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Another disease of poverty making a comeback

Written By: - Date published: 9:18 am, June 30th, 2015 - 139 comments
Categories: class war, cost of living, health - Tags: , , , ,

Diseases of poverty, notably rheumatic fever, are making a comeback in this country, and there is no quick fix. Today we can add another disease of deprivation to the list:

Number of rickets cases on the rise in New Zealand

Rickets, a disease generally associated with 19th century deprivation and which resurfaced in New Zealand briefly during the Great Depression 80 years ago, is on the rise again.

One of the major causes of rickets is calcium deprivation. In other news today:

Families forgo ‘luxury’ milk as prices rise

Some families are forgoing breakfast due to the cost of milk, while a glass of it is a luxury in others, social agencies say. The average price for two litres of milk has jumped from $3.19 in May 2013 to $3.45 in May this year, Statistics New Zealand figures show.

The fact that we’re pricing our main calcium staple out of reach, and witnessing the reemergence of a calcium related disease of “19th century deprivation” is probably just a coincidence of course. Brighter future. Cusp of something special. It’s Labour’s fault.

Update: A later and fuller report makes it clear that NZ researchers are attributing the current increase in rickets to Vitamin D rather than calcium, though calcium (dietary deficiency or uptake problems due to Vitamin D deficiency) is always involved. So the link in the post to the price of milk, while tongue in cheek, is overplayed. But not much, and likely to be more of a factor in future. The fact remains that the re-emergence of these diseases of poverty in NZ, relating to diet and overcrowding, is a real indictment of our current treatment of the poor.

139 comments on “Another disease of poverty making a comeback ”

  1. Save NZ 1

    Absolutely disgusting.

    I’m appalled by pretty much everything happening at present.

    Maybe this is ‘shock and Awe’ National party style. Just try and get so much bad news out there, that people can’t cope with it all and give up trying.

    Then they give out the message – the public doesn’t care.

    How about a brain storm of what ‘real’ actions should be done. I’m tired of talking.

    Nationwide protest against National privatising the country and turning our social system into a Dickinson joke. Feet on the street.

    There needs to be a leader at least – where is our Mandela or Luther King?

    Any other ideas?

    • Gosman 1.1

      Why do you need a leader? Can’t you organise yourself and get others interested in doing the same?

      • Save NZ 1.1.1

        A credible leader, is the right’s worst nightmare.

        Hence the divide and conquer and undermining, strategy of the Nats to the left.

        Like yourself Gosman, with your right wing comments constant, in the left wing blogs.

        The right are well organised and resourced. A finger in every pie.

        The left are not.

    • Stuart Munro 1.2

      Bring rope.

      We don’t need a great leader, we need to rid ourselves of a great villain.

    • Smilin 1.3

      Yes its been getting that way for awhile since this country forgot that real work is physical and not the idiot wind of continuous bs from National passing as constructive dialogue

  2. johnm 2

    Just to kick off the discussion. I grew up in the UK and at my first primary school until the 11+ we had free milk everyday. This must have been a provision by the new welfare state against the evil of the hungry,deprived 30s. Thatcher the milk snatcher stopped that along with later when she became the ruling classes’ parrot in chief (PM) the commitment to provide affordable housing to low income earners. The council homes were sold off to the tenants.

    Here in NZ ordinary people are being ripped off by extortionate rents and low wages and job insecurity plus this government’s aim to chuck one off the benefit for trumped up technicalities because they deem you’re not really looking for work.

    • Heather Grimwood 2.1

      To John M : I wrote only yesterday in another column in the Standard that milk when my family using 10 pints daily was subsidised. Milk in schools was I think a wartime measure ( as were apples in schools) and continued until at least 1963. The Government in wartime published a booklet ” Good Nutrition” which indeed had warning of rickets danger with accompanying picture of a weakly sufferer.
      Obviously, a few cannot tolerate milk, but for the great majority it is essential to a strong frame and teeth.
      I am truly shocked at what families must pay at today’s prices.

      • MrMan 2.1.1

        There is milk in schools now. Children at my son’s school get a 200ml tetrapak of milk every day courtesy of fonterra. It’s been going for 2 years, I think.

        • The Other Mike 2.1.1.1

          Well, good. As mentioned above by johnm, I was at high school in England in the mid 60s and well all had half a pint (250ml) a day in a glass bottle. In summer it was always warm of course – and tasted fowl! But we drank it and benefited, even if we did not know it at the time.

