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Polity: Fizzy drinks: Tax or no tax?

Written By: - Date published: 2:48 pm, February 18th, 2014 - 80 comments
Categories: food, health, tax - Tags:

The original of this post is here at Polity.

There has been some discussion recently about whether we should tax fizzy drinks as a threat to public health. Otago University public health people say yes. Various anti-tax groups say no. Here’s my 2c:

1. The principle is sound

If people are going to make choices that end up costing the public money – in this case healthcare money as a result of severe disease or earlier onset chronic disease – then the community can and should take steps to discourage those choices. That is what we already do with tobacco and alcohol, and for the same reason.

Study after study has shown that price signals (e.g. taxing a product) are more effective than public education campaigns at discouraging consumption.

The reason to restrict this particular choice is to save the government money, thereby keeping other taxes lower than they otherwise would be. That allows people keep more of their money, which they can then use to make more choices.

2. The devil is in the detail

As with all behaviour-based taxes, the difference between success and failure lies in how you design and implement the program. Without seeing a particular proposal, it is hard to come down firmly in support or against just yet.

So I am interested-but-undecided at this stage.

3. The Danish example is a red herring (Ha – herring!)

Denmark was the first country ever to try a tax targeted at unhealthy food. It had real problems, didn’t last long, and they withdrew it in 2012. Many opponents of a fizzy drink tax say Denmark’s failure shows these things simply can’t work. It shows no such thing:

  • The biggest problem with Denmark’s regime was that people would just drive over the border to Germany and buy their fatty foods there. For obvious reasons, that is not a big problem in New Zealand.
  • The Danish tax was very broadly targeted (anything with high saturated fat), so it caught la-de-da Danish bleu cheese as well as kegs of Coke. New Zealand’s proposal, however, could more narrowly target some of the foods most commonly consumed by children (see below).

4. Answers to oft-asked-yet-silly questions

How dare you plot to remove a person’s right to make choices about their own bodies?
First, these choices have externalities that the whole community has to cover with tax dollars. They are not purely individual choices. Second, the program is aimed at products disproportionately consumed by children, who even libertarians agree are not capable of making fully rational choices.

Isn’t this just a halfway house towards your goal of banning booze, smokes, Coke, and anything fun?
Do you think a caucus containing Trevor Mallard, Shane Jones, and Grant Robertson will ever ban any part of a rum and Coke? No. Speaking of banning fun, though, I think we should hear more about National’s plan to liberalise weed. What, there isn’t one? Because the MPs are all conservative and judgy about that kind of fun? Huh.

Aren’t you just punishing the poor?
No. We would be encouraging heavy consumers of very high sugar drinks – whether rich or poor – to choose something else at least part of the time, in the interests of saving public health money. And we would be rewarding them with a lower relative price when they do. Unless you believe the poor are incapable of responding to price signals or of changing their beverage choices, there is no punishment involved.

80 comments on “Polity: Fizzy drinks: Tax or no tax?”

  1. just saying 1

    Actually, you are mainly punishing the poor. There is a reason the poor consume a lot of cheap crap – not having enough money doesn’t allow for much choice.
    Only one group suffers when cheap stuff is made expensive in the absence of healthier stuff becoming cheaper. The middle class isn’t going to care if their mixers cost a bit more. I doubt they will even notice.

    How about dealing with the real problem for a change? If poverty is eliminated I’ll support this new tax 100%. But I suspect there will be much less need for it.

    • Naki Man 1.1

      ” Punishing the poor” bullshit, the so called poor don’t have to give there kids this crap. Empty calories, there is no food value at all in this stuff. Water is better for you and its free. Anyone that compares this crap with milk is an idiot, of course a healthy food will be more expensive to produce than some concoction of sugar and water mixed together.

      • just saying 1.1.1

        Kids usually don’t like water.
        There is little food value in lots of stuff we eat and drink. It’s about pleasure. For the poor that has to be cheap pleasure.
        Juice is expensive. So is milk.

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          Juice is expensive. So is milk.

          Last time I looked, so was a bottle of water when compared to coke. And with the quality of tap water going down the tubes in so many places…..

          Seeing as how most ‘juice’ is just reconstituted shite (mostly apple base) it…anyway, true that juice is expensive, so is the faux shite that’s passed off as juice.

          Where is it in S.America that kids are brought up drinking coke because the tap supply is undrinkable and the bottled water too expensive?

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.2

          Kids usually don’t like water.

          BS. They like water just fine – unless the tap water has excess impurities in it making it taste foul.

          • MaxFletcher 1.1.1.2.1

            Besides which you can add things like a few drops of lemon juice or cucumber to make water tastier/more refreshing without resorting to fizzy drinks

  2. shorts 2

    I’m not opposed to a tax on fizzy drinks… and other “junk” foods if coupled with Labour’s now abandoned GST off fresh fruit and veges policy

    Punitive measures are not enough, positive solutions or options should I believe be part of the overall policy and desired behaviour changes

  3. SHG (not Colonial Viper) 3

    Fizzy drinks?

    Beer? Champagne? Moscato? RTD spirit/soda mixes? Wine cooler? Soda water? Carbonated mineral water?

    • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 3.1

      Very high sugar drinks?

      Flavoured milk? Ribena? Fresh-Up?

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        Yes, there is some discussion as to whether fruit juice would be included, as a lot of orange juice has as much or more sugar as coke does.

  4. Puckish Rogue 4

    Fizzy drinks: Tax or no tax?

    No

  5. Bill 5

    Just reinstate the ‘healthy food in schools’ programme that National scrapped and start allowing for the real world of food (the shoddy production – mechanically recovered sludge etc) to be shown. Actually, why not legislate so that every minute of a fantasy advert has to be balanced by the same advertiser making a real world ad that must create an overall balance in the mind of a reasonable viewer? That could be fun. Meanwhile, fuck this endless taxing of the poor bullshit! Besides, you think coke and others would just stand back – or you think there would be a WTO case in the wings? Plus they can afford to drop prices to counter any tax and keep sales up and even steal market share from those companies less able to cut prices.

    edit – not made by the same advertiser…funded by them but made by a group opposed to their product and bound by the same ‘fairness in advertising’ rules.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      I think just banning advertising would make much more sense. That way the artificial desire created by advertising would be removed.

  6. It’s useful that Rob Salmond mentions tobacco and alcohol. In those instances, we know that the substances are harmful, we know what level of consumption results in harm, we know exactly what ‘negative externalities’ result from that consumption, and we have clear evidence of causality.

    In the case of the fizzy drinks propaganda from publicly-funded professional lobbyists working for the University of Otago, none of those apply. Anyone pushing to tax these drinks is indulging themselves in a moral panic, not offering practical, evidence-based policy advice.

    • bad12 6.1

      Please!!! mentioning rack raising of tobacco tax raises my blood pressure above a level that is good for my health,

      The politicians weak at the knees excuse to gather a billion dollars a year in taxation over and above the cost to the health system to treat those who’s diseases are ‘Supposedly’ the direct result of using tobacco products,

      Ooooh lets have plain packaging that will deter the kids from gaining an addiction, shit legislation from a bunch of weaklings to scared to offend the Massah Bosses of the tobacco industry, when all that was needed was to register all those addicted with their doctors, make tobacco products a registered poison only able to be obtained by doctors prescription and the industry would have been made a ‘sunset’ one…

  7. Tracey 7

    Children do not read labels telling them that a bottle of coke has 50 teaspoons of sugar. They dont care if they might get diabetes. That’s why we do crazy things like remove products from their range of choices.

