Food Police State fails to eventuate

Written By: - Date published: 12:18 pm, June 4th, 2008 - 86 comments
Categories: education, health - Tags:

Remember the tories and the Kiwiblog Right getting all flustered about the ‘Food Police’, when guidelines were announced to control junk food in school tuck shops? Remember how this was the Nanny State at its most perverse and surely one step from us all being fed a daily ration of Soylent Green?

Well, now the guidelines are in place. Our state schools and on-site businesses are no longer making a profit off feeding junk to our kids. Contrary to all the howling and gnashing of tory teeth, the world hasn’t ended. The jackbooted Food Police haven’t been raiding schools. Somehow, it seems to be OK. In fact, a report today shows that, while obesity levels have plateaued they are still very high, bringing with them an enormous cost in quality of life, lost productivity, and extra health expenditure. So, it seems very wise that the government is tackling this issue at the beginning, by ensuring that our kids have healthy food options at school and aren’t encouraged into bad eating habits that will have dangerous and costly ramifications later in life.

Hmm, a wise use of moderate government regulation to help nip a problem in the bud. But don’t expect to hear the tories praising it any time soon. No, they’re too busy looking for the next issue over which to whip up an empty hysteria.

86 comments on “Food Police State fails to eventuate”

  1. Julie 1

    It’s a petty point, but it annoys me that Farrar seems to be unaware that NAG is an acronym that has been used throughout the school system for years and years now, and doesn’t just apply to the new food rules. Those working in education often refer to a litany of acronyms, NAGs and DOPs and BOTs and BTs and so on. NAGs haven’t just been invented in the last week, but reading Kiwiblog you’d think they had just been fresh hatched.

  2. mike 2

    Good old nanny state is still allowing kids to have an evil pie once a term though.

  3. higherstandard 3

    Yes Clinton

    I’m sure all the dairys near highschools are postively delerious.

    If you really believe this will have any noticeable effect on obesity levels in NZ you are delusional. Incentivise and encourage kids to exercise far more effective than taking pies out of the school tuckshop.

  4. Julie. That’s because Farrar is a dog-whistler and nothing more. He’s not interested in intellectual honesty.

    HS. Maybe so, but the point is at least the State is no longer selling obesity causing foods to kids. I’m sure you’ve seen the health consequences of people being brought up on poor diets plenty of times.

    Will this solve the problem, obviously not. Is it better than being part of the problem, obviously it is.

  5. Yes Clinton

    I’m sure all the dairys near highschools are postively delerious.

    HS – Steve put his real name in the public sphere of his own accord and said he would continue to write under his nom de plume. I want to know why you have chosen to refer him as “Clint” rather than respect his desire to be addressed by his pen-name.

    I’ve seen this sh*t before and I know it’s a favoured tactic of the kiwiblog right but you should realise it makes you come off as a smug bully (especially as you are unwilling to provide *your* real name). I thought you were better than that but between this and some of your more recent comments I’m starting to think you’re just another useless scumbag rightie.

  6. slightlyrighty 6

    Poor food choices will always be out there and in some cases just outside the school gates. It would be a more responsible move to teach kids how to eat in a healthy manner than force kids to eat in such a way.

    It would make more sense to focus on balance in life that restrictions.

    Yes kids are getting fat, but when primary schools ban kids from bringing a ball to school in case they engage in “competitive sport” (St Bernadettes school in Johnsonville) you have to ask is the problem more than just the wrong sort of food, or is it the wrong sort of lifestyle?

  7. Yeah it’s all a storm in a Mc Sundae really. It would be very hypocritical for the government to run campaigns on obesity while allowing state schools to sell unhealthy food.

  8. r0b 8

    Incentivise and encourage kids to exercise far more effective than taking pies out of the school tuckshop.

    Are you sure about that HS? The American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine aren’t so sure:,,2198879,00.html

    (PS – I second ‘Sod on the name thing)

  9. higherstandard 9

    Sod and rOb

    Clinton has come out on this blog if he wants me to call him Steve that’s fine.

    And rOb Yes I am sure that incentivising and encouraging exercise in the young is far more effective than attempting to control their diets.

    And sOD please control yourself I’m sure your computer could do without all the spittle on it

  10. Byron 10

    I know we’re only a few comments into this thread but surely New Zealands low wages (not to mention the awful child poverty rates) are the elephant in the living room here? yes kids will go to the dairy, and when they do its a lot cheaper to get a pie than it is to get a sandwich, and a pie is much more filling.

    I don’t think we’ll see much change in obesity until wages rise to meet the cost of healthy* living, which of course has gone up considerably this year, srapping GST would be a damn good idea as well.

    *healthy is a problematic term, but thats a whole other discussion

  11. r0b 11

    If you really believe this will have any noticeable effect on obesity levels in NZ you are delusional. Incentivise and encourage kids to exercise far more effective than taking pies out of the school tuckshop.