          Prices now? NOBODY is explaining why the UK pays NZ$1.95 per 2L odd for our milk while we are paying around $3.30/40. Outrageous.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    Key was saying that milk in NZ is cheaper than the UK. Looking at the actual numbers, he appears to be wrong, but in terms of shelf prices they aren’t hugely higher in NZ compared to the UK.

    However, Key isn’t taking into account the generally lower wages in NZ compared to the UK. So it’s a double whammy – higher shelf prices and less money to spend on food.

    • Kiwiri 3.1

      Cheers. Real purchasing power should be the focus.

    • Sabine 3.2

      another thing that is not mentioned, that in europe depending on which boarder one lives, it is fairly easy to get food items cheaper.
      A weekend trip over to Austria (my family does this for fuel, coffee, and other such items) , or or or in the case of UK with the boat over to calais to fill up on booze…They have a few more options,

      In NZ its either eat what you can afford or starve. This is the end of the world, and if one can’t afford milk in this country than one will not have milk.

      So it is fairly stupid to compare the NZ to England. Both are an Island and speak english, and thats where all similarities end.

      • Tracey 3.2.1

        from RNZ report yesterday

        “Jacqueline Rowarth, a professor of agribusiness at Waikato University, said the party’s claim about retail milk prices overseas was unfair because it failed to take into account other taxes consumers pay in those countries.
        We pay overall a very low tax rate on our personal income in comparison with most other countries and we don’t subsidise our farmers but we do pay GST on fresh food, whereas Europe pays a value-added tax and it’s only on processed food.”

        Mr Key didn’t point this out though did he, in his defence of prices…

        • Enough is enough 3.2.1.1

          That would be Jacqueline Rowarth, dairy industry apologist, run-off pollution diminisher and and child-poverty denier.

          • Tracey 3.2.1.1.1

            The thing is EIE that whoever put that story together sought her out, and the other “expert”, imo, to frame it in a particular way.

            Mind you when you work for a department called “Agribusiness” at a University….

    • Tracey 3.3

      nor is he telling people the numbers who can’t afford to buy it regularly, or at all, in the uK.

    • The Other Mike 3.4

      “Key was saying that milk in NZ is cheaper than the UK”

      Liar (yet again): http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/69787453/families-forgo-luxury-milk-as-prices-rise.html

      • Lanthanide 3.4.1

        Sorry, are you calling me a liar, or Key? If you’re calling me a liar, why are you saying “yet again”?

        Here’s the quote from Key in that article:

        Prime Minister John Key said Kiwis were not getting ripped off by milk prices.

        “The Opposition, obviously they’re jumping up and down, but if you look at Countdown today, the price in the UK has been selling at $3.90, well it’s been selling for $3.19 in New Zealand.”

        Clearly, Key is saying that milk costs $3.19 in NZ and $3.90 in UK. Unless you have reading comprehension problems, that is really quite clear.

        • RedLogix 3.4.1.1

          When we buy milk here in Australia it’s usually around the $1.20 to $1.50 per litre range.

          Vitamin D deficiency is another common problem in NZ, especially during the winter months. On what warm sunny days we do have it is essential to get about 30 min of as much sunshine as possible at least once a week.

          But somehow we can’t even seem to manage this for ourselves these days.

  4. TheContrarian 4

    Pretty sure the primary cause of rickets is vitamin D deficiency

    EDIT: In fact this is supported by the researchers and relates to worldwide problem so yeah – this post is BS and draws a very tenuous connection between milk price and rickets:
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/277515/nz-children-found-to-have-rickets

  5. northshoredoc 5

    There has been a very small increase in early stage rickets in NZ most of this, if not all, has been attributed to avoidance of the sun.

    • r0b 5.1

      Other cases of rickets emerged during “19th century deprivation” and in NZ “briefly during the Great Depression”, clearly due to nutritional deficiency. The case that this outbreak is due to nutritional deficiency is not unreasonable, and needs to be explored.

      • TheContrarian 5.1.1

        Not unreasonable but it is pretty tenuous to point the finger at milk prices when the primary cause is Vitamin D deficiency and, according to the researchers, this is a worldwide issue – not NZ specific.

      • northshoredoc 5.1.2

        Sigh..

        Or you could wait for the more extended report from RNZ and the researchers..

        http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/277515/nz-children-found-to-have-rickets

        • r0b 5.1.2.1

          You are correct that the NZ researchers are attributing the current increase to Vitamin D rather than calcium, though calcium (dietary deficiency or uptake problems due to Vitamin D deficiency) is always involved. So the link in the post to the price of milk, while tongue in cheek, is overplayed. But not much, and likely to be more of a factor in future. The fact remains that the re-emergence of these diseases of poverty in NZ, relating to diet and overcrowding, is a real indictment of our current treatment of the poor.

          • dukeofurl 5.1.2.1.1

            AS well there are people who are saying they have reduced the milk purchases for their kids- and none for the cat !

          • northshoredoc 5.1.2.1.2

            @r0b

            “So the link in the post to the price of milk, while tongue in cheek, is overplayed. But not much, and likely to be more of a factor in future. The fact remains that the re-emergence of these diseases of poverty in NZ, relating to diet and overcrowding, is a real indictment of our current treatment of the poor.”

            What a load of bombastic tosh, I would’ve expected that kind of drivel from Bomber Bradbury or that other fool on Mana news who bring ridicule to themselves almost every time they post an opinion.

            • TheContrarian 5.1.2.1.2.1

              ““So the link in the post to the price of milk, while tongue in cheek, is overplayed. But not much”

              But not much? The study you are linking to took place between 2010 and 2013.

              • northshoredoc

                @ thecontrarian for a less sensational look at rickets over the centuries I recommend having a read of this which give a very interesting historical/scientific overview.

                http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1523417/

                • TheContrarian

                  Unless I can draw a long-bow and blame National I’m not interested in your “facts” or “evidence”. Indeed, the rising price of fruit and veg between 2014 and 2015 might have something to do with the scurvy encountered by seamen searching for the New World.

                  • r0b

                    A disease like rickets doesn’t happen over night TC, we’re talking about long term systemic issues here. The link in the post to milk is just a current example, the cost of a healthy diet has been an issue for a long time in NZ. And as for blaming National, I don’t think the last Labour government did enough to alleviate poverty either. I hope that the next one does much more.

            • r0b 5.1.2.1.2.2

              What a load of bombastic tosh

              Gosh if you object to me, you must really hate this guy:

              “The Government must urgently address the negative impact of social factors in New Zealand, such as poor quality, damp housing, employment conditions, and economic status that lead to illnesses, low quality of life and mortality,” says NZMA Chair Dr Paul Ockelford.

              “It is of particular concern that so many of our children are living in poverty and suffering from preventable illnesses such as rheumatic fever, and respiratory diseases which are left untreated and then lead to high rates of hospital admissions. These illnesses are directly a result of sub-standard living conditions.”

              “We invest so little in comparison to other OECD countries in early childhood but the evidence shows that this investment is one of the most effective measures to reduce health inequities.”

              The NZMA health equity position statement recommends a range of policies including a minimum income for healthy living for people of all ages, prioritising prevention and early detection of illnesses most strongly related to health inequities, strengthening leadership to advance child health and ensuring high quality parenting programmes, childcare and early years education.

              https://www.nzma.org.nz/news-and-events/media-releases/health-equity-requires-urgent-political-action

    • Tracey 5.3

      is one of the problems with Vitamin D deficiency that we have a concerted campaign to keep people out of the sun over the last 20 years, with hats, clothing and sunscreen? I assume sunscreen stops uptake of Vitamin D through the skin? Also does natural skin pigmentation also change how the skin uptakes Vit D from the sun?

    • Draco T Bastard 5.4

      I recall a newspaper item a few years ago about a young family. They’d taken all the warnings about skin cancer to heart and had their child rapped up against it. The child’s first couple of years she spent a great deal of time in hospital as a sick and poorly child.

      Finally someone checked for VitD and announced that the child needed sunlight.

      BAM, within days she was happy, healthy and as energetic as a two year old child should be.

      Sure, be careful in the sun but people, especially children, do need to be in the sun.

  6. Rickets is osteomalacia in childhood and where there’s rickets there’s also likely to be adult osteomalacia (AO)

    AO’s obvious symptoms are generalised bone pain and muscle weakness – often misdiagnosed as polymyalgia or fibromyalgia and treated with steroids or NSAIDs. It’s less obvious effects are weakening of the bone and as a result (exacerbated by muscle weakness and obesity) a greatly increased risk of fracture/dislocation.

    The cause of rickets/AO is primarily a deficiency of Vit D – more of a hormone than a vitamin – which is synthesised by the skin and metabolised (enzymatically) in the liver and kidneys.

    It aids the absorption of calcium, phosphate, magnesium and zinc – making it essential for bone AND muscle health AND a healthy immune system.

