Editorials 26 April 2010

April 26th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald looks at :

The drawing up of free-trade agreements is always an exercise in compromise. Sometimes, unpalatable concessions have to be made with an eye on the bigger picture. …

At the forefront of American concerns will be two issues – the strength of our dairying industry and the role played by Pharmac, the Government’s drug-buying agency.

The US farming lobby will want little conceded, while American pharmaceutical companies want Pharmac’s role drastically reduced.

The drug companies say an end to New Zealand’s anti-competitive drug-funding system would give its people quicker access to new and expensive medicines.

US drug companies can introduce these new and expensive medicines at any time. Whether or not they gain a subsidy from the state is another issue.

Trade Minister Tim Groser has described Pharmac as “an outstandingly successful public institution”, which has saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. The estimated savings in a five-year period are enough to have built the Starship hospital.

Mr Groser has also said that, as the principal economic adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, he had negotiated with the US on Pharmac 10 years ago and had seen no need to make concessions.

That is reassuring. But the issue will doubtless be raised again, as New Zealand covets a free-trade agreement with the US. Hard choices will have to be made.

The Government has already bowed to pressure and allowed some slippage in Pharmac’s integrity. With the taxpayer uppermost in its mind, it should hesitate before venturing further down that path.

I agree Pharmac is of great value to New Zealand. The gains from a free trade deal would have to be significant for us to agree to changes to Pharmac.

The Press remembers :

The history of Anzac Day remembrance has been shaped by memory and ideals – memories and ideals that have changed over the decades since the landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.

The commemoration therefore has reflected the great alterations that New Zealand has undergone in those 95 years.

Yesterday’s services saw the men and women of World War II and will continue to see many of them in future years. But their number is dwindling and thoughts thus turn to the Anzac Days of the future. …

Voices last week were raised, predicting a decline in turnout over the coming decades, but that is unlikely to eventuate. The respect for what our fighting men and women achieved and the honour they brought us is now deeply and uncontroversially embedded in the nation’s psyche.

pages on New Zealand’s military history, which we printed in the lead-up to Anzac Day, are but one example of this. They were prized by readers, and schools have taken them in large numbers. A hunger exists for hearing again the old tales of valour and service.

The men and women who performed those deeds will not be forgotten and Anzac Day will live on in their honour.

While on TV, once again I found Maori TV did best.

The looks at Fiji’s proposed media restrictions:

The primary function of ’s proposed new media regulator is “to encourage, promote and facilitate the development of media organisations and services”. It sounds reasonable.

There is just one problem. In order to perform its duties the Media Industry Development Authority is being given the power to fine and lock up journalists, editors and publishers, censor news reports, search premises, seize documents, and shut down news organisations.

Coating a dictator’s iron fist with a veneer of legality does not soften the blow.

The commodore is labouring under a misapprehension. The misapprehension is that he is the big man in the Pacific.

He is not. He is a tinpot dictator who has gained power at the point of a gun and is destroying his country’s economy and prospects and the institutions, already weakened by three previous coups, that underpin good government.

The news media is one of them. Journalists, editors and publishers will bear the immediate brunt of the latest restrictions, but the real losers are the Fijian people, who have already lost the right to learn what is happening because of “emergency” regulations put in place last year.

is a fundamental pillar of democracy. “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter,” said Thomas Jefferson, the author of the American Declaration of Independence.

Another great Jefferson quote.

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17 Responses to “Editorials 26 April 2010”

  1. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    ” In order to perform its duties the Media Industry Development Authority is being given the power to fine and lock up journalists, editors and publishers, censor news reports, search premises, seize documents, and shut down news organisations.”

    Wow, just like Hugo Chavez, the darling of the left.

    ” Free speech is a fundamental pillar of democracy. ”

    Man I hold these sanctimonious arseholes in such contempt. They say this when they deliberately and systematically shut out from their media organisations, any view that opposes the Progressive status quo.

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  2. backster (2,000 comments) says:

    ” Free speech is a fundamental pillar of democracy. “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter,” said Thomas Jefferson, the author of the American Declaration of Independence.

    Another great Jefferson quote.”

    Jefferson never got to read The Dominion or The Herald though.

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  3. ben (2,386 comments) says:

    In drugs, money saved is only half the story. Efficacy also matters and I strongly suspect that for Pharmac, money saved has also come at the cost of destroying access for most people to more modern and better drugs. I know for a fact that a widely used class of drugs in New Zealand that Pharmac chooses to subsidise are over 35 years old and no longer in use in the United States. Now, it is possible to pay full price for the better drugs, but that will set you back around $300/month, versus about $15/month for the subsidised version. The upshot: nobody, except the wealthy or the desperate, use the better drug.

    Pharmac is a monopsonist which, as with a monopoly, can be expected to undersupply on quality dimensions. I strongly suspect that is what has been going on with Pharmac. Findlayson is wrong – badly wrong – to limit his consideration to price.

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  4. Lipo (226 comments) says:

    DPF – you quote from Tim – “Trade Minister Tim Groser has described Pharmac as “an outstandingly successful public institution”, which has saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars”

    My question to counter this is – How many people have died through lack of access to medicines that would have prolonged / cured their condition. Drugs that Pharmac won’t subsidise
    It’s all very well focusing of costs saved in $, but at what cost to human life

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  5. Jim (385 comments) says:

    If you’re a drug company owning exclusive patents on a new drug and you want to exploit that position by charging as much as possible, then I guess you might want to label Pharmac as anti-competitive (because they won’t want to subsidise your monopoly position). Many people would have a different view.

    What are the lifesaving drugs that aren’t on Pharmac’s schedule?

    Herceptin? Ever wonder how you got to hear of it? Take a read of this Guardian article: “The selling of a wonder drug“.

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  6. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Jefferson never got to read The Dominion or The Herald though.”

    Damn right there. The forefathers never saw that this day would arise, when newspapers, once the true guardians of democracy, are now nothing more than spineless conduits for progressive or big government propaganda. Most journalists are (IMHO) gutless politically partisan traitors to their profession.

    Read any recent book by Ann Coulter, Bernard Goldberg or Jonah Goldberg (Liberal Fascism) to understand what poisonous and treacherous vipers the media have become.

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  7. Pete George (21,806 comments) says:

    when newspapers, once the true guardians of democracy, are now nothing more than spineless conduits for progressive or big government propaganda.

    You missed one important corruption – commercial captivity. The dollar dictates as much as anything else.

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  8. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    ” You missed one important corruption – commercial captivity. The dollar dictates as much as anything else. ”

    Even if that were so, commercial captivity is quite legitimate. Its being agents of government that stinks. Read about Mussolini and how he was the darling of the journalistic set. Newspapers and other media today are, just like back then, agents of Fascism.

    In fact it isn’t true. Newspaper radio and televison outlets are going broke by the dozens in the US because they let their political ideas interfere with their marketing. MSNBC and the NYT a couple of prime examples.

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  9. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    Read any recent book by Ann Coulter, Bernard Goldberg or Jonah Goldberg (Liberal Fascism) to understand what poisonous and treacherous vipers the media have become.

    So I have to read the media to find out how bad the media have become? And will be told this buy the enemies of the media whose works are published by the media?

    Coulter is an airhead, and no one with the name Goldberg should ever be taken seriously on anything.

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  10. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    LRO, anyone who dares to use the phrase “monkey people” in relation to Asians (as you did on GD today) should just fuck right off out of here. Your obvious anti-semitism in the above post adds to the case against you. You have marked yourself as a vile racist scumbag and therefore you have no legitimate opinion on this or any issue.

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  11. Pete George (21,806 comments) says:

    Media outlets are struggling with adapting to the new medium – the internet. Also with the proliferation of outlets, as well as on internet there are many more TV channels, radio stations, and a much wider more fragmented audience. Add to that an economic downturn that saw advertising budgets contract substantially.

    Interestingly there haven’t been a lot of media outlets going broke in NZ, but some struggle. Much of the content seems to be chasing target audiences for advertising, as well as a lot of self promotion and indirect advertising through promos dressed as “news”. Dumbarses are more likely to be sucked in by advertisements promoting things they don’t need, so TV in particular and also talkback radio targets a dumbarse demographic with dumbarse content.

    They are agents of commercialism as much as anything else.

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  12. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    “Newspaper radio and televison outlets are going broke by the dozens in the US because they let their political ideas interfere with their marketing.”

    And the same here in NZ… Herald… Sunday Star Times… The Nation… Q@A.. Maori anything.. National Radio.. Pasific.. etc.

    but political blogs with little marketing are booming.

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  13. peterwn (2,933 comments) says:

    So USA ‘big pharma’ wants Pharmac clobbered. They would have a similar problem on their home turf with HMO’s (Health Maintenance Organisations) who sell health insurance and provide the services under the policies including stringent executive control on its employee doctors with respect to prescribing, tests, referrals, etc. I wonder how much success they are havng with clobbering HMO’s back home.

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  14. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Media outlets are struggling with adapting to the new medium”

    Oh what superficial apologetic crap. Its not new. The internet has been around for ages. What these scum are struggling with is the fact that it ain’t so much fun when the rabbit has the gun.

    FOX News pisses over its rivals because it doesn’t contaminate its reporting with left wing shit, and any medium that did the same here in NZ would be equally succesful. Example- Leighton Smith on NewstalkZB. He doesn’t consistently lead the morning radio ratings because he’s a commie.

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  15. LeftRightOut (622 comments) says:

    redbirther, why do you think monkey people = asians?

    Further, how can you accuse me of anti semitism by my reference to not taking a Goldberg seriously? Are all Goldbergs semitic? FYI, I wrote no one with the name Goldberg should be taken seriosly as a reference to Whoopi Goldberg; do you take her seriously? And is she semitic?

    I think you need to fuck off and examine your own morals and ethics. How odd you can see anti semetism and racism where I just see words. Projecting much?

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  16. Muzza M (286 comments) says:

    I know Pharmac have a job to do, and as a taxpayer I congratulate them. But as a pharmacist I hate them. 24 years ago when I started this job I enjoyed it, for the last 17 odd years i have hated it, due to the birth of Pharmac, and all praise be to God, this is the year i quit. Try explaining day in and day out to the ignorant public, the old and infirmed, and the downright utter fuckwits why their pill is a different colour, a different shape, but still the same medicine. Try explaining day in and day out why the pill is no longer fully or partially subsidised. Try getting the fuckwit GP’s to keep up with the changes like pharmacists have to. If it impacted on thier remuneration you can bet they bloody well would, but it doesn’t. Fuck it. Ive had a gutsful and i have seen the light. 1 July 2010, one way ticket out of NZ. 17 years of misery, time to start enjoying life.

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  17. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    LRO: redbirther, why do you think monkey people = asians?

    You are the one who originally made the statement about not understanding men who marry monkey people, yet have not explained what you meant by your statement. I do hope that DPF reviews your comment, as many have found it to be completely vile.

    Are all Goldbergs semitic?

    Are you not aware of the links between the Goldberg family name and the Jewish religion? You seem to be extremely ignorant.

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