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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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  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • The Deep State Surfaces
    IT IS EIGHTEEN YEARS since education lecturer, Denis Small, surprised two Security Intelligence Service (SIS) agents attempting to break into the home of the anti-free trade activist, Aziz Choudry. The SIS was to pay dearly (quite literally as it turned...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why bother joining a union?
    This past couple of weeks Unite has had a number of graphic examples on why it can make a huge difference in you work life whether you are a union member or not. 100 cleaners jobs at SkyCity were saved...
    The Daily Blog
  • Ferguson – it just ain’t cricket
    Why do white men fear young black men? Why in this country do we continue to struggle with this? Asked by an old black guy in Ferguson, the crafty questions were answered by an abrupt end to the story to...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: If we want to understand the world around us, we might be bett...
    Psychologist Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel Prize winner and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, a depressing but impressive book that is the culmination of his life’s work. Kahnemann proposes that people think in two different modes – ‘fast’ and ‘slow’....
    The Daily Blog
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep 2.
    TDB Video: The Daily Blog Breakfast Club, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week Activist and blogger Jessie Hume and political commentator Keith Locke. This Week: Topic...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Slater-Key Txt-Messages Trip-Up – Did Cameron Slater Plan this?
    . Cameron Slater (L) and John Key (R) . Timeline Sunday 23 November: John Key apologises to right-wing blogger Cameron Slater over the publication of an email that forced Justice Minister Judith Collins’ resignation. Monday 24 November: John Key and...
    The Daily Blog
  • When the teflon is stripped away…
    . . To re-cap something I wrote on 13 September, regarding a hard-hitting interview between “The Nation’s” Lisa Owen and John Key; For possibly the first time since Stephen Sackur interviewed Key on Hard Talk in May, 2011, this [...
    The Daily Blog
  • My Select Committee submission against the “terrorist fighters” bill
    This morning I gave this “oral submission” to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee opposing the Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill.  It is a pity only Greens are against the Bill. It’s a pleasure to be able to talk to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Pixies in the Garden? Making money
    In 2009, John Key said “there aren’t little pixies at the bottom of the garden printing cash” (John Armstrong, Colin Espiner). He was wrong of course. Just about every country has its own pixie-in-chief, though not at the bottom of the...
    The Daily Blog
  • AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE – Government must allow further scrut...
    As the New Zealand government seeks to rush new through new anti-terror legislation, Amnesty International is raising grave concerns over the speed at which the Bill is being rushed through Parliament and is calling for an extension to the consultation...
    The Daily Blog
  • Tension inside the Blue Tent – questions that should be asked
    With Andrew Little on fire taking a straight shooting no crap approach to Key’s dead eyed duplicity, the tensions inside the Blue Tent of National are at risk of erupting again. When the TeamKey brand falters, National’s factions sharpen their knives....
    The Daily Blog
  • FiveAA Australia: Is NZ’s PM a Liar? + Kim Dotcom Says He’s Broke
    5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.In this week’s Across The Ditch bulletin on FiveAA.com.au Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey discuss how allegations of dirty politics continue to dog the Prime Minister John Key’s third term in government. Also, internet tycoon...
    The Daily Blog
  • Cam’s ‘Slightly Left of Centre’ sock puppet threatens Key in public
    What did Judith Collins say about payback? Looks like Slater has taken that lesson to heart as he uses his sock puppet over at Slightly Left of Centre to drop threats and hints that he has recorded conversations with Key that has...
    The Daily Blog
  • Justice System Changes Must Ensure No More Roastings In Court
    On Monday there was good news for rape survivors and this blog was supposed to be about the success of our advocacy, and it is about that success, but today’s events have brought into stark focus the real-world importance of...
    The Daily Blog
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Key Post Electio...
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Key Post Election...
    The Daily Blog
  • Top 5 Texts from Cam to Key
    So Cam texted Key before the report came out despite Key claiming no contact? Top 5 Texts from Cam to Key 5 – I still have all the photos 4 – Yes my shapeshifting Lizard Master Overlord 3 – Max isn’t talking to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Hold on – did NZ just have a coup?