    Concerns about skin cancer (cover up/sunscreen etc) plus a more indoor (and sedentary) life style plus diets low in essential nutrients mean people may be at risk of Vit D deficiency and an increased likelihood of rickets/adult osteomalacia.

    There are also the effects of general stress on the metabolic organs and GI tract that may reduce the body’s ability to absorb/metabolise nutrients.

    Rickets and rheumatic fever are diseases that hit poor people more often and harder. There is NO excuse in a rich, agricultural country like NZ for kids to suffer either – or for the host of chronic and acute health issues that affect their parents and reduce both quality of life and life expectancy.

    The best solution is: exposure to the sun (taking due account of skin cancer) + a varied diet that is rich in essential nutrients, low in empty calories & free of toxins + lots of weight bearing exercise + supplementation for those identified as being at high risk.

    The re-emergence of rickets is fast forward to the past – and it’s a National disgrace.

    • JanM 6.1

      Yes, we’re on shaky ground attributing rickets to diet, though it does play a part. I think it also has to do with our over-enthusiastic application of sunscreen – I’ve even watched teachers put it onto African children who already struggle to absorb enough Vitamin D in this climate – We need a rethink on this subject.
      Which is not to take away from the main argument of family poverty and the disgraceful, cynical and immoral behaViour of this government

      • TheContrarian 6.1.1

        Not to mention the amount of time people spend inside on gaming consoles or the internet

      • mpledger 6.1.2

        It only takes a few minutes of sun exposure to get enough vitamin D. The only problem is that IIRC it gets excreted rather quickly so it has to be replenished daily.

        Teachers don’t put sunscreen on kids outside of the summer months and probably not as a general routine because it’s way too expensive.

  7. plumington 7

    When in Australia I could purchase milk a 3 litre bottle for 3$ = 1$ per litre
    NZ being one of the biggest producer of dairy products why can’t we match this?
    Thanks progressive and food stuffs oh and fonterra for ripping us off

    • b waghorn 7.1

      The only problem with that is the bastard super markets are screwing the farmers in oz whereas our super markets are screwing the customers.

    • Old Mickey 7.2

      Juts to be clear – NZ produces less than 3% of all dairy products globally, however, NZ accounts for near 40% of dairy that is traded globally.

      • northshoredoc 7.2.1

        Quite true OM, if was quite surprised when visiting India and having them tell me that they were the largest diary producers in the world… although I suppose that shouldn’t have come as a surprise at all.

        • dukeofurl 7.2.1.1

          India has the worlds largest beef herd as well. Yet roughly 30% of the population are fairly serious vegetarians.

          I see that pork is catching on in Israel too !

      • tc 7.2.2

        And ‘city milk’ as it was called at bonland in Oz is what you drink and goes into other products like yoghurt, cheese. This is a small % of the total production, it’s mostly turned into powder and by products.

        Supermarkets and Fonterra take every opportunity to max returns at customers and suppliers expense.

        One of the darkest arts at Fonterra is how much farmers get /kg milk solids as there’s plenty of waste and largesse that needs to be recovered first.

        • Old Mickey 7.2.2.1

          It is a very dark art – explained quite simply to to the simple farming folk….
          “We take your milk and turn into into stuff, and then sell it. What we pay you is whats left at the end of the year once we have paid for everything else – that is, what we pay you is the price of milk as a raw ingredient for the factories.” Except of course for those farmers who are more risk adverse and take the fixed payout. And, lets not forget the premium paid to those farmers that sit near Westland, Tatua, OCC etc.

    • Apparently the Aussie supermarkets use milk as a loss leader, whereas NZ supermarkets don’t (according to urban legend, NZ supermarkets use alcohol as a loss leader – I wish that were true). It’s not so much that they’re ripping us off as that the Aussies are selling at a loss.

      • Colonial Rawshark 7.3.1

        No probs, let’s just make transparent and public the buy price and sell price the big supermarkets apply to their milk.

        • northshoredoc 7.3.1.1

          That’s probably a good idea and no reason why the large dairy companies wouldn’t tell us, it’s probably very much an open secret anyway.

          • Colonial Rawshark 7.3.1.1.1

            Indeed, plenty of people around the industry would know. One other thing I have suspicions about are the existence of any other fees and payments between food suppliers and the big supermarkets eg. where a dairy company might pay the supermarket a separate ‘marketing fee’ for displaying its product more prominently in the refrigerator compared to a competitor’s no brand product, etc.

            • northshoredoc 7.3.1.1.1.1

              I don’t think you need to be suspicious about that, from my understanding that definitely goes on.