    Ok HS, it’s nice that you’re so sure. But do take the time to actually read this article:,,2198879,00.html
    Because the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine are not as sure as you:

    Just last month, the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine published joint guidelines for physical activity and health. … What they didn’t say, though, was that more physical activity will lead us to lose weight. The best they could say about the relationship between fat and exercise was this: ‘It is reasonable to assume that persons with relatively high daily energy expenditures would be less likely to gain weight over time compared with those who have low energy expenditures. So far, data to support this hypothesis is not particularly compelling.’

    And the best review of the best studies is not so sure either:

    Yet the Finnish report, the most scientifically rigorous review of the evidence to date, can hardly be said to have cleared the matter up. When the Finnish investigators looked at the results of the dozen best-constructed experimental trials that addressed weight maintenance – that is, successful dieters who were trying to keep off the pounds they had shed – they found that everyone regains weight. … As the Finns themselves concluded, the relationship between exercise and weight is ‘more complex’ than they might otherwise have imagined.

  12. r0b 12

    Ahh – and Byron has hit the nail on the head re wages and healthy living (if not GST).

  13. polaris 13

    “empty hysteria” – see

  14. higherstandard 14


    I haven’t the time to go into a lengthy lesson regarding metabolism and the beneficial effects of exercise on weight and cardiovascular risk factors.

    Physical activity won’t necessarily make one loose weight it will however in many and in those that don’t loose weight there will be a shift towards less adipose tissue and more muscle. There will also be measurable effects on hyperinsulinaemia and repiratory function overtime.

    Suffice to say that looking at weight and BMI in isolation is a very blunt instrument and Yes I still stick to my position of encouraging/incentivising kids to exercise as being far more effective than playing games with school tuckshops.

    And no Byron hasn’t hit the nail on the head there are demonstrably more fatties amongst the worlds wealthy

  15. r0b 15

    Yes I still stick to my position of encouraging/incentivising kids to exercise as being far more effective than playing games with school tuckshops.

    Of course exercise has multiple benefits, that is not in dispute. But the relationship with obesity (your original claim) is by no means simple. Once again do please read that article properly at some point. It is an accessible review of the history of the science / evidence relating to exercise and weight.

    there are demonstrably more fatties amongst the worlds wealthy

    Yes and no. At the extremes those suffering from genuine malnutrition are of course not fat. But in “rich” countries obesity is largely a condition of the (relatively) poor, who consume food that is cheaper but unhealthy (“energy dense”). This is basic stuff HS, you can find any amount of evidence, here’s one at random:

    Many health disparities in the United States are linked to inequalities in education and income. This review focuses on the relation between obesity and diet quality, dietary energy density, and energy costs. Evidence is provided to support the following points. First, the highest rates of obesity occur among population groups with the highest poverty rates and the least education.

    There is no question that the rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the United States follow a socioeconomic gradient, such that the burden of disease falls disproportionately on people with limited resources, racial-ethnic minorities, and the poor.

  16. Byron 16


    True (I assume) but on this issue you can’t really look at it in a global context, most of the worlds poor would live off rice and other subsistance crops, but the poor in New Zealand are not living of subsistance farming, so their diet is very different. Poverty in New Zealand doesn’t mean a whole family working on the rice crop, it means an overworked and underpaid cleaner giving his or her children a few coins to buy lunch, do the kids get the $1.50 pie, which is filling but probably more fat than meat, or do they spend $2.70 on the vege sandwich which will hardly keep you satisfied for long.

    (those prices are probably out of date- they were the tuck shop prices when I was in school)

  17. Emma 17

    I don’t know what it’s like for kids these days. But for me the tuckshop was less of a problem than all of the panicked adults trying to get me to “diet” and “exercise”. Diet in those days meant starvation and exercise meant obsession without any shred of enjoyment. And personally both of those things have caused me more trouble than the miniscule amount of pies I ate at school. Not to mention the mental health results of a culture obsessed with how my body looked rather than any other measurement of success or health. Fatness is about so much more than pies. Byron makes good points. And the fact that there are fat people everywhere should say something about causality, I think.

    I hope you have a nice big girth going on higherstandard because otherwise you are using fatties pejoratively, and is that really cool?

  18. insider 18

    The exercise weight thing is an energy input issue. The more you exercise the more you want to eat. Part of the management of this is learning to manage your energy input and training your body, ie don?t eat more while exercising. Can be hard but if you are eating the same and exercising more, weight should reduce. Exercise more and eat more, well it may or may not reduce depending on proportional changes.

  19. Higherstandard 19


    If you’ve taken offence at the term fatties I apologise

    For both you and Byron obesity is generally caused by one or more of the following

    The genes you inherited from your parents
    How well your body turns food into energy
    Your eating and exercising habits
    Your surroundings
    Psychological factors

    Some of the posters here would have you believe that obesity is caused by one’s socieoeconomic status I would disagree and say that just because there may be more obese persons in one socieoeconoimc group than another does not mean that poverty causes or contributes to obesity.

  20. Stephen 20

    Sorry lprent it just means I would like to have deleted my post, but that function doesn’t exist. So a period (sort of less invasive).

    [lprent:Good point. