Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker
In this blog we briefly summarise our assessment of the highly uncertain new coronavirus threat. Given its potential to become a severe and prolonged global pandemic, a precautionary response now means activating all components of our pandemic plan, with a particular focus on ‘keep it out’. NZ has many natural and institutional advantages in managing this major health and economic threat. Now is the time for maximum proactivity.
Professor Michael Baker
This blog post reproduces a Sunday Star Times opinion piece (26/1/2020) by this author on the current coronavirus situation. It also explores what New Zealand might do in response to protect both its own citizens and people living in those Pacific Island nations where the major transport links are through New Zealand airports.
Prof Nick Wilson, A/Prof George Thomson, A/Prof Simon Hales, Prof Michael Baker
The NZ Ministry for the Environment has produced a valuable discussion document with many good ideas for improving the health of waterways in New Zealand. But there are important gaps. In this blog we consider three big ticket items to include in an integrated strategy to improve our waterways: a fertiliser tax, taxing ruminant animal products, and promoting the right sort of reforestation with a high carbon price.
Ms Frederieke Sanne van der Deen, Professor Nick Wilson, Professor Tony Blakely
On Thursday the NZ Government announced it would continue it’s programme of yearly 10% tobacco tax increases for the years 2017 to 2020 inclusive. Using our peer-reviewed BODE3 forecasting model, we project that with these additional four years of tax increases smoking prevalence in 2020 will be 21.4% for Māori and to 8.9% for non-Māori – compared to a projected 22.7% and 9.3% if this taxation programme had not continued beyond January 2016. Prevalence reductions may be greater if we hit a ‘tipping point’ – our modelling necessarily uses responsiveness to tax seen in the past. Thus the further tax increases will help us get to a tobacco-free NZ by 2025, but more ‘endgame’ strategies are almost certainly also needed.
Louise Delany, Senior Lecturer, Assoc Prof George Thomson*
In this blog we ask what the tobacco ‘carve out’ from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Treaty means for public health. Despite the partial exemption of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), the TPP agreement as a whole applies to tobacco, and breaches of the TPP might, in principle, be alleged in relation to tobacco. The TPP provides mechanisms to pursue complaints for breaches of its obligations in addition to ISDS. These other mechanisms remain unaffected by the partial, and optional, exclusion of ISDS. While the partial investor-state dispute settlement exclusion is a small step in the right direction, the fundamental inconsistencies between agreements such as the TPP and public health in general are left untouched.