              By all accounts supermarkets are one of the most avaricious and scientifically run (from the terms of how to get the maximum return) retailers out there, the fact that we essentially operate a duopoly in NZ doesn’t particularly help the purchasing consumer a great deal.

            • dukeofurl 7.3.1.1.1.2

              MY little corner dairy has milk prices that mostly beat the the Pak N Save-
              how can that be?

              the same way that the alcohol suppliers have large upfront payments to bars- and its built into the price, retail white milk is done the same way.

              Would be interesting to see the price of whole milk powder say 18 months ago and now.

              After all its merely dried milk. While it doesnt require refrigeration after processing,
              ‘ retail milk’ is an artificial concept with some stuff from other dairy production

    • Tracey 7.4

      they have an economy of scale factor too?

  8. Old Mickey 8

    Sorry, another own goal for labour:

    As milk prices have fallen 4% in the last year, why are labour claiming the price is increasing?
    As milk prices have increased just 1.3% a year since 2008, what is the problem labour are claiming needs fixing?
    As milk is currently cheaper than Coke, why are labour claiming it isn’t?

    • Colonial Rawshark 8.1

      As milk is currently cheaper than Coke, why are labour claiming it isn’t

      Did you fabricate this claim? Link to Labour statement or quote please.

      • Old Mickey 8.1.1

        Mr Shearer said somebody was “creaming it” from the high prices and it wasn’t the farmers, who got just 38c a litre last year, down from 73c a year earlier. “It seems perverse that Coca Cola is now more affordable than fresh milk.”

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11473094

        • Colonial Rawshark 8.1.1.1

          Ahhhh cheers. I’d say that the price of Coke is the same as milk nowadays. (But the price of Coke has been climbing strongly, like everything else in the supermarket).

          • Tracey 8.1.1.1.1

            not before christmas… it’s frightening how cheap they make bulk buying of fizzy before Christmas…

        • Tracey 8.1.1.2

          a litre of milk and a litre of coke was compared on tv the other day. The milk was more expensive OM BUT I can’t recall what, if any brands, they used;

        • tc 8.1.1.3

          Coke is 99% water and the rest that mysterious ‘syrup’ supplied from afar.

          It’s always been a cheaper product which is inflated by image/marketing/margin especially the amount of advertising coke pushes.

          Shearer’s an idiot he should’ve compared it to a nutritional foodstuff not coloured sugar coffee water.

    • Hateatea 8.2

      Really? Coke is almost always available more cheaply than milk if you buy on special. Milk is very seldom found on special in a supermarket where I live.

      We buy 4 litres for $5.50 at our local store, much cheaper than even the ‘own brand’ at any of the local supermarkets.

      • Lanthanide 8.2.1

        I only ever buy the store-brand milk, since it is identical to the branded milk. It is never on special.

        • b waghorn 8.2.1.1

          I can’t get my head around the thinking of anyone who pays up to $1 more for milk because its in a pretty anchor bottle!! Odd buggers us humans are.

    • DoublePlusGood 8.3

      FYI, from Countdown’s online website, Homebrand is slightly cheaper per litre for 2L and 3L than Coke 2L, all other milk brands on there are more expensive than Coke.

      • Colonial Rawshark 8.3.1

        It’s a Coke 2.25L so it’s about 1.1x the volume of a 2L milk.

        • DoublePlusGood 8.3.1.1

          True. I was using by litre and by 100 mL prices for comparison though, to avoid an error in the package size!

  9. James 9

    “Shearer said Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy had some explaining to do, as it was “all looking a bit too cosy”.

    It was “perverse” that Coca-Cola was more affordable than fresh milk, at a time when child obesity and diabetes were causing major problems in the health system, he said.”

    From stuff.co.nz

    So – no not fabricated claim by Old Mickey – but by Shearer.

    • Tracey 9.1

      Mind you an expert also poo-pooed the comparison with the UK and Australia by pointing out we pay much lower personal income tax than those countries not the Guy or Key used that in their defences….

      “Jacqueline Rowarth, a professor of agribusiness at Waikato University, said the party’s claim about retail milk prices overseas was unfair because it failed to take into account other taxes consumers pay in those countries.
      “We pay overall a very low tax rate on our personal income in comparison with most other countries and we don’t subsidise our farmers but we do pay GST on fresh food, whereas Europe pays a value-added tax and it’s only on processed food.””