    I understand there is evidence that if the price is moved the consume4rs will shift products.

    kids can have sugar if they are REALLY active.

    have you looked at PE in primary schools recently? If your teacher doesnt know much about it, you get bugger all.

    physical activity is crucial…

    “Alot of children dont like water” … gee could it be cos it’s not sweet enough.

    There’s something to be said for keeping fizzy drinks as a reserved treat for birthday parties.

  8. Pete 8

    I’ve lost 60 kg since January last year through diet and exercise. Mainly diet(pic for the curious – I still have a wee way to go) And one of the first things I did was eliminate my consumption of soft drinks – I substituted sparkling water instead. I am convinced that soft drinks do contribute to this country’s obesity problem.

    I think one thing that can be done is change the serving size. Why have 600 ml servings of Coca Cola in a sitting? Why not 350 mls? People might say that no one is forcing consumers to finish their bottle, but the fact is people suck at portion control.

  9. Colonial Viper 9

    Geezus. Let’s make fizzy drink tax a big election topic this year. Because it’s the kind of brave leadership that traditional left voters are looking for in this time of real economic distress and mega trends going the wrong way.

    Especially when the real problems in ill-health and poor health behaviours come primarily from (as has already been pointed out above) poverty, whether poverty of beneficiaries or the working poor.

    • Tracey 9.1

      with a median hourly wage of just over 21 bucks and a median paid week of just under 36 hours…. there’s certainly more to discuss. 50% of our fellow working kiwis are in this block…

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        What I really want to see now is the Left leading a fierce debate on whether or not there should be maximum sugar levels set in these soft drinks, with a higher tax rate applying to the ones which don’t comply. Maybe 12g per 100mL might be a good level to go with.

        The left leaning audacity of this alone should win over hoardes of non-voters and convince them to turn out in November.

      • lurgee 9.1.2

        I think some on the left would prefer NOT to discuss it, because they know the correct answer is not the easy one. So people try to duck it. But there is plenty of time to talk about this and poverty as well.

        Of course, if we do, it might lead to awkward questions about why the fruit and veg policy was ditched in favour of a baby bonus to be spent on soft drinks.

    • Let’s make fizzy drink tax a big election topic this year. Because it’s the kind of brave leadership that traditional left voters are looking for in this time of real economic distress and mega trends going the wrong way.

      You bet. Wouldn’t it be a real public-relations windfall to declare a policy of taxing very popular products on the basis that some policy academics hold strong opinions against them? Why, the right would find that tactic absolutely unassailable…

      • lurgee 9.2.1

        It isn’t like Labour could get much LESS popular, is it? Still, fear of de-railing the gravy train is probably why the Fearless Champions of the Proles here are pooh-poohing the idea and have suddenly turned into staunch little libertarians. They think it would be a vote loser. They have the backbone and principles of a … a … National Party MP. They’ll do anything to scrabble their way into power (on a third of the vote).

    • lurgee 9.3

      Health spending and health issues are worth talking about, and linked to this topic. And there is strong class correlation. So it is worth talking about.

      I know children who were having their teeth pulled by their fifth birthday because their parents were feeding them soft drinks. Caffeinated soft drinks from the get go. I watch students – 13-14 years old – having cans of Mother for breakfast when their fingers can’t even fit around the can. Schools can’t effectively ban it because they pick it up from the dairy on the way. Nice to see people coming down on the side of the capitalists at the expense of the future health and teeth of proletarian children.

      Fruit juice is not really that expensive if you buy it in 3 litre bottles, and you can water it down to reduce the sugar content. Ditto any soft drinks you do give kids. That’s what living in poverty entails – and being responsible for your children’s health. If people are being irresponsible, we should not be justifying it by facile blather about poverty – which smacks of effete over educated middle class valorisation of the Noble Proles – but criticising it.

      • Psycho Milt 9.3.1

        When my kids were small one of our neighbours had a three-year-old with completely wrecked teeth. She wouldn’t have dreamed of giving him fizzy drinks, but had been giving him fruit juice since he was a baby – because fruit is ‘healthy’, right? Everyone says so. So the kid’s teeth have spent half the day swimming in fruit juice since he grew them and are rotted away to stumps. I have to say that my first thought wasn’t “You know, we could do with a tax on fruit juice.”

        If the idiots proposing this were the policy experts their qualifications declare them to be, they’d have thought about this a bit more. Instead they’ve come up with the kind of knee-jerk response you’d expect from someone you pulled in off the street. Imposing excise duty is a serious business and will be opposed, not only by the ‘capitalists’ selling the product in question, but also by the product’s customers. So you need very clear, strong arguments why excise duty is required, and why on this particular product.

        So, what’s the argument for excise duty on sugary fizzy drinks? Well, lots of people are getting Type 2 Diabetes and these drinks have lots of sugar in them. Excise duty will both reduce sugar consumption and help fund treatment of the resulting diabetes. OK, that’s an argument.

        So, what counter-argument can the people who don’t want an excise duty bring to bear? Well, first up, what’s the causal link between sugar consumption and diabetes? It’s that sugar causes your blood glucose level to rise quickly, which causes a lot of insulin to be released. There are two effects of interest:
        1. When insulin finds there’s way more blood glucose around than you need for what you’re doing right now, it stores it as fat.
        2. Over the long term, continually making your pancreas work flat out releasing insulin makes your system resistant to the insulin, and your pancreas less able to keep up, which manifests itself as Type 2 Diabetes.

        So, yes, there’s a causal link between sugar consumption and diabetes. Thing is, all carbohydrates cause a rapid increase in blood glucose levels – there’s this thing called the Glycaemic Index that rates carbs according to how fast they act, and sucrose (table sugar) isn’t anywhere near the top.

        Which makes the drinks’ manufacturers’ first question “Why us? Why not these ‘capitalists’ selling rice cakes, crackers, white bread, fruit juice, breakfast cereals, anything with flour, rice or potatoes in it?” To which the University of Otago’s health policy experts would have no useful answer. That’s before we even get to any ‘libertarian’ issues.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.3.1.1

          She wouldn’t have dreamed of giving him fizzy drinks, but had been giving him fruit juice since he was a baby – because fruit is ‘healthy’, right?

          I suspect that the problem wasn’t so much the fruit juice but that she was giving the child the drinks all the time which points to a need for better education of mothers.

          If the idiots proposing this were the policy experts their qualifications declare them to be, they’d have thought about this a bit more. Instead they’ve come up with the kind of knee-jerk response you’d expect from someone you pulled in off the street.

          Actually, they’ve come up with a response you’d expect of a culture of freedom of choice and deregulation and financial incentives as the way to get people to change their attitudes.

          To which the University of Otago’s health policy experts would have no useful answer.

          But they do have an answer as pointed out by you. It just needs to be articulated.

          • Psycho Milt 9.3.1.1.1

            They don’t have an answer, they have a policy they’d like to see implemented. It’s at the point where someone asks them to provide a compelling justification for their policy that they’re short of answers. The answer “Because fat people. And Diabetes.” doesn’t fall into the category of ‘compelling,’ if anything it falls into the category of ‘simple-minded.’

        • weka 9.3.1.2

          “So, yes, there’s a causal link between sugar consumption and diabetes. Thing is, all carbohydrates cause a rapid increase in blood glucose levels – there’s this thing called the Glycaemic Index that rates carbs according to how fast they act, and sucrose (table sugar) isn’t anywhere near the top.”

          Meanwhile, back in the real world, the people managing insulin resistance with diet and exercise will tell you that there is no one size fits all (so the glycemic index is of broad but limited use. Lots of people ignore it, and just work out what works for themselves). People need to figure out what they need to eat on an individual basis, not some by some chart. Insulin resistance and why some people are more affected than others is complex.

          The reason for targeting fizzy drinks instead of all refined carbs (I’ll call bullshit that ALL carbs are a problem for all people), is that they’re over represented on children’s diets because of their accessability and cheapness and (this is important) they are empty calories. At least with fruit juice* you are getting some vitamins. With bread you get some marmite or jam or something. Coke, you get nothing but the high and the fast track to syndrome x.

          *I don’t think commercial fruit juice is healthy for kids, esp very young ones, and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for fizzy. I don’t know who your friend was listening to, but the idea that fruit juice rots teeth is not new. You have to ask why people want to give something very sweet to young children and that brings in issues beyond sugar. If someone is thirsty, drink water. If they are hungry give them food with a range of nutrients that aren’t going to spike blood sugar. If they are tired, that’s another whole set of problems that can be addressed without giving them a short term energy boost. If they are behaving in ways one can’t cope with, then that’s another set of problems.

  10. Debbie Brown 10

    What about diet soft drinks – most of which contain less sugar than milk? Will they be exempt?

    If so, I’d support. Otherwise not in a million years.

  11. bad12 11

    More consumer taxes,NO f**king way, all’s such taxes do is promote nazism in the form of demonizing one section of society against another,

    It’s pretty blindingly obvious, instead of penalizing financially, (usually), those with the least means to pay, it would seem a more direct route to getting the ‘huge sugar’ rush out of much of the foods being sold loaded with the f**king stuff to simply legislate away the right of those putting it in the food in the first place to do so,

    Aim Legislation at those who knowing the damage still load their products with sugar instead of taxing the poor schmucks sucked into buying it,

    Taxation is a slow means of trying to achieve this objective, direct legislation requiring fizzy drinks and other products to only contain X amount of sugar means the results of what is trying to be achieved are immediate and of a blanket nature…

  12. Descendant Of Sssmith 12

    The suggestion that alcohol has been restricted in some way through taxation to minimise harm is nonsense. The opening up of the sale of alcohol and the reduction in age has more than offset any price increase to the point it could be said that the taxation revenue is purely a reward from the liquor barons to the government as a thank-you.

    Sugar in the same way has been liberalised and had it’s access opened up.

    Until restrictions are made on sugar content in food you’ll never make a real difference.

    The sugar industry is a most effective lobby group across the world and opposes any restrictions on sugar / carbohydrate content.

    I recall a NZ scientist being involved in a World Health Organisation investigation that included the consideration of sugar / carbohydrate in food. The draft report recommended a maximum level which when the final report came out had that recommendation missing. It turned out that the sugar industry was involved in organising the research to be done and had it removed.

    The WHO report was intended to be used in part to assist governments with guidelines for setting food manufacturing standards.

    A quick google search gives an update as to where things are with this report:

    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2014/01/06/the-world-health-organisation-takes-a-tough-stand-on-sugar-it%E2%80%99s-about-time-we-listened/

    Governmental implementation of these guidelines, with the maximum recommendation in place, would be the best place to start.

    • @ descendant..

      ..+ 1..

      ..just looking/aiming at drinks..and not at food..

      ..is only doing half the job that needs doing..

      ,,phillip ure..

    • weka 12.2

      “The suggestion that alcohol has been restricted in some way through taxation to minimise harm is nonsense.”

      Pure alcohol (food grade) costs something like $10 or $15 per litre. You can only purchase it at that price with a tax exemption. Once you water that down to match spirits on the retail shelf, you are looking at more like $5 or $7 per litre. Compare that to high proof vodka or gin at $50+ per litre.

      While I agree that access also has a large impact on consumption, I can’t see how the tax doesn’t (price is part of easy access).

  13. RedLogix 13

    Frankly I’m a little leary of letting governments determine what are ‘healthy’ eating choices or not.

    I’ve been more or less doing the lowish carb paleo thing for about three years now. The basic idea falls into three parts – eating well, sleeping and managing stress well and exercising well.

    The good eating part basically says if you could dig it up, pick it or knock it on the head – then it’s probably ok to eat. If it comes in a can, box or bottle it’s probably not. Eliminate ALL the sugars and corn fructose, eliminate the industrial hydrogenated oils, eliminate the refined wheat products – and minimise the dairy. Fermenting and culturing is highly desirable.

    I’ve been pigging out on saturated fats for ages and my last blood and cardiac test two months ago were perfect.

    Today for instance I got up at 4am, worked for several hours, breakfast was a banana, yoghurt, apple, cinnamon, egg and kelp powder smoothie. Plus a handful of macadamia nuts.

    I’m now eating dinner 12 hrs later (a chicken salad) and I’ve only had two apples in between. No sugar crash or cravings all day.

    The amazing thing is that despite the more expensive ingredients our total grocery bill is about 2/3rds what it used to be. Why? Because we can get through whole days without the need for ‘top up’ snacks.

    All up this approach more or less inverts the conventional food pyramid. The Danish tax on saturated fats was misguided – and I’d be concerned to something similar happen in NZ.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 13.1

      “Frankly I’m a little leary of letting governments determine what are ‘healthy’ eating choices or not.”

      Huh when you said you were a bit leary I couldn’t but help think of this.

      “Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…” Timothy Leary

      If you think about it though – government interference in food content not the quote above – government’s interfere in food to ensure it’s healthy all the time. It stops us eating lots of things that are not good for us and cause us to be unwell. It’s just as well they do otherwise our food would be full of all sorts of crap.

      The debate is not therefore about government interference in food choices. That’s a disingenuous argument as interference is a necessity to protect the population.

      The question in this instance, knowing that sugar is an additive to food, is should there be restrictions on how much can be added?

      In my view the real question is whether any drinks at all should be sold with added sugar?

      There seems to be no reason at all from a nutritional perspective. We certainly don’t need the added sugar and will get a sufficient intake from the rest of our food.

      What therefore is the point of adding the sugar? Making money and selling sugar are the only two seemingly legitimate reasons.

    • Tracey 13.2

      I guess my issue is it’snot about adults making choices, it’s about children making choices or adults making bad choices for them.

    • weka 13.3

      “Frankly I’m a little leary of letting governments determine what are ‘healthy’ eating choices or not.”

      The problem here Red is that they actually are right about the sugar thing ;-)

      Completely agree with the potential for the govt to continue to do stupid things re fat. But I suspect we will see public opinion shift on this over the next decade.

  14. Tanz 14

    No tax. stop impinging on our freedomss . Smoking, etc. Let people make their own choices. Bossy boots govt.

  15. Tanz 15

    How is it your burden? If I drink fizzy drink how does that affect you?

    • RedLogix 15.1

      You will no doubt expect your diabetes to be treated at our expense.

      But look in your case I’m prepared to make an exception. OK?

      • bad12 15.1.1

        Is not the treatment of any medical condition ‘treated at our expense’, someone crashes their car into a power pole while speeding, we all chip in to pay for the carnage, should they be treated at our expense,

        i’m sorry i see this ‘at our expense’ as words likely to come from the mouth of a Farrar or Hooton, the we want to pay less and less tax brigade, another nasty side of the Neo-Liberal ism…

        • Psycho Milt 15.1.1.1

          Yes. User pays could be applied to a lot of things, from the health system down through education, ACC, you name it. Very bad path to start down.

          • Tracey 15.1.1.1.1

            I know what you are saying… but to run with it, what happens to the users who can’t afford to pay? The one’s on under $22 bucks an hour for 36 hour week? I am thinking particularly of health and education. It’s not inconsistent to want to rely on a cost to someone’s choices when your philosophy, for want of another word, that certain services, health and education being at least two, are precursors to a fair and just society.

        • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1.2

          someone crashes their car into a power pole while speeding, we all chip in to pay for the carnage, should they be treated at our expense,

          Of course they should as it’s part of the ‘insurance’ that should come with living in a society. Of course, they should also be fined for speeding.

          i’m sorry i see this ‘at our expense’ as words likely to come from the mouth of a Farrar or Hooton, the we want to pay less and less tax brigade, another nasty side of the Neo-Liberal ism…

          Everything is paid for from the community and thus everything done is done at a cost to us but it is also a benefit and usually, the benefits outweigh the costs. The fact is that Hooton and Farrar are extremists and that needs to be communicated as well.

          • weka 15.1.1.2.1

            Not to mention that we (collectively) do many and various things to reduce car accidents and resulting injuries, so why not do the same for excessive sugar consumption?

  16. Richard McGrath 16

    The sad thing is that those who eat and drink responsibly will be forced to pay this sin tax and thus subsidise the health care costs of those feeble-minded idiots who over-indulge.

    • McFlock 16.1

      The sad thing is to see what you do with the education other citizens paid for.

      • Richard McGrath 16.1.1

        Unrelated to the topic of this thread and doesn’t address my comment. Now THAT’S sad.

        [lprent: It did however relate directly to your comment. Did you pay directly for your education? How many other people paid taxes for it?

        McFlock just widened out your 'principle' to the "sin" of education paid indirectly to you by that other taxpayers who may not have received it. It was a pertinent analogy in the context of your comment, and your failure to recognize it does say that it was a wasted donation by other taxpayers.

        I suspect that what you are annoyed about is that he shifted the grounds of the debate beyond where you felt comfortable going. Specifically by answering a smartarse "do you beat your mother" question with an exact duplicate style of comment. Such mirroring is something you should get used to.

        Use your brain before wasting moderator time with arbitration requests. Eventually we get pissed off and eliminate the nuisance. ]

  17. Richard McGrath 17

    Point taken. However I’m not uncomfortable discussing my education, though perhaps comments should be directed to my parents regarding my schooling. As there were no private universities in NZ offering a medical degree in 1979, I chose to attend a state funded one. I would wager the tax I have paid since (around $75k annually these days) has more than paid for the cost of my entire education. My three kids have attended a mixture of state, integrated and private schools.

    So no, I’m not uncomfortable discussing my education, but it does stray somewhat from the original topic which was whether to place an arbitrary tax on sugary drinks. I essentially commented that under this blunt instrument a person eating and drinking responsibly will end up having to contribute to the health costs of someone who throws caution to the wind and shoulders no responsibility for their own health.

    Just out of interest, under such a system do readers know whether something like Coke Zero would be taxed at a different rate to standard Coke?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      So you’d rather everyone pay more tax to treat diabetes and other obesity-related disorders than target the taxation directly at the users?

      How very socialist of you.

      • Richard McGrath 17.1.1

        No – cut taxes, and put more money in people’s pockets so they can purchase their own health care directly, through co-operatives, or through insurance tailored to what the individual or family can afford. Raised insurance premiums for lard-arses will provide incentive to lose weight. Lower taxes and deregulation of the protected medical ‘club’ to allow competition by overseas trained doctors, nurse practitioners and medical assistants will allow medical treatment to be provided at lower cost.

        • McFlock 17.1.1.1

          The thing about user-pays healthcare is that only the payers live.

          • Richard McGrath 17.1.1.1.1

            Rubbish. We have lots of non payers at our medical centre and they’re still alive. In many cases we forgive their debt. But I guess private charity doesn’t figure in the socialist world.

            • McFlock 17.1.1.1.1.1

              It does ixist, but it is insufficient. Otherwise there would not have been a demand for public health systems in the first place.

              Or are you saying that there are no financial barriers to primary care? Because emergency departments would probably want to talk that one over with you.

              • Richard McGrath

                I’ve done six months as an emergency doctor in a public hospital and have seen who comes into those places. Most ED consumers could afford treatment elsewhere but choose not to. Some EDs now send people they’ve triaged as low priority non-urgent cases off to GPs for management.

                • McFlock

                  “Most”…

                  Oh well, there’s no problem then.
                  Oh wait, that would be if you said “all”. And I wasn’t aware an asset and income register was required at ED – wasn’t last time I was there…

        • Colonial Viper 17.1.1.2

          No – cut taxes, and put more money in people’s pockets so they can purchase their own health care directly, through co-operatives

          Yeah there’s already one big fuck off efficient co-operative – it’s called the NZ sovereign state.

          Why you’d advocate putting more money into private insurance providers and for-profits is beyond me.

          Oh actually it’s not beyond me, its standard operating procedure for the corporate compliant Right Wing.

    • McFlock 17.2

      Try reading the post and links.

      You know, try using that taxpayer-funded education (by the way, there was nothing stopping you going overseas for an ethically-obtained education, rather than using the proceeds of theft from your fellow citizens).

      • Richard McGrath 17.2.1

        So you admit it’s theft?

        • McFlock 17.2.1.1

          Nope, but by your logic it is.

          I’m only accusing you of blatant hypocrisy, not receiving stolen goods.

          I’m also suggesting that in your case, the education system has tragically failed us all by giving you the ability to articulate arguments about theft, yet failing to give you the ability to recognise that your failed religion can only exist if society provides the very fabric that you seek to destroy – social services and economies of scale provided by a central government.

          As soon as you destroy those, the demands on law enforcement become unattainable by government, while at the same time local informal power structures replace the government to provide law and social services. As the central government becomes less relevant and decays, the smaller power structures enter into conflict, until eventually one wins and replaces the old central power.

          And yes, it all starts with bitching that you don’t need incentives to change your behaviour, so therefore such a tax is you subsidising the “feeble-minded” (you sure that medical degree wasn’t 1879?).

          Asking whether such a tax is the best policy decision is fine, but slipping into that territory shows that you don’t give a shit about anyone other than yourself. In which case, you’re welcome to emigrate.

          • Richard McGrath 17.2.1.1.1

            Because the education system hasn’t turned me into a lockstep statist, you’re upset. Diddums.

            As for your comment about not giving a shit about anyone else – you don’t know me.

            • McFlock 17.2.1.1.1.1

              I’m not upset.
              I’m just pointing out that you’re a hypocrite who by his own measure is happy to flourish in a system that apparently consists of widespread theft.

              The facts that you claim to be a libertarian (albeit a hypocritical one) and refer to groups of people as “feeble-minded” are collectively a pretty good indication that you don’t really value the abstract concept of “person”, although I’m sure that you grow attached to people who directly prove to you their worth- a bit like pets, maybe.

        • Colonial Viper 17.2.1.2

          So you admit it’s theft?

          How can taxation by the government be theft when

          a) it’s issued by the government and therefore the government’s money anyway
          b) the system of taxation is what gives money its value.

          Are you an idiot?

          • Richard McGrath 17.2.1.2.1

            God, that’s priceless. You’re saying everyone’s money belongs to the government. So morally speaking they can just empty my bank account (and yours) any time and that’s kosher… yeah.

            “The system of taxation is what gives money its value.” Where do you start with that… as I say, priceless.

  18. felix 18

    Richard, I’m surprised no-one has addressed this directly:

    “those who eat and drink responsibly will be forced to pay this sin tax and thus subsidise the health care costs of those feeble-minded idiots who over-indulge”

    The more responsibly you eat and drink, the less you pay to subsidise anyone else. How could you take issue with that?

    • Richard McGrath 18.1

      But you can drink small amounts of soft drink without it necessarily being unhealthy, yet still end up being taxed. As you say, those who consume excessive amounts will pay more tax than those who consume small amounts of Unfavourable Substance X. But as ACT leader Jamie Whyte has asked, how do politicians know what is “good” or “bad” for anyone? Using markers such as heart disease is only a narrow part of the picture. How do you balance the enjoyment from drinking sweet drinks against the gradual development of weight gain and its consequences. Politicians also conveniently forget that lack of exercise also contributes to weight gain. Will the next tax be on those who can’t prove they’ve exercised for 20 minutes 3 times a week?

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    Dunedin will become a knowledge and innovation centre under a Labour Government that will back local businesses, support technology initiatives and fund dynamic regional projects, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Nowhere has the National Government’s short-sightedness been more apparently than...
    Labour | 21-08
  • Inquiry into SIS disclosures the right decision
    Labour MP Phil Goff says the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has done the right thing by launching an inquiry into the disclosure of SIS documents about a meeting between himself and the agency’s former director-general. “This inquiry is necessary...
    Labour | 20-08
  • Labour – supporting and valuing carers and the cared for
    Placing real value on our elderly and the people who care for them will be a priority for a Labour Government, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. Releasing Labour’s Senior Citizens policy today David Cunliffe promised that a Labour Government would...
    Labour | 20-08
  • By Hoki! It’s Labour’s fisheries policy
    A Labour Government will protect the iconic Kiwi tradition of fishing by improving access to the coast, protecting the rights of recreational fishers and reviewing snapper restrictions, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Catching a fish from the rocks, beach...
    Labour | 20-08
  • Mighty River – Mighty Profits – Mighty hard to swallow
    Mighty River Power’s profit increase of 84 per cent is simply outrageous, says Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer. “Demand for electricity is flat or declining yet the company has made enormous profits. It is the latest power company to celebrate...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Collins’ actions were wrong, not unwise
    John Key’s moral compass remains off-kilter as he cannot bring himself to declare Judith Collins’ actions outright wrong, not simply ‘unwise’, said Labour MP Grant Robertson. “Under pressure John Key is finally shifting his stance but his failure to condemn...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Public servants behaving with more integrity than their masters
    The State Services Commission's new report on the integrity of our state services reflects the yawning gap between the behaviour of public servants and that of their political masters, Labour's State Services spokesperson Maryan Street says. “This report, which surveyed...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Phil Twyford Speech to NZCID
    "Labour's plan to build more and build better: how new approaches to housing, transport and urban development will deliver cities that work" Phil Twyford, Labour Party spokesperson on housing, transport, Auckland issues, and cities.  ...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Labour commits to independent Foreign Affairs and Trade
    “Labour is committed to New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs and Trade policy being independent and proactive, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “We are a small but respected country. Our voice and actions count in international affairs. Labour will take a...
    Labour | 19-08
  • Key must sack Collins over abhorrent actions
    The latest revelations that Judith Collins sent the contact details of a public servant to WhaleOil in a desperate attempt to divert media attention from a bad story is abhorrent, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “John Key and Judith Collins...
    Labour | 19-08
  • It’s downhill from here under National
    The forecast drop in exports and predicted halving of growth shows that it’s downhill from here with National, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says. “Growth under this Government peaked in June and halves to two per cent in coming years....
    Labour | 19-08
  • John Key loses moral compass over Collins
    John Key has lost his moral compass over Judith Collins’ involvement with Cameron Slater and lost touch with New Zealanders’ sense of right and wrong, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “Whoever is Prime Minister there are expectations they will not...
    Labour | 18-08
  • Mana Movement General Election 2014 List confirmed
    The MANA List is now confirmed with all the candidates as below (the numbers are the respective Internet MANA rankings). Candidate, Electorate, Internet MANA List Position Hone Harawira, Te Tai Tokerau (1) Annette Sykes, Waiariki (3) John Minto, Mt Roskill (4) Te Hamua Nikora, Ikaroa-Rawhiti...
    Mana | 18-08
  • PREFU likely to confirm dropping exports
    National’s economic management will be put under the spotlight in tomorrow’s PREFU given clear signs the so-called rock star economy has fallen off the stage, with plummeting prices for raw commodity exports, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says. “Under National,...
    Labour | 18-08
  • Record profits while Kiwis face a cold winter
    The record profits by two of New Zealand’s largest electricity companies will be a bitter pill for New Zealand households who are paying record amounts for their power, says Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer. “No doubt the Key government will...
    Labour | 18-08
  • Why it is all over for John Key
    Image: Melanie D I’ve been confident that National will lose this election and that our focus should be on what a progressive Government needs to establish as its agenda in the first 100 days. Past that point, the establishment pushes back...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • A brief word to everyone who voted National in 2011
    I received this interesting email from a National Party supporter today… …let me say this to anyone who voted National last election – you should be ashamed by what has been revealed and what your vote ended up enabling but...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • EXCLUSIVE: Déjà Vu All Over Again: John Ansell confirms his participation...
      THE MAN BEHIND the Iwi-Kiwi billboards that very nearly won the 2005 election for Don Brash and the National Party has confirmed his involvement in businessman John Third’s and former Act MP Owen Jennings’ campaign to drive down the...
    The Daily Blog | 31-08
  • Public Broadcasting Auckland debate 6.30pm tonight now with Colin Craig &am...
    The Coalition for Better Broadcasting debate on public broadcasting happens tonight at 6.30pm in Auckland at the Pioneer Women’s Hall, High Street, Auckland City.  In the light of Dirty Politics and the manipulation of the media, public broadcasting is more important for...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • Winners & Losers in Collins sacking plus what’s the latest on Slater...
      Make no mistake, there was no way this was a resignation, it’s a face saving way out for Collins, she was sacked.  My understanding is that National internal polls are haemorrhaging and that the powers that be within National...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • Third party propaganda attacks incoming Labour-led government
    . . Further to a report by Daily Blogger, Chris Trotter, on receiving information regarding planned attack-billboards, the following billboard is highly visible to traffic on the southbound lane of the Wellington motorway, just prior to the Murphy St turn-off....
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • Labour wins the Internet
    I’m sure I’m not the only one who tried to vote online for the leaders debate and couldn’t because the website was down. The next option was the txt vote, 75c a pop of course. So I’m not surprised that...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – Rotherham and the need to challenge willful bl...
    I haven’t been following the events in Rotterham too closely.  I’ve read about the basic issues and the culture of silence that stopped action been taken even after complaints were made.  That culture of silence is incredibly familiar, and described...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • Review: Hairspray
