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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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  • One-sided reporting on the Middle East Conflict
    The following was sent to New Zealand Herald, Fairfax Media, Radio New Zealand, Television New Zealand, TV3, Radio Live and ZB Network. We are writing to all of you because there are well established patterns of reporting which seem to have been adopted by New Zealand...
    Mana | 20-07
  • New President for MANA Movement
    Lisa McNab, MANA President, and Annette Sykes, outgoing MANA President and candidate for Waiariki Lisa McNab was officially passed the mantle of MANA President in a special ceremony at Potahi Marae in Te Kao this week, following her unanimous election into the...
    Mana | 20-07
  • Te Reo Māori a doorway to opportunity
    A Labour Government will ensure more of our children have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori by encouraging the learning and use of it in schools, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says....
    Labour | 19-07
  • Work numbers not all they’re cracked up to be
    The Government's figures on the numbers of beneficiaries don't add up, Labour's Social Development spokesperson Sue Moroney says."Paula Bennett keeps saying 1500 people are going off the benefit into work every week, yet today she announced just 16,000 fewer people...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Flood relief for National voters first
    “The flooding in Tai Tokerau has hammered the north and impacted hundreds of families right across the region,” said MANA Leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira. “It’s bitterly disappointing to see that the first response from this National government...
    Mana | 18-07
  • Don’t contract out your loyal cleaners SkyCity3
    SkyCity should put aside its proposal to contract out its cleaning staff and not be lured by the prospect of washing their hands of these essential jobs and leaving them to the world of third party contracting, Labour’s Associate Labour...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Green Party statement on tragedy of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17
    The Green Party conveys its condolences to the families of the victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.The Ukrainian Government has accused pro-Russia rebels in the east of the Ukraine of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines jet with a ground-to-air missile,...
    Greens | 18-07
  • Gaza ground offensive can only result in more deaths
    Israel’s decision to continue with a ground offensive into Gaza can only result in more civilian deaths and push a ceasefire further beyond reach, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “There is no such thing as a surgical strike...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Tackling childhood obesity is not rocket science Minister, but it is scienc...
    The Government's latest snub of scientific evidence - this time about its failure to address childhood obesity - is another example of National's reliance on 'tobacco science' to justify its denial agenda, the Green Party said today. An Auckland University...
    Greens | 18-07
  • Paying patients to go away not a solution
    A voucher system being used by emergency departments in Southern DHB - which pays patients to see a GP – is designed to skew figures to meet Government targets, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson and Dunedin North MP David Clark says....
    Labour | 18-07
  • Common sense a better response
    The actions of two police officers who walked into a marae's wharenui in the early hours of the morning to search and photograph a group of children in their pyjamas are deeply concerning, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says....
    Labour | 18-07
  • Taxpayer cash to plug Chorus copper hole
    The Chief Executive and Board of Chorus must be held accountable for striking a deal that uses taxpayer money that was intended to build a new fibre network to instead plug the company’s revenue gaps, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Labour won’t abandon regional New Zealand
    Labour will ensure no regions in New Zealand are ‘red-zoned’ by tailoring Regional Growth Plans for each province as part of our Economic Upgrade, Labour’s Finance spokesperson and Deputy Leader David Parker says. “The Royal Society of New Zealand’s Our...
    Labour | 17-07
  • A Kanaky tale of mining skulduggery and environmental courage
    Florent Eurisouké … still campaigning against mining. Photo: Del Abcede/PMC David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific AN EXTRAORDINARY story of mining skulduggery and a courageous struggle by indigenous Kanak environmental campaigners has been captured in a poignant new documentary,...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • UNBREAKING: The list of questions Mike Hosking will use in first TVNZ leade...
    “Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the first TVNZ leaders debate being held live in the gloriously beautiful Sky City ball room. It’s such a beautiful building boys and girls, we are so blessed to have Sky City...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Internet Party Party review
      I have been to A LOT of political party functions in my time, and they tend to be dull affairs at the best of times but what is happening with Internet MANA is something quite exciting. I went to...
    The Daily Blog | 24-07
  • Dear Seven Sharp – after learning Hosking will be the leaders debate ...