    Ummmmm. Wait a minute here. Just so that we all understand what’s been revealed. The Prime Minister’s Office used the Secret Intelligence Service to falsify classified information to smear the Leader of the Opposition via a far right hate blogger...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter in reference to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter in reference to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter in reference to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins The report into Collins is a whitewash. The difference between an independent inquiry like the IGIS report that connected the PMs Office with using edited Secret Intelligence Service information to smear a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins The report into Collins is a whitewash. The difference between an independent inquiry like the IGIS report that connected the PMs Office with using edited Secret Intelligence Service information to smear a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins The report into Collins is a whitewash. The difference between an independent inquiry like the IGIS report that connected the PMs Office with using edited Secret Intelligence Service information to smear a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lisa Owen interviews Glenn Inquiry chair Bill Wilson
    Lisa Owen: Family violence in this country has been described as the slow-burning disaster. It accounts for half of homicides and takes a third of police resources. The Glenn Inquiry's final blueprint was released on Friday, calling for a designated...
    Scoop politics
  • Lisa Owen interviews Finance Minister Bill English
    He’s still “confident” the Government will make its forecast surplus in the 2014/15 year although dairy prices have dropped “further and faster than expected”...
    Scoop politics
  • Q + A 30/11/14: Spying, Family Violence, Texts
    We'll debate why the State needs new powers to spy on Kiwis and the controversial laws that are being rushed through Parliament....
    Scoop politics
  • Arrival of Phillip Smith in New Zealand
    On arrival with his police escort at Auckland Airport tomorrow morning Phillip Smith will be met by other police staff and complete customs and immigration formalities....
    Scoop politics
  • UNICEF Calls on NZ Youth to Apply for Youth Ambassador Roles
    UNICEF NZ Calls on NZ Youth to Apply for Youth Ambassador Roles UNICEF NZ has once again launched its nationwide search for six new Youth Ambassadors and is calling on enthusiastic young people to apply before Friday, 12 December 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • Kiwifruit Claim Filed in High Court in Wellington
    The Kiwifruit Claim’s statement of claim has been filed in the High Court in Wellington this afternoon....
    Scoop politics
  • Judgment: John Banks Dotcom Donation Appeal
    A The application to adduce the evidence of Messrs Schaeffer and Karnes is granted. B The application to adduce evidence of Mr Dotcom’s driving conviction is declined. C The appeal is allowed. D The conviction is set aside and a...
    Scoop politics
  • Doctors support call for independent health assessment
    Senior doctors and dentists are formally throwing their weight behind growing calls for a formal independent health assessment of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). A recommendation about the TPPA was put to 134 public hospital specialists...
    Scoop politics
  • Korero Mai Ki Ahau: Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 November 2014
    Broadcast on Waatea 603AM Saturday 12.00 - 12.30pm Sunday 12.00 - 12.30pm Both shows repeated 5.00pm – 6.00pm On Sunday Saturday 29 November 2014 | The new Minister for Maori Development is taking a fresh look at the Te Reo...
    Scoop politics
  • Anti-speeding campaign based on phony science
    Ticketing ordinary motorists will have no effect on the groups who cause most road deaths, says the car review website dogandlemon.com ....
    Scoop politics
  • Human Rights lawyers’ concerns over Terrorist Fighters Bill
    The Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill will dramatically erode human rights and civil liberties if passed in its current form, said the Human Rights Lawyer’s Association Aotearoa New Zealand (HRLA)....
    Scoop politics
  • Privacy Commissioner’s naming policy
    Following a period of public consultation, the Privacy Commissioner is implementing a new policy on naming agencies that are in breach of the Privacy Act. The change takes effect on 1 December 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • Need for whole-of-government approach to family violence
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says The People’s Blueprint report by the Glenn Inquiry makes a strong case for a whole-of-government approach to combatting family violence, and highlights some of the ways we could do things better....
    Scoop politics
  • Stop Fracking in Our Big Blue Backyard – Frack Free Kapiti
    Evidence given at the EPA hearing of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at sea blows the industry accepted line that fracking is not happening offshore in New Zealand right out of the water....
