Executive to conduct a preliminary analysis of the TPP text and deliver a report to Council assessing the TPP implications, the object being to determine the impact that the TPP will have on Greater Wellington Regional Council’s ability to make decisions in the interests of our region, the people and their environment.
4. Asks that central government initiates a full public and parliamentary debate before proceeding with formal consideration of the TPP, including formal signing.
5. Asks that central government carry out independent human rights, health and environmental impact assessments of the potential effects of the TPP on the people and the land of New Zealand, as urged by the United Nations independent expert Alfred de Zayas, and make this information publicly available.
6. Asks that central government consults with local government prior to any further action taken that might compromise the ability of local government to make decisions in the interests of our region, the people and their environment.
7. Instructs the Council Chair to write to the President of LGNZ, requesting that a local government evaluation, based on an independent analysis of the implications of the TPP for local government, and for the social, cultural, economic, environmental and health wellbeing of communities, be undertaken as a basis of LGNZ input into parliamentary consideration, and that the evaluation report should be made publicly available and widely publicised.
The substantive motion was put to the vote in parts. Parts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 were CARRIED. Part 3 was LOST.”