    I have to be honest, I had made the decision last night  to accept Seven Sharp’s hastily offered opportunity to appear on their show after I savagely criticised the bullshit whitewash story they did on John Key’s favourite far right hate speech...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 | Press Release This is another reminder that the National Government does not care about the survival of the Maui’s dolphin National...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Message from CTU President Helen Kelly
    MIL OSI – Source: Unite Union – Headline: Message from CTU President Helen Kelly Dear MikeThere’s only 43 days until September 3, when voting in the General Election starts. The last day to vote is September 20.Thanks heaps for signing...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour Posted on July 23, 2014 by admin in Joe Carolan, Press Releases“Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week”,...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • We must act to save our dolphins
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: We must act to save our dolphins A new report makes it clear for the urgent need to protect Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins while arguing  it is clear that there is no...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • School told to manipulate national standards data
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: School told to manipulate national standards data Parents can have little confidence in the Government’s National Standards after an Auckland school was told to manipulate its data so it added up, Labour’s...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Regional economies must have tailored plans
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Regional economies must have tailored plans News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Auditor General slams Shared Services project
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Auditor General slams Shared Services project The Auditor-General’s Office could not have been more damning about the 18 months spent on the Central Agency Shared Services (CASS) project at the Finance and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato The potential loss of up to 114 jobs from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton is a massive blow to the Waikato region which has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital The decision to reject the proposed flyover at the Basin Reserve must be taken as an opportunity to properly fund Wellington’s transport future and must...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Indonesia: New President Widodo must make good on human rights pledges
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Indonesia: New President Widodo must make good on human rights pledges Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo must deliver on campaign promises to improve Indonesia’s dire human rights situation, Amnesty International said....
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Communities in Sierra Leone turn their backs on female genital mutilation
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Communities in Sierra Leone turn their backs on female genital mutilation While activists gather in London to discuss strategies to tackle female genital mutilation, communities across Sierra Leone have been taking...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • The Gambia: Activists mark 20 years of iron-fisted repression
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: The Gambia: Activists mark 20 years of iron-fisted repression The Gambian government must abolish the laws and iron fisted practices that have resulted in two decades of widespread human rights violations,...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • A blog from the front lines of Palestine: It’s time for a new narrative
    I don’t know if I follow trouble or if trouble follows me, but somehow I seem to have found myself near one of the world’s hotspots again. The difference this time is that instead of sitting in some obscure location,...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Michael Wood – The Path Ahead
    It’s well established that Labour has had a difficult couple of weeks. Getting back on to a successful path requires our focus to shift from looking inwards to outwards, heightened discipline, and inner conviction. While my assessment of New Zealand...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Employers liquidating companies to avoid paying minimum entitlements
    Across the union movement we have seen a number of documented cases now where companies are liquidating their business in order to avoid their legal obligations, in terms of paying the minimum entitlements to their workers. The most recent example...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Carolan : Positively Controversial
    The protest in Auckland last weekend that the NZ Herald claimed was attend by only a hundred people. Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week. A good start would be for all their...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Come on TV3 News – you are better than regurgitating Israeli propaganda
    Say it isn’t true TV3 News, you are seriously bitching about this???? The leader of the Mana Party, Hone Harawira, has supported flag burning at a pro-Palestinian march in Auckland at the weekend. Mana Party flags can be seen in...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • The brutal siege of Palestine
    70 years ago the Jews of Europe suffered as much as any people can suffer. The Nazis set about ethnic cleansing and sent 6 million to their death. Today we watch in horror as Israel, the Jewish homeland created after...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • When the mainstream media go feral: A tale of two holidays
    . . The recent non-story on David Cunliffe’s three day holiday should be proof-positive that the mainstream media (msm) is fixated on pumping out as many “bad news” reporting as can be generated by a headline-seeking; advertising-driven; lazy corporate-media system....
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Canterbury housing crisis a moral, economic, health, education, and social ...
    Can they build it? No they can’t.  Occasionally I come across people who don’t believe me when I say there is a housing crisis in Christchurch.  Despite all the evidence to the contrary.  Even when I tell them that every...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Respected world visionaries of the past speak out on Israel
    Respected world visionaries of the past speak out on Israel...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • From Here To There: How did Labour become so hopelessly lost?