    Scoop politics
  • Solidarity with West Papua on 1 December
    Below are the details of the solidarity events in Aotearoa New Zealand to mark West Papua Independence Day, 1 December - there are four events this year: one in Christchurch, one in Wellington and two in Auckland. If you are...
    Scoop politics
  • No charges laid over piggeries investigations
    No charges laid over piggeries investigations 28 November 2014 The Ministry for Primary Industries did not have sufficient evidence to lay charges following two animal welfare investigations into incidents at piggeries earlier this year. The investigations...
    Scoop politics
  • Deep Sea Drilling in Rising Seas
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's report on the effects of rising sea levels and climate change adds another argument against this Government's expansion of fossil fuel exploration....
    Scoop politics
  • Slower population growth in the long term
    New Zealand's population will likely grow by 1.4–1.8 percent a year during 2014–16, but growth will be lower in the long term, Statistics New Zealand said today....
    Scoop politics
  • Big Buddy on the Glenn Inquiry People’s Blueprint
    November 28, 2014 The inclusion of robust screening as a tool to prevent child abuse, highlighted in the Glenn Inquiry’s People’s Blueprint, is welcomed by Big Buddy CEO Richard Aston. “It’s heartening to see this high-calibre report come out...
    Scoop politics
  • People’s Blueprint for tackling Family Violence
    The recently Dunedin Collaboration Against Family Violence (DCAFV) is pleased to support the fundamental changes in the way our legal system deals with family violence that the report calls for. We need to do more to support victims, and ensure...
    Scoop politics
  • People’s Blueprint – Both Good News and a Wake-Up Call
    The Patron of the Glenn Inquiry, Dame Catherine Tizard, says there is some good news in The People’s Blueprint, after the shocking picture painted six months ago in The People’s Report....
    Scoop politics
  • Glenn Inquiry Funder Keeps His Promise
    The founder and funder of the Glenn Inquiry, Sir Owen Glenn, said today he has kept the promise he made when he set up the independent inquiry in 2012. “I set up the Glenn Inquiry because it was clear to...
    Scoop politics
  • Support for Blue Print call for a stand-alone agency
    Human Rights Commissioner lead on family violence, Dr Jackie Blue welcomes the Glenn Inquiry, ‘The People’s Blue Print’, which places at its heart that being safe and free from violence is a fundamental human right....
    Scoop politics
  • People’s Blueprint Offers Solutions to Family Violence
    New Zealand has a fresh opportunity to reduce child abuse and family violence and save and restore lives under a powerful new model for combating the problem proposed by the Glenn Inquiry....
    Scoop politics
  • Submission: Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill
    My three key areas of concern relate to: • The duration of visual surveillance warrants; • The controls around warrantless surveillance powers; • Clarifying the continuation of controls around access to Passenger Name Record (PNR) data under...
    Scoop politics
  • The case is clear for climate action that supports health
    The need for rapid action on climate change in New Zealand in order to protect health is clear, according to a group of climate and health experts. Countries elsewhere in the world are already taking significant action, while New Zealand...
    Scoop politics
  • EDUCANZ Debate Ignores Teachers
    The legislation for the creation of the new EDUCANZ to replace the former Teachers’ Council body is now undergoing its second reading. Without warning, it was promoted to the top the queue this week....
    Scoop politics
  • Phillip Smith en-route back to New Zealand.
    Police confirm that Phillip Smith has been deported from Brazil and is en-route back to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • Scaremongering and Showing Contempt for Democracy
    The government has been accused of fabricating an increased risk to New Zealand security to justify new invasive powers in the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill. And its decision to allow just 48 hours for public submissions on the Bill...
    Scoop politics
  • Legislation “a travesty of democratic process”
    Peace Movement Aotearoa today called on the government to put the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill on hold - pending a comprehensive review of existing legislation - in a written submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee,...
    Scoop politics
  • Bill needs amending to better protect human rights
    The Human Rights Commission submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee this afternoon on the Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill makes specific recommendations relating to passport denial; increasing safeguards around visual...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ’s gender equality issues in international forum
    New Zealand faces similar gender equality issues and opportunities to those of its neighbouring countries, according to the latest international conference on women’s empowerment....