      Oh Hairspray! What fun! Somehow I managed to miss the movie when it came out, I had no idea really what it was about though I felt it had a vague relation to High School Musical. In retrospect, that...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • Mounting global pressure against Timor-Leste’s ‘death sentence’ media...
    East Timor’s José Belo … courageous fight against ‘unconstitutional’ media law.Image: © Ted McDonnell 2014 CAFÉ PACIFIC and the Pacific Media Centre Online posted challenges to the controversial ‘press law’ nine months ago when it emerged how dangerous this draft...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Spies, Lies and When Campaigns Are Fried
    Like most of the rest of the nation’s political classes, I was eagerly affixed to TV One from 12:30 on Saturday afternoon to witness the downfall of Judith Collins.Whenever we witness the crumbling of a titan of the political landscape...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • BREAKING: Whaleoil crushes Crusher
    Judith ends up shooting herself A new email has been released suggesting that Collins was attempting to undermine the head of Serious Fraud Office with the help of far right hate speech merchant Cameron Slater. Unbelievable!   She has been forced...
    The Daily Blog | 30-08
  • BREAKING: Rumours Judith Collins gone at lunchtime
    Brook Sabin first of the mark with rumours Judith Collins is about to resign – PM announcing a statement at 12.30pm… …Paddy follows… …Vance confirms..   …if Collins is gone by lunchtime, it will be because the PM understands the...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • BREAKING: UPDATE on DIRT ALERT!
    Thanks to the information passed to Chris Trotter by “Idiot/Savant” from No Right Turn it is now possible to identify at least some of the persons involved in this latest example of attack politics. What follows is Chris’s response to Idiot/Savant’s timely assistance: Well done...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • Comparing burning puppets, hip hop lyrics and drunk student chants to black...
    Watching the mainstream media try and obscure Cunliffe’s surprise win in the leaders debate  is a reminder the Press Gallery is in depressed shock. The current spin line from the Wellington bubble media in the wake of Dirty Politics is that...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • Why has it all gone quiet on Charter Schools?
    They’re one of ACT’s flagship policies and the National Party have been gung ho in supporting them. So how come we’re not hearing Hekia Parata, Jamie Whyte, Catherine Isaac, et al singing from the rafters about what a resounding success charter...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • Moment of Truth – September 15th – Auckland Town Hall
    Moment of Truth – September 15th – Auckland Town Hall...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • EXCLUSIVE: Dirt Alert! Are the Greens and Labour about to become the target...
    WE’VE SEEN IT ALL BEFORE. In 2005 pamphlets began appearing all over New Zealand attacking Labour and the Greens. For a couple of days both the parties targeted and the news media were flummoxed. Who was behind such an obviously...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • The Donghua Liu Affair: the Press Council’s decision
    . . 1. Prologue . The Donghua Liu Affair hit  the headlines on 18 June, with allegations that David Cunliffe wrote a letter in 2003,  on  behalf of  business migrant, Donghua Liu. Four days later, on Sunday 22 June, the...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • The difference between Cunliffe & Key in the debate
    It was with much interest that I watched the leaders debate on Thursday night.  I watched with an open mind, always happy to have my opinion changed.  Maybe John Key is all the wonderful things that many say about him,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Denis Tegg – When Did We Agree To Our Data Being Shared with ...
    New shocking evidence has emerged from Edward Snowden’s trove of documents about a program called ICREACH under which data collected by the GCSB is shared with 23 US spy agencies. Under new sharing agreements which appear to have commenced immediately after...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Why Internet MANA are the best political friends the Greens could ever get
    Metiria at last nights #GreenRoomNZ: standing on the shoulders and camera cases of giants  NZers, regardless of political spectrum or apathy level, have a wonderful beach cricket egalitarianism about us. If we can objectively conclude a winner, then that person...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Sick of the Sleaze? Protest against National’s dirty politics THIS SATURD...
    Sick of the Sleaze? Protest now dammit! Three weeks before the election, action is being taken across the country voicing a rejection of the National Government’s track record and direction. Rallies are being held in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Sir Edmund Thomas – Address at Nicky Hager public meeting
    I regard it as privilege to chair this public meeting. I have long had the greatest admiration for Nicky Hager’s work, and nothing I have read or heard in the media over the past week or so has caused me...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Labour and New Zealand Superannuation
    The kerfuffle in the wake of Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics has had a detrimental impact on our discussion of economic policies. Signs are that the main beneficiaries of the dirty politics revelations will be Winston Peters and Colin Craig; certainly National suffered...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Coalition for Better Broadcasting – Mike Hosking and the Leader’s Debat...
    A few weeks ago I blogged that Mike Hosking was a terrible choice as moderator for the TV One Party Leader’s Debate, because he is so embarrassingly biased in favour of John Key. So I watched the show with curiosity,...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Democracy and Cancer: A critical analysis of Dirty Politics
    Twenty years ago, England’s renowned television playwright Denis Potter died of pancreatic cancer.  Readers may recall his two masterpieces ‘Pennies from Heaven’ and ‘The Singing Detective’.  During a final television interview with Melvyn Bragg, Potter declared that he had named...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Cunliffe beats Key in First Leaders debate
    I watched the First Leaders debate at the Green Party #GreenRoomNZ, they were very kind to include me and the atmosphere was great. The debate was a resounding victory to Cunliffe. He won Round 1, Round 2, Round 3 and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • LIVE STREAM: The Green Room Leader’s Debate from 6:30pm
    The Green Room will be hosted by media commentator Russel Brown, and will feature Green Co-leaders Metiria Turei and Russel Norman responding to the debate live, along with comment from thought leaders and commentators. ‘The Green Room’ 6pm – 8.30pm...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • How many taxpayer funded staff does John Key need to prepare for a Leaders ...
    John Key is currently at the Auckland Stamford Plaza with 40 staff, 4 undercover police cars and an entire floor booked out in preparation for tonights Leader’s debate. Isn’t 40 staff including coms, flown up to Auckland for a debate...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • A brief word on National Party Rodney MP, Mark Mitchell
    MP considers legal action against Nicky HagerThe National MP says he is considering taking a defamation case after the September 20 election.“Someone needs to be held accountable,” he said. Oh really champ? Brothers and sisters, there is a long way...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Greens advertise on Whaleoil – but not on The Daily Blog?
    PaknSave have shown ethical compass and blocked adverts on Whaleoil, yet the Greens are advertising on Whaleoil, and not The Daily Blog? I would imagine there are far more potential Green voters on The Daily Blog then ever are on...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • It’s about the stupid economy stupid
    In focus group meetings, the sleepy hobbits of NZ by a staggering amount all believe that National are better economic stewards of the country than Labour, that’s why, instead of answering questions about blackmailing MPs, trawling brothels for dirt on...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • Labour Policy vs National Policy
    John Key’s favourite defence spin at the moment is people want to talk about policy and not hear answers on the ethics of trawling brothels, why Slater was given SIS information, blackmailing MPs into standing down, rigging candidate elections and hacking...
    The Daily Blog | 28-08
  • The Green Room live streamed on TDB 6.30pm tonight for First Leaders debate
    The ‘Green Room’ will stream 6.pm tonight on The Daily Blog during the TV One leaders’ debate.Use #GreenRoomNZ to join in. The Green Room will be hosted by media commentator Russel Brown, and will feature Green Co-leaders Metiria Turei and Russel Norman responding...
    The Daily Blog | 27-08
  • Manukau East – the next Coalition in action
    A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of opening Voice Up – a youth forum run by young people in Otara. I had been asked as Chair of the Local Board to set the scene, encouraging young people...
    The Daily Blog | 27-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – The Big Bang Theory
    It’s a shame that it took a brain injury for me to start seeing things with such startling clarity. The realisation that lawyering, fishing, parenting, selling cars and racing yachts had common themes was stunning. Not perhaps as stunning as...