    WRITING ABOUT the Labour Party these days puts me in mind of the joke about the American tourist and the Irish farmer. Seems there was this American tourist driving down a narrow lane in the heart of Ireland. He needed...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Oh NOW everyone thinks the ABCs are up to no good?
    Goodness last months June seems like years away doesn’t it? In June I pointed out a move by the ABCs to destabilise Cunliffe was under way. For pointing this out, Labour Party bloggers Rob Salmond and Lynn Prentice rushed to put...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Dear Seven Sharp – I have little interest in appearing on your show so th...
    After savagely critiquing Seven Sharp for trying to whitewash the repulsive history of a far right hate speech merchant like Cameron Slater yesterday, Seven Sharp have contacted me and offered to do a profile on me. Here is their email…...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 | Press Release “Both popular and expert opinion opposed the flyover. The proposal was expensive, unnecessary and would have undermined the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • CPAG Newsletter July 2014
    MIL OSI – Source: Child Poverty Action Group – Headline: CPAG Newsletter July 2014 22 July 2014 New child poverty data nothing to celebrate New data released by the Ministry of Social Development  indicates people living below the poverty line are worse...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Hotel ordered to pay $80,000 in outstanding wages
    MIL OSI – Source: Unite Union – Headline: Hotel ordered to pay $80,000 in outstanding wages An Auckland hotel has been ordered by the Employment Relations Authority to pay nearly $80,000 in outstanding wages to two employees. Filipino couple Abraham...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Rising interest rate and dollar driving manufacturing exports back to Globa...
    MIL OSI – Source: CTU – Headline: Rising interest rate and dollar driving manufacturing exports back to Global Financial Crisis levels The Council of Trade Unions is calling on the Reserve Bank not to raise interest rates on Thursday. “Another...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime a...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime allegations The continuing bombardment of civilian homes in several areas of the Gaza Strip, as well as the Israeli shelling...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Central African Republic: Brazzaville talks should not lead to amnesties fo...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Central African Republic: Brazzaville talks should not lead to amnesties for war crimes Amnesty International called on delegates to the Central African Republic (CAR) National Reconciliation talks due to take place...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Russia increases stranglehold on dissent as five more NGOs named ‘foreign...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Russia increases stranglehold on dissent as five more NGOs named ‘foreign agents’ The Russian Ministry of Justice today registered four more Russian human rights organizations and one environmental group as “foreign...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Nigeria: World Bank panel turns its back on forcibly evicted community
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Nigeria: World Bank panel turns its back on forcibly evicted community The decision by a World Bank Inspection Panel to refuse to investigate a complaint about forced evictions linked to a...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • National out of touch with the regions
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: National out of touch with the regions John Key is out of touch with regional New Zealand if he believes tinkering with council regulations will restore opportunities to small towns, Labour Leader...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport The rejection of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover by a Board of Inquiry is a victory for sustainable transport in Wellington and paves the way...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation Meat companies that supply supermarkets and sell New Zealand lamb as a loss leader in the United Kingdom should lose their access to this valuable...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Labour will revive the regions with new fund
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Labour will revive the regions with new fund The next Labour Government will co-develop Regional Growth Plans for every region of New Zealand and will invest at least $200 million in a...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Speech to Local Government New Zealand
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Speech to Local Government New Zealand Speech to the Local Government New Zealand Conference 2014 Introduction Early in my time as an MP I went for a long walk on a windswept...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Chris Perley – Confessions of an ex-Public Servant watching t...
    Back in the 16th century, good Queen Bess said to her Privy Council of advisors something along the lines of: “I want your free, frank advice, without consideration of fear or favour.”  In other words, tell me what you think,...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • The rise of the Internet/Mana phenomenon
    Commentators seem surprised at the popularity of the Mana/Internet phenomenon. The ultimate ‘odd coupling’ is doing reasonably well in the polls at over 2% support, and Right Wing pundits are guessing that the Party might even reach 5% by the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Which Party Would (not) Walk Away from a Crap TPPA?