    Scoop politics
  • Countering human trafficking is an ongoing challenge for NZ
    At first glance, it is difficult to believe that human trafficking is an offence that is taking place in New Zealand. It is a harsh reminder that the rule of law sometimes does not reach far enough....
    Scoop politics
  • Government must allow further scrutiny of bill
    As the New Zealand government seeks to rush new through new anti-terror legislation, Amnesty International is raising grave concerns over the speed at which the Bill is being rushed through Parliament and is calling for an extension to the consultation...
    Scoop politics
  • Calling on anti-violence activists to step up
    Māori Party co-leaders believe every individual, whānau, hapū and iwi can help stop the high level of family violence that exists in our country....
    Scoop politics
  • More effective social services inquiry update Nov 2014
    The Productivity Commission’s More effective social services inquiry aims to shed light on how commissioning and contracting influence the quality and effectiveness of social services, and to suggest actions government agencies and others could take...
    Scoop politics
  • Keith Locke presentation on Countering Foreign Fighters Bill
    It’s a pleasure to be able to talk to members of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee again, and remember my 12 years on your committee. However, I don’t wish my submission today to be taken as endorsement of...
    Scoop politics
  • Significant issues for NZ in sea level rise report
    Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) has recognised findings of Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright’s report released today on the impact of rising seas as significant for coastal areas of New Zealand, aligning well with work the...
    Scoop politics
  • White Ribbon Campaign Shocked at Fatal Stabbing
    The White Ribbon Campaign extends its condolences to the family of a women fatally stabbed in Auckland's North Shore....
    Scoop politics
  • One Plan signing is “historic moment” for the environment
    The signing of the Horizon Regional Council’s One Plan after a decade of debate, legal action and controversy is being hailed by Fish & Game as a landmark in the battle to protect the nation’s water quality. Horizons councillors approved...
    Scoop politics
  • Look at the Road, Not the Speedo
    Responding to the Fairfax article that police will be issuing tickets over the summer to anyone driving 1km/h or more over the speed limit, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics
  • Worker immunity critical to safety in Meat Industry
    The Meat Workers Union has today urged the Select Committee hearing submissions on the Health & Safety Reform bill to strengthen provisions that protect the rights of workers to be involved and speak out, saying that it’s becoming increasingly...
    Scoop politics
  • PCE report brings home impacts of climate change
    Youth climate organisation Generation Zero has welcomed the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's ' Changing Climate and Rising Seas ' report and says it demonstrates climate change will affect all of us....
    Scoop politics
  • Law Society urges reduction of terrorist fighter bill powers
    The New Zealand Law Society says powers proposed in the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill should be reduced to ensure they are strictly limited to countering the threats that have arisen....
    Scoop politics
  • Sea level rise won’t only affect infrastructure
    The independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird is asking the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) to widen the focus of her next report on climate change-driven sea level rise....
    Scoop politics
  • Changing climate and rising seas: Understanding the science
    During my seven years as Commissioner, I have consistently said that climate change is the biggest environmental issue we face. This investigation has provided an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of what is causing climate change and one of...
    Scoop politics
  • Council refuses to take part in farcical submissions process
    The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties refuses to take part in the submissions process around the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill....
    Scoop politics
  • Laws of War to Be Debated at Wellington Event
    The political and human consequences of war and civil unrest are widely covered in themedia but International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the body of law which exists to protect all parties to armed conflict, rarely gets attention....
    Scoop politics
  • Forum Compact Development Partner Peer Review of New Zealand
    Following the completion of the first leg of the review of New Zealand’s development cooperation in the Pacific, the Forum Compact Review Team is now visiting Kiribati to assess the effectiveness of New Zealand’s assistance in the small island developing...
    Scoop politics
  • YWCA Auckland award for long-time women’s role model
    New Zealand’s first female Governor General and Mayor of Auckland has been granted a Lifetime Achievement Award by YWCA Auckland, for her services to the Auckland community and acting as a role model for Kiwi women nationwide....
    Scoop politics
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