So now you're interested in the Trans Pacific Partnership. After years of warnings about the free trade agreement's potentially disastrous effects on lapdog countries such as ours, which have been straining at the leash in our enthusiasm to see the deal signed off, the public has been given a hip-pocket reason to give a toss.
Hitherto, objections have centred on far-fetched scenarios involving large corporations gaining control of nations' intellectual property, suing foreign Governments for not doing their bidding and other nightmares.
Then John Key, in an uncharacteristically gauche move, admitted the cost of some medicines would go up under the TPP. This is hardly surprising. When the aim of a deal is to end protection, things tend to be left unprotected.
The PM has been such an enthusiastic supporter of the TPP that when he has no choice but to admit it has a tiny downside, you know it's serious and almost certainly not the worst of it. He might have thought no one would notice - after all, health is almost proverbially something we take for granted.
But meddling doctors' groups, not yet discredited in the way teachers, beneficiaries and unionists have been after decades of neoliberal governments, led the charge in deploring this possibility.
Our tough love Government must find this galling. Medicine, in its mind, is probably an extravagance indulged in by people who don't have the mental fortitude to deal with illness and chronic conditions with positive thinking and a can-do attitude. Can't afford medicine? Don't get sick, losers.
However, so many people have got so used to having access to medicine for so long that the notion has become embedded in the culture.
So the Government has said that when - not if - costs go up, it will find the money to cover the difference. Governments, you'll remember, usually get their money in one of two ways - from fabulously wealthy benefactors who dip into their own pockets to keep the country running; or from taxpayers. My hunch is that in this case, it's probably the taxpayer who will be ponying up.
And as we have long known the tax burden falls disproportionately on those of limited means, who are also likelier to be poor, as the gap between richest and poorest widens, partly due to measures such as the TPP.
The final TPP talks are taking place at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka'anapali in Hawaii, where every guest room has a Heavenly Bed, equipped with "a custom-designed Simmons Beautyrest pillow-top mattress set, cozy down blanket, three crisp sheets, a comforter, duvet and five fluffy pillows". Heavenly Dog Beds are available on request.
It's a good choice of location when it comes to selling the TPP. It shows us the standard of living we can all expect when the agreement goes through. And for those of us worried about paying for medicine, just imagining what it's like to sleep on a Heavenly Bed, or in some cases, just under a roof, will take our minds off our woes and stop us feeling sorry for ourselves.
Some readers may have been lured into viewing a Seven Sharp item, widely re-posted online, in which Professor Jane Kelsey demolished some of the propaganda being used to sell the TPP and explained what it will really do. Unfortunately, she did not do it in terms simple enough to be understood by Mike Hosking, who continued to frame his encounter with Kelsey in terms of winning, losing and point-scoring.
Please do not adjust your set - I am reliably informed this was an aberration and not an indication that Seven Sharp has taken to giving air space to intelligent commentary.
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