    Trick question.  Any TPPA would be crap. But a future government will try to sell it to us anyway. It is clear that there won’t be any deal until well after the election and the new government is installed. So...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Te wiki – Maori Language Week
    Maori Language Week has become an entrenched feature of New Zealand.  New Zealanders have come to accept that for one week a year the normal institutions of the white settler society will make some attempt to engage their stakeholders using the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • A brief word on Cunliffe saying sorry for a 3 day holiday
    I’m not sure who the bloody hell is advising Cunliffe to apologise about a 3 day holiday, but it’s stupid. If you want to know what angry white reactionary NZ thinks about anything, go to a stuff.co.nz poll. Here’s their...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Seven Sharp – The day public broadcasting died
    I rarely watch Seven Sharp because it’s bullshit and sums up all that is wrong with current affairs in NZ, but even I can’t believe that Seven Sharp have stooped to being an apologist for Cameron Slater on this evenings show. This...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • ….except Israel
    ….except Israel...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • NZIFF Review: The Dark Horse – 6 stars
    This year’s opening New Zealand International Film Festival offering was a couple of nights ago, and I still feel this incredible NZ movie reverberating inside me. The Dark Horse is heartbreaking, heartwarming and terribly raw. Director James Napier Robertson has...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • TDB New Zealand International Film Festival 2014 picks
    NZIFF is here, our picks this season are… The Dark Horse Boyhood Leviathan Is the man who is tall happy?  Hot Air Maps to the Stars Snowpiercer Toons for Tots InRealLife Print The Legend E-Team The Internet’s Own Boy: The...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Mike Hosking for PM?
    The Coalition for Better Broadcasting is adding its voice to the many appalled at TVNZ’s choice of Mike Hosking as moderator for the upcoming political debates....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • ‘Party Party’ Hitting the Right Notes
    The “sold out” sign has gone up at the Internet Party’s concert in Christchurch tonight. A capacity crowd of 1000 will be at The Foundry for the Party Party concert, part of a major national musical tour aimed at getting...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • New Electoral Commission Campaign Launches This Weekend
    New Electoral Commission Campaign Launches This Weekend More non-voters than ever before say they don't feel like their vote is worth anything, or that their opinion matters. It's a trend that concerns the Electoral Commission, and the reason for...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Umere says ‘taihoa’ on Māori Language Strategy
    A Maori Language advocacy group, Umere, is calling for a rain check on the Māori Language Strategy Bill, which is being introduced to parliament this week. "The submissions on the MLS have been released by Te Puni Kōkiri and they...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • High cost of GP visits still a barrier for older children
    Free doctor's visits should be extended to all children under 18 as GP charges are a significant barrier for low income families, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • David Cunliffe happy to hide sex offender’s identity
    ..:: For immediate release ::.. 24/07/14 David Cunliffe happy to hide sex offender’s identity - (and in fact enjoy lunch with them)...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • More kids in Southland and Otago are achieving
    Clutha-Southland National candidate Todd Barclay says the Public Achievement Information for 2013 shows New Zealand children are doing better across the whole education system....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Flavell mistaken
    In response to Mr Flavell’s tirade this afternoon Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig advises "Mr Flavell is simply mistaken in his comments."...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • High cost of GP visits still a barrier for older children
    Free doctor's visits should be extended to all children under 18 as GP charges are a significant barrier for low income families, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Taxpayers’ Union Lay Complaint with Speaker
    The Taxpayers’ Unio n has written to Parliament's Speaker, the Rt. Hon. David Carter, asking him to step in and investigate the claims on the WhaleOil blog that taxpayers’ money is being improperly used for Mana Party election campaign hoardings....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • MANA launches te reo Māori policy
    “MANA is launching its te reo Māori policy this morning ahead of the first reading of the government’s Māori Language Strategy Bill this afternoon”, said MANA deputy leader and candidate for Waiariki, Annette Sykes....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Candidate welcomes award of platinum exploration permits
    Clutha-Southland National candidate Todd Barclay has welcomed the Government’s decision to award Lynx Platinum Limited two exploration permits in Southland. Mr Barclay said the minerals industry is an important part of New Zealand’s economy...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Pokie spending and numbers continue to drop
    Pub and club gaming machine expenditure in the year ended June 2014 fell 2.4 per cent from $826.3 million to $806.2 million. There were also fewer licence holders, gambling venues and gaming machines compared with 12 months earlier. Licence holders...