    The Daily Blog | 27-08
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, how much Key aro...
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking on Radio Hauraki...
    The Daily Blog | 27-08
  • 5AA Australia – New Zealand’s Dirty Politics Aftermath and Polls
    MIL OSI – Source: Selwyn Manning – Analysis Headline: 5AA Australia – New Zealand’s Dirty Politics Aftermath and Polls 5AA Australia: On this week’s Across the Ditch bulletin on 5AA Australia, host Peter Godfery and Selwyn Manning discuss the aftermath...
    The Daily Blog | 27-08
  • La’o Hamutuk calls for inquiry into Timor GAP ‘mismanagement’ of oil ...
    The Suai project on the South Coast … “liberated” land but confused communities.Photo: La’o Hamutuk David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. AN INDEPENDENT Timor-Leste development and social justice agency has called for an inquiry into the Timor GAP corporation...
    The Daily Blog | 27-08
  • What Is Nicky Hager?
    WHAT WILL HISTORY MAKE of Nicky Hager? That slight, perpetually boyish, journalist who descends periodically, like the admonishing angel in a medieval mystery play, to trouble our consciences and wreak merry havoc with the orderly conduct of our political affairs....
    The Daily Blog | 27-08
  • Can anyone in msm explain how after Dirty Politics that they all got played...
    Would you not think, that after reading Dirty Politics, that our mainstream media wouldn’t allow themselves to get tricked and played again by the VERY SAME discredited pundits? The best new feature on Radio NZ is their ‘Blog Watch’ and their...
    The Daily Blog | 27-08
  • Crusher Collins caught out lying about Privacy Commissioner – is this her...
    Crusher angry. Crusher smash own career. Crusher more angry. You would think that after getting outed as such a nasty, vicious piece of work in Dirty Politics, that Crusher would be scrambling to dial back the lies and manipulations. Apparently...
    The Daily Blog | 27-08
  • Cunliffe vs Key – first leaders debate
    This is your election ‘moderator’ – just one more reason an incoming Government need to sack everyone at TVNZ and reform it into an actual public broadcaster. The first leaders debate happens this Thursday, 7pm on TV One. I have...
    The Daily Blog | 26-08
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – An Old and Honourable Profession
      When Dirty Politics started to reference an ex-prostitute I began to get antsy. My first response was “come on Nicky, we decriminalised in 2003. Its sex worker.” My second response was “Ah oh. Who was it and did they...
    The Daily Blog | 26-08
  • Bought and paid for: the dirty politics of climate denial
    Has climate denial in New Zealand been bought and paid for by corporate interests? We already know that the ACT Party’s routine denial is closely linked to the financial support the party receives from wealthy free market fundamentalist Alan Gibbs,...
    The Daily Blog | 26-08
  • If the msm read The Daily Blog, THIS wouldn’t be a surprise – explainin...
    Yawn. How embarrassing for Hamish Rutherford and Andrea Vance, their breathless article today suggests that the idea of Labour and NZ First cutting a  deal over the buy back of assets  is some how new news. Silly mainstream media  journalists. If...
    The Daily Blog | 26-08
  • How much tax does John Key pay compared to a minimum wage worker??
    Yesterday I did some calculations to find out what tax John Key pays compared to a worker on the minimum wage. And I put out this media release for the Mana Movement: MANA Movement Economic Justice spokesperson John Minto is...
    The Daily Blog | 26-08
  • Hip hop death threats – the selective outrage of our media
    PM death threat in hip hop songAn Auckland hip-hop crew slammed for releasing a song with lyrics that apparently include a threat to kill Prime Minister John Key are urging young people to enrol to vote. Kill The PM, by...
    The Daily Blog | 26-08
  • Watch Slater turn into Key right before your eyes
    Watch Slater turn into Key right before your eyes...
    The Daily Blog | 26-08
  • Bill English: allegations against Judith Collins are serious
    Deputy Prime Minister Bill English told TV1’s Q+A programme that the allegations against Judith Collins are serious and that’s why an inquiry is needed....
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • Culture Change Required
    "There are serious issues raised in an Employment Relations Authority judgement released this week. The culture within the Whangarei District Council (WDC) organisation must change. The culture of any organisation is defined by its leadership starting...
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • Reducing Reoffending Statistic Challenged
    In Rethinking’s latest blog, http://blog.rethinking.org.nz/2014/08/th-bps-reducing-crime-and-reoffending.html it closely examines the current claim that reoffending in New Zealand has reduced by 12.5% since June 2011, and reveals how that figure has been achieved. It argues...
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • University economics team studying workers’ comparing wages
    A University of Canterbury economics research team is looking at fairness of the job assignments and whether workers are sensitive to the wages of their co-workers....
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • Statement by State Services Commissioner
    30 August 2014 "The State Services Commission was contacted by the Prime Minister's Office over the last 24 hours on this issue." “Any activity that undermines, or has the potential to undermine, the trust and confidence in the public service...
    Scoop politics | 31-08
  • Christchurch Council Circus … Continued
    In 2010 the UK Daily Mail investigated the antics of a major bureaucratically bloated London Local Authority and reported with THE GREAT INERTIA SECTOR ....
    Scoop politics | 30-08
  • The Nation Housing Debate
    Patrick It's the great Kiwi dream, but is owning the roof over your head now just a pipe dream for many Kiwis? Homeownership is at the lowest level in half a century. National's answer is to double subsidies to first-home...
    Scoop politics | 30-08
  • Time to Shine Light on Shadowy Spies
    Internet MANA has promised to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into New Zealand’s intelligence agencies, with a view to transferring oversight of spying operations to a new, independent authority....
    Scoop politics | 30-08
  • New Zealand’s biggest problems are Economic Issues
    New Zealand’s biggest problems are Economic Issues (41%) while the World’s most important problems are War & Terrorism (35%) just three weeks before NZ Election...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • NZ 2014 Leaders Index – week ending 29 August
    Below is iSentia’s first weekly Leaders’ Index, showing the relative amount of coverage of nine Party Leaders in the lead up to the National Election across news media and social media. We will produce these reports for the next three...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Judgment in Paki v Attorney General
    Tamaiti Cairns said that today’s Supreme Court decision is complicated, but, in essence opens the door for Maori people to go forward with their essential claims to water. Further work is required and Pouakani Trust will continue to pursue its...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Supreme Court Decision on Maori Water Rights
    “ … the Supreme Court refused to give Pouakani people what they asked for, but may have given them something much, much better instead. The Appellants had argued that the Crown’s ownership of the River was as a fiduciary for...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Leaders Dinner with Campbell Live, Dessert with RadioLIVE
    John Campbell is hosting Colin Craig, Winston Peters, Laila Harre, Metiria Turei, Peter Dunne, Jamie Whyte and Te Ururoa Flavell LIVE from Auckland’s Grand Harbour Restaurant on Wednesday 3 September at 7pm....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Credit unions in the political spotlight
    Dirty politics was put aside last night as senior politicians outlined their universal support for growing the cooperatively owned credit union and mutual building society sector in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Maryan Street on issues of importance to older people
    Liam Butler interviews Hon Maryan Street MP on issues of importance to older New Zealanders...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • John Hanita Paki and others v The Attorney-General
    JOHN HANITA PAKI, TORIWAI ROTARANGI, TAUHOPA TE WANO HEPI, MATIU MAMAE PITIROI AND GEORGE MONGAMONGA RAWHITI v THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF NEW ZEALAND FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE CROWN (“THE CROWN”) (SC 7/2010)...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Last Nights Leaders Debate Drives The #nzpol Wordcloud
    Following last nights leaders debate on TV One between John Key and David Cunliffe, the data insight organisation Qrious collected all tweets that used the hashtag #nzpol from approximately the last 24 hours to produce this wordcloud....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Campaign suggests reason behind suicide gender statistics
    An online campaign about meaning and belonging has revealed an interesting connection with the difference in suicide rates between men and women....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Act Policy Vindicated by Sensible Sentencing Data