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/277414/inflated-milk-price-claim-rejected

  10. Hateatea 10

    I believe that rickets was one of the reasons for children growing up in post war New Zealand being fed malt and cod liver oil or halibut liver oil capsules. We also had milk in schools then.

    At the moment, the school where my whangai attends has milk, supplied by Fonterra daily. It seems sad to think that child health is regressing in this country of plenty but then when gst soaks up 15% of your food budget, there is got to be hard decisions made about which foods are the priority. For many families, fruit and dairy are becoming luxury items, not necessities.

  11. Old Mickey 11

    Where is John Campbell when we need him ?

  12. Vit D from fortified milk is not the only or the best answer. It’s put it in milk is because milk is a good (and used to be cheap) source of dietary calcium.

    There’s a reason there was a health movement in the 1920s and 30s which focussed on fresh air, sunshine and exercise for young people. It’s co-option by fascists doesn’t take away from the fact that – Vit D (which is actually more like a hormone) is an essential element in the absorption and metabolism of several key elements involved in bone AND muscle health AND immune function.

    The best way to ensure adequate Vit D synthesis is through daily exposure to the sun.

    Then you need the dietary calcium, phosphate, magnesium and zinc that the Vit D helps metabolise in the liver and kidneys to build and maintain strong bone, ensure healthy neuromuscular function and a strong immune system.

    For all this synthesis and absorption to be efficient and optimal, you need healthy metabolic organs – skin, liver and kidneys.

    It’s a holistic thing.

  13. TheContrarian 13

    According to the data this study took place between July 2010 to June 2013 inclusive.

    So linking this to current milk prices is bullshit. This whole article is rubbish

    • Sable 13.1

      My what a well structured, reasonable argument you make….LOL….

      • TheContrarian 13.1.1

        It’s in the press release from the Universityof Otago, numbnuts:

        “Every month, over the period July 2010 to June 2013 inclusive, the researchers asked around 220 New Zealand paediatricians (92 per cent of the current workforce) if they had treated any cases of Vitamin D deficiency rickets in the previous month.”

        http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE1506/S00166/nz-children-still-suffer-rickets-from-lack-of-vitamin-d.htm

        It also says:
        “Dr Wheeler says that there has been mounting concern worldwide that the number of children suffering from Vitamin D deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency rickets is increasing.”

        So yeah – linking this to current NZ Milk prices is bullshit.

        • Sable 13.1.1.1

          That article hardly lets your little pals National off the hook does is sparky….nice try though…..

          • TheContrarian 13.1.1.1.1

            A) I vote green – I don’t know where you get this ” your little pals National” from.
            B) It’s not an “article” – its a press release from the people who actually did the study
            C) It has nothing to do with “letting National off”
            D) It shows this this article on The Standard draws a incorrect conclusion based on a flawed reading of the study itself which:

            1) doesn’t mention calcium 2) Points to a worldwide trend and 3) is from a period ending two years ago

            That should clear everything up.

            • Sable 13.1.1.1.1.1

              You are cherry picking facts. Nothing you said “disproves” anything. Indeed it raises even more concerns.

              • TheContrarian

                Ummm it’s not cherry picking because if you read the study it explicitly 1) doesn’t mention calcium 2) Points to a worldwide trend and 3) is from a period ending two years ago.

                That isn’t “cherry picking” – that’s the actual study you idiot.

                • Sable

                  Proving what? What makes YOU think things are not actually worse when you place it in a context of increasing global poverty, global warming and trends towards upward food prices and associated shortages. If anything its a rational assumption things have gotten worse since 2013. When you consider the low cost too of producing milk in this country we have less excuses than most for this problem (cost about the same as India). Try thinking outside your box for once….

                  • TheContrarian

                    “Proving what?”

                    Proving the price of milk in NZ “TODAY” has nothing to do with a study that ended 2 years ago which was consistent with a global trend.

                    Seriously dude, this shouldn’t be too hard

                • TheContrarian

                  “Nothing you said “disproves” anything.”

                  So your saying that price of milk in NZ over 2014 – 2015 is the cause of of a global trend in rickets between 2010 – 2013?

                  That’s amazing

                • weka

                  Can you please confirm if dietary calcium is necessary alongside vit D to prevent rickets? Or is vit D on its own enough? i.e. low dietary calcium is not a factor in rickets.

                  • Yes it is – see my comments above. To build and maintain healthy bone you need to be able to metabolise dietary calcium + other bone building minerals and Vit D is necessary to that metabolic process.

                    Vit D is also involved in neuromuscular function and healthy strong muscles are essential to bone health in ways that are often under-estimated.

                    For example – the building and maintenance of strong bones depends on weight bearing exercise; if muscles are weak / dysfunctional, a person feels less inclined or is unable to exercise. Weak muscle systems can lead to joint injury and to bone irritation from stresses on the periosteum at tendon and ligament attachment points – pain which makes people feel less inclined to exercise.

                    The causes and effects of bone problems are complex but the answer is very simple : natural synthesis of Vit D plus dietary and artificial supplements where needed + varied healthy diet with optimal levels of all essential bone building nutrients + weight bearing exercise.

                    • weka

                      Thanks, that what I thought.

                      So the lack of mention of calcium in the vit D research doesn’t mean low calcium isn’t an issue.

                    • TheContrarian

                      The researcher himself was just on the news – nothing to do with milk or lack thereof. Risk factors were identified in those with darker skin and those in the south.

                      This whole thing is stupid and obviously has nothing to do with the milk price.

    • Heather Grimwood 13.2

      sorry Contrarian…you seem to be blinkered about/ignoring the necessity for calcium intake ( milk being the most available/suitable source) for the Vitamin D to be utilized. The original piece had all this stated quite clearly.

      • TheContrarian 13.2.1

        You seem to be ignoring that the actual researchers attribute this current trend to sunlight as well as these three points regarding the study:

        1) doesn’t mention calcium 2) Points to a worldwide trend and 3) is from a period ending two years ago

        • Sable 13.2.1.1

          I could say poverty and unemployment is caused by brain chemicals and bad breath applying that argument….LOL…

      • Sable 13.2.2

        Yeah a total pendant Heather. I saw this kind of nonsense from some academics when I wrote my thesis. If it was NOT quantifiable it didn’t exist. Totally incapable of flexible thinking.

        • TheContrarian 13.2.2.1

          saying that price of milk in NZ over 2014 – 2015 is the cause of of a global trend in rickets between 2010 – 2013 isn’t pedantry you fucking idiot.

          • Sable 13.2.2.1.1

            Whatever, small wonder National have done so well if you are anything to go by…

            • TheContrarian 13.2.2.1.1.1

              Well this has been a waste of time. I’m calling bullshit on you writing a thesis if you seriously think it is good practice to tie milk prices in NZ of today to a global trend in rickets from a study which begun 5 years ago and ended 2 years ago.

              You’re an idiot.

    • half crown 13.3

      “According to the data this study took place between July 2010 to June 2013 inclusive.

      So linking this to current milk prices is bullshit. This whole article is rubbish”

      Agree, but could it be the high cost of milk THEN that has contributed towards the increase of rickets in NZ. These things do take a while to manifest themselves.

  14. Shona 14

    Dairy and other staple foods such as bread DO NOT have GST on them in Aussie. This is the difference. No loss leader campaign etc etc. It is that simple. Cheese is cheaper so is yoghurt. The Democrats would not allow the GST legislation to pass without this proviso. When you have an upper house you have a more robust democracy,

    • Sable 14.1

      Even little right wing toad John Howard had more scruples than this Dickensian bunch when he introduced GST in Australia.

    • Kiwiri 14.2

      Alternatively, if there are strong voices and critical numbers from other progressive parties in our House, e.g. Greens or Hone, Laila and Annette (Sykes).

  15. Sable 15

    History repeating itself. Its a disgrace what this mob have done to this country and its only going to get worse…..

  16. Charles 16

    Yes just to add to above comments that this in no way refutes the issues of poverty, or is advice to people in poverty “to just do more”: The issue is government neglect, not neglected people not doing enough. It is more for people who feel the inescapable present pinch, and who can do something to make sure their diets don’t suffer:

    Kale, Silverbeet and spinach contain a great deal of calcium, as well as other vitamins – more than milk – but you can’t put it in your coffee. Spinach does have some calcium absorbsion inhibiting aspects, so kale/silverbeet may be a better option. Grow in a bucket with drainage holes (literally drop three seeds on top of a bucket of soil), in sun or shade, walkway or back steps, take leaves off as you need, allowing the plant to quickly re-grow. It grows all year round and is robust, much like a weed. Total cost would be around $15 for a whole year supply or more, less if you have a free bucket/s, soil or seeds. I recommend mashing it into potato for a colcannon type dish.

    • Sable 16.1

      Or maybe Shonkey and his pals could launch their own cookbook. Call it “The Ragged Chef”. Maybe advice on dumpster diving, converting restaurants scraps into a delicious meal. Maybe boil up some nice gorse soup (its free and plentiful and would cut down on spraying) or perhaps some do it yourself newspaper cornflakes….