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • New Zealand Police to assist in MH17 victim identification
    New Zealand Police is sending three Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) specialists to the Netherlands to assist in the international effort to identify victims from the MH17 tragedy....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Oil Spill Response Strategy available for consultation
    Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) is inviting comment on its draft updated New Zealand Marine Oil Spill Response Strategy....
    Scoop politics | 24-07
  • Police response to IPCA report on Rewa investigation
    Police accept the findings of today's IPCA's report regarding its investigations into offending by Malcolm Rewa in Auckland in the 1980s and 1990s....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Well-known kiwis sign on to stop ivory trade
    Today the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee will consider a complete ban on the ivory trade in response to a petition by Auckland teacher Virginia Woolf and policy analyst Fiona Gordon....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Commonwealth Games are not being captioned in New Zealand
    As members of the Captioning Working Group, The National Foundation for the Deaf and Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand call for broadcast captioning of the 2014 Commonwealth Games...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Majority of Commonwealth countries are already republics
    The Glasgow Commonwealth Games are here and it's a common misbelief that a Kiwi republic would mean that New Zealand would have to leave the Commonwealth. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Police handling of Rewa Investigation
    Although an Independent Police Conduct Authority inquiry has identified some faults with a series of investigations conducted by Police into offending by Malcolm Rewa, there is insufficient evidence that any of these impacted on the ability of Police...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • IPCA findings on Police handling of Rewa Investigation
    Good morning everyone. I’d like to begin today by explaining that this is an informational press conference and that I will not be taking questions at its conclusion. The reason for that is the report’s findings are the result of...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Pay It Back Ms Hauiti
    Responding to the Newstalk ZB report that disgraced MP Claudette Hauiti is refusing to confirm whether or not she has reimbursed taxpayers for misuse of her Parliamentary 'P-card', Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: “Ms Hauiti...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • RSA thanks NZ for $1.7m collected during Poppy Appeal
    The RSA today announced that over $1.7 million was donated to the 2014 Poppy Appeal for the support of veterans, ex-service men and women and their families in need....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Students encouraged to be brave and never give up
    Students encouraged to be brave and never give up if they want to 'make it happen'...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • New Zealanders want to pay more to protect dolphins
    A report released this week shows a large majority of New Zealanders want Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins protected and they are prepared to pay for it....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Maori Party President Acknowledges Founding Co-Leaders
    Maori Party President, Rangimarie Naida Glavish, has today acknowledged the enormous contribution founding Maori Party co-leaders, Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples have made towards building a greater nation....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Ngati Ruanui supports plans for Te Reo Maori
    Te Tumu Whakaae (Chair) of Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui Trust said today his iwi supports Te Matawai, the Maori Affairs Minister’s new Maori language strategy....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Mana Party Using Taxpayer Funds for Election Hoardings
    Reacting to the photograph posted on the WhaleOil website of a Te Tai Tokerau electorate hoarding featuring Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, which carries the House of Representatives crest and appears to have been funded by taxpayers, Jordan Williams, Executive...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • EPA Questions For Chatham Rise Phospate Mining Raise Alarm
    Alarm bells should be ringing in light of the hard questions asked by Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) of Chatham Rock Phosphate’s miningapplication....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Ngati Ruanui joins ironsand mining appeal
    Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui Trust has applied to the High Court to join Trans Tasman Resources appeal against the decision to reject its application to mine iron sands off the south Taranaki coast....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • More victims fall foul of aggressive phone scam
    A victim of an aggressive phone scam which is targeting Inland Revenue customers for money or threatening them with deportation or prison if they don’t pay has been duped out of $6,500....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Three Strikes: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
    Crime is on the decline, not just in New Zealand but across the Western World....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Public Money? Public Entitled to Know