    ACT Leader Dr Jamie Whyte says the Sensible Sentencing Trust's just released analysis of 3 Strikes legislation "proves ACT was right to promote the policy and that it has made New Zealand a much safer country. The figures show beyond...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • “Robin Hood tax and other clever ways to help our kids”
    It’s time to talk about tax. Not just income tax but other kinds of tax too....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Cannabis Laws Breach Treaty – ALCP
    Cannabis prohibition is neo-colonial oppression resulting in the disproportionate imprisonment of Maori, the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party says....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • 2014 Variation Broadcasting Allocation Decision Released
    The Electoral Commission has released a variation decision on the amount of time and money allocated to political parties for the broadcasting of election programmes for the 2014 General Election....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • New Zealand Shoppers- Demand Blue Tick Accredited Products
    Following ongoing concerns surrounding the issue of animal welfare in farming, particularly in the layer and broiler chicken sectors, the RNZSPCA is now asking consumers to purchase only eggs, pork, turkey and chicken that have been Accredited by the Blue...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • EDS welcomes Labour’s Environment Policy
    The Environmental Defence Society has welcomed Labour’s Environment Policy which recognises that New Zealand cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy environment....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Candidate calls for an end to institutional racism
    29 AUGUST 2014 Tāmaki Makaurau candidate, Rangi McLean has spoken up in support of Irie Te Wehi-Takerei who was wrongfully accused of shoplifting at a Warehouse store in Manukau. "Over the last month, two different supermarkets have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Making tertiary education more accessible to Māori
    29 August 2014 The Māori Party launched its tertiary education policy today at Te Huinga Tauira o Te Mana Ākonga, the national hui for the Māori Teritary Students Association in Palmerston North. Te Tai Hauāuru candidate Chris McKenzie says the...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • NZ Sign Language programmes receives $11 million boost
    Deaf Aotearoa are thrilled with Education minister Hekia Parata’s announcement this week that $11 million in funding will go towards a range of New Zealand Sign Language initiatives, including First Signs – a programme that involves sign language...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Abortion violates the Human Rights of Fathers
    Fathers1Right to Life is concerned at the glaring imbalance that exists in law, in regard to the rights of men to defend the lives of the children they have fathered. Fatherhood commences at conception. Children in the womb, just like...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Hundreds to join march against male violence in Auckland CBD
    Hundreds of supporters are expected to join the 'Take Back the Night' march through central Auckland streets tomorrow night in solidarity with making the streets safe for women and the rainbow community to walk without fear of male violence....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Classic example of need for Conservative policy
    The Conservative Party Justice Spokesman, Garth McVicar believes the sentencing of killer Aaron McDonald is a classic example of why an overhaul of the parole and sentencing system is required.”...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Greens & Labour Politicising Bullying in Schools
    Family First NZ says that both the Greens and Labour are wanting to politicise and sexualise school children under the guise of bullying programmes rather than deal with the school bullying issue as it should be dealt with....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • Wellington National Is Not Our Future Rally 30/8/14
    Thousands of people will march and rally at National is not our Future events on Saturday. Auckland is the main rally centre with supportive actions in Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch and Hamilton. In Wellington, marchers will assemble at Te Papa...
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • EPA grants marine consent for OMV exploration well
    The Environmental Protection Authority has granted a marine consent to OMV New Zealand Ltd for its Whio-1 exploration well in the Taranaki Basin....
    Scoop politics | 29-08
  • First anniversary of the horrific chemical attacks on Syria
    Members of the Syrian Community and friends are commemorating the first anniversary of the horrific chemical attacks on Syria, in Aotea Square on Saturday 30 August 2014, between 11-3 pm. The Assad regimes chemical attacks on al Ghouta were responsible...
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • Anniversary of the NZ Occupation of German Samoa
    Today, 29th August 2014, marks the 100 years centenary of the occupation of Samoa by New Zealand forces at the request of the British empire, ending the German rule of Samoa. It is also the starting point for the special...
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • Submissions sought on mosquito repellent
    The Environmental Protection Authority is calling for submissions on a portable mosquito repellent for use outdoors. The repellent consists of a strip impregnated with metofluthrin, a substance from the pyrethroid family....
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • Spot the difference – the leaders debate
    I watched the Leaders' debate last night and was struck by the fact that John Key accepted all of David Cunliffe's basic assumptions. For example, he did not say that the government should not tell farmers who they could sell...
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • Colin Craig’s tax figures do not add up and are dishonest
    “Colin Craig’s tax plan is to have two rates of income tax: 0% up to $20,000 and 25% above that. This will leave a $6.4 billion hole in the budget even before the new spending proposed by the Conservatives. The...
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • Dirty Politics Impacts National Party Support
    Media Release – For Immediate Release Dirty Politics Impacts National Party Support Support for National has dropped by 4.3% to 50.8%, the latest stuff.co.nz / Ipsos political poll shows....
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • Labour’s environment policy welcomed
    The independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird says that overall the Labour Party’s newly released environment policy would go a long way towards protecting New Zealand’s natural heritage....
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • National: Not our Future Marches across New Zealand
    Three weeks before the election, action is being taken across the country voicing a rejection of the National Government's track record and direction. Rallies are being held in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin to oppose National's...
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • Tune in to tonight’s debate from 7pm
    The countdown is on! You can watch the first leader’s debate for 2014 tonight, 7pm, on TV One ....
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • Gamblefree Day 1 September
    It's Gamblefree Day this Monday 1 September, the national awareness day for problem gambling in New Zealand. While traditionally celebrated on the first day of September, many events and activities are held both before and after this day to raise...
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • Success through captioning should be a given as a Right
    Success through captioning should be a given as a Right per the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities...
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • Alcohol Marketing Committee Questions Government’s Motives
    An Independent Expert Committee on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship (IECAAS) has been formed out of concern amongst alcohol and public health researchers about the government’s Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship (MFAAS)....
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • How Much Higher Can Auckland Prices Go?
    National's plan to liberalise the use of Kiwisaver funds and its proposal to raise ts cheap "Welcome Home" loan thresholds to help buyers purchase a new home has been welcomed by home building companies but attacked as a "welfare scheme...
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • OPC submission period extended
    We have extended the submission period for the modified reassessment of a bee control affecting five organophosphate and carbamate insecticides (APP202142)....
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • Vinay Deobhakta struck off roll of barristers and solicitors
    The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal has ordered former Tauranga lawyer Vinay Deobhakta to be struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors....
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • Major parties to front up for Climate Voter election debate
    New Zealand’s main political parties will take part in ‘The Great Climate Voter Debate’ on September 3....
    Scoop politics | 28-08
  • Family violence… too big to be ignored
    As Annah Stretton gears up for her New Zealand Fashion Week show on Thursday she is utilizing her spotlight to help change the face of family violence in this country saying “the problem is far too big to ignore”....
    Scoop politics | 28-08
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