    • Heather Grimwood 16.2

      Fantastic for adults Charles…I do this myself, but children have problems commonly with those particular greens, and therefore need lots of milk. Please realise this is not in criticism as we adults need our calcium too.

  17. Brendon Harre 17

    I think Labour is beginning to hit its straps and exposing the Tory nonsense for what it is. Tories will naturally protect the big end of town. Katherine Rich and John Key naturally defended the big players exploiting the little guys. That is what Tories do.

    It is up to Labour to stand up for the little guys. More and more I see evidence of this happening. With David Shearer on this recent affordable milk campaign. Phil Twyford on affordable housing. Andrew Little on the nonsense of selling State Housing off to the Aussies. Grant Robertson calling John Key the PM for Parnell.

    A team is forming and about time too. I for one am sick of sick of this current Tory government.

  18. TheContrarian 18

    Re: Update – you forgot to add that the dates of the study was between 2010 – 2013 so nothing to do with rates milk has increased in the last year

  19. infused 19

    So this is what, your 3rd article in the last two days that completely misses the boat?

    gg

    Keep up the good work.

    [Attacking an author is never a good idea, Infused. Take a week off. TRP]

    • McFlock 19.1

      Even if it were the “3rd article in the last two days that completely misses the boat”, (rather than the first I can recall seeing from R0b that over-eggs it a bit), he’d still be a fuckload more reliable than you.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 20.1

      Yes, that’s how it will play out in the media too. Oh no wait, on Earth, they’ll say: “Centre-right callous ghoulish fuckwits allow rickets to be a thing on their watch”.

      Sorry about that: it’s your media, after all. Tosser.

  20. TheContrarian 21

    The researcher himself was just on the news – nothing to do with milk or lack thereof. Risk factors were identified in those with darker skin and those in the south.

    This whole thing is stupid and obviously has nothing to do with the milk price.

  21. Jay 22

    On the one hand we hate the dairy industry, yet on the other hand we want cheaper milk. In fact, milk should be free in school.

    Furthermore, lack of milk is causing rickets, or is that lack of sunlight? All helped along by excess fizzy drink that poor people aren’t educated enough not to buy.

    Whichever way you look at it though, it’s quite simply a national disgrace.

  22. Shawn 23

    Poverty in New Zealand is declining thanks to National, while for it’s 9 years in power Labour made no dent at all, largely because it just threw money at the problem.

    With the latest budget, and more welfare and public service reforms on the way, poverty will decline even further.

    What will the Left have to whine about then?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 23.1

      The OECD disagrees with you. Unemployment is twice what it was during Lab5. Child poverty is nearly twice what it was in the ’80s.

      Far from whining, I’m simply observing that you are profoundly ignorant of this topic, not to mention running your mouth like a twelve-year-old tr*ll.

    • There’s a big difference between “number of people on benefits is declining thanks to National” and “poverty is declining thanks to National.” And even then, the number on benefits is only declining back towards what it was under Labour.

      • NZJester 23.2.1

        “And even then, the number on benefits is only declining back towards what it was under Labour.”
        But then a lot of those people going off the benefit are going into lower per hour paying jobs in relation to inflation than the ones available under Labour. A lot of those low paying jobs are also for the minimum number of hours to be considered full time so not be entitled to be on a top up benefit.
        The numbers of people working poor are increasing as people are loosing good paying jobs and being forced to take lower paid jobs.

  23. NZJester 24

    Don’t look at those reports about “Diseases of Poverty” making a comeback in New Zealand.
    [Waves a bunch of flags] Look at all these lovely flags we want you pick from and vote for your favorite.

    What do you meant the money spent on this referendum could have been better spent solving those poverty problems. Nonsense we need a strong national pride in Westpac Land (Formally New Zealand). The new Westpac W we are putting in the top left corner of the new flag you pick will show our national pride to the world!
    We want all the people of Sky City Island (Formally the North Island), Fonterra Island (Formally the South Island), Fletcher Buildings Island (Formally Stewart Island) and Chatham Island (Naming rights still available for National Party donations) to look to the future of our country by ignoring the past and picking the new flag.
    Tell you what as a cost cutting measure to appease you we will just forget about that second referendum then and just adopt the flag that you pick from the list of the ones approved by our sponsors.

  24. Old Mickey 25

    The price of fresh milk is the lowest it’s been since August 2013…..

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11480069

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