    Responding to the Fairfax article that taxpayers are unable to find out the extent of disgraced MP Claudette Hauiti’s spending, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Parenting in an Age of Terror
    What impact does news of war and terrorism have on children? Does seeing the wreckage of downed airliners, missiles flying and gunfire in the streets affect them? What do we tell them? It is unlikely children are actually going to...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • NZ Jews, Christians, and Muslims United in Call for Peace
    Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders in Wellington issued a joint statement today regarding the current conflict in Gaza and Israel:...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour
    " Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week”, said MANA candidate for Mt Albert, Joe Carolan. “A good start would be for all Labour Auckland MPs and members to join the Justice for...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • iPredict 2014 Election Update #27: Nats back in ascendency
    Inflation and interest rate expectations fall ahead of OCR announcement tomorrow · Forecast fiscal surplus again falls sharply, and growth marginally down · Greens fall and Internet-Mana strengthens, as Sykes gets closer in Waiariki · No feasible...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • TOUGHLOVE urges more funding for Parent Support
    TOUGHLOVE has issued a challenge to all of New Zealand's political parties to state where they stand on helping parents of youth at risk. The challenge comes just ahead of the organisation's thirtieth anniversary celebrations in Auckland on Friday 25th...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Reports: Aotearoa stands in solidarity with Palestine
    Fightback supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a tactic to show solidarity with Palestinian resistance. The following reports are from demonstrations over the weekend from Fightback activists and supporters....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Mental Health & Addiction Services Funding Crisis
    The funding crisis threatening the effective provision of NGO mental health and addiction services will be the main topic for debate by health spokespeople from all the main political parties at a public meeting in Penrose....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Job losses show the dangers of relying on dairy exports
    Today’s announcement from Fonterra that up to 110 jobs will be cut at its Canpac facility in the Waikato shows the dangers of relying on dairy exports to China to sustain our economy, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Cambodian Workshop successful, says Labour MP/PGA President
    Labour’s Associate Disarmament Spokesperson and Parliamentians for Global Action (PGA) President Ross Robertson is pleased with the successful outcome of the Asia Pacific Regional Parliamentary Workshop held last week in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to...
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Mangere College students take stance on family violence
    The students of south Auckland high school, Mangere College, became the first in the country today to implement the ‘It’s not OK’ campaign throughout the school in an effort to help prevent family violence occurring in its local community....
    Scoop politics | 23-07
  • Fairer Deal For Parents on Benefits – Christine Rankin
    Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig is backing a campaign seeking to reform the way Work And Income treats shared care parents. Mr Craig confirmed his party's stance in an email to Fifty Fifty campaigner Duncan Eddy last night, stating: "I...
    Scoop politics | 22-07
  • Kmart stamps out bullies with partnership
    23 July 2014 – Kmart has helped stamp out bullying quite literally, with active team members from stores across the country pounding the pavement on a ‘Big Walk’ for charity organisation Foundation for Youth Development (FYD), as part of Kmart...
    Scoop politics | 22-07
  • More momentum needed to achieve Smokefree 2025 goal
    New research published in the New Zealand Medical Journal by ASPIRE 2025 researchers suggests the Government’s goal to achieve a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025 may be failing to gather the political momentum needed to ensure it is achieved. Analysis...
    Scoop politics | 22-07
  • Fight for 26 weeks paid parental leave to go on
    The coalition to support 26 weeks paid parental leave says that public demand for six months leave with a new baby is not going away, and the group will continue to push for government to do more to support better...
    Scoop politics | 22-07
  • Don’t Apologise for Putting Family First, Mr Cunliffe
    Family First NZ says Labour leader David Cunliffe should not be apologising for putting his family first and having some holiday time with them. “All parents need some rest and recharging time, they need family time, and most importantly they...
    Scoop politics | 22-07
  • Referral to the Police – Wayne Walford
    On 21 July 2014, the Electoral Commission referred Wayne Walford, National Party candidate for Napier, to Police for displaying election advertising on a signwritten vehicle promoting his candidacy and the National Party....
    Scoop politics | 22-07
  • RSA condemns downing of flight MH17
    The Royal New Zealand RSA has today denounced the downing of flight MH17, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, as an act of terror....
    Scoop politics | 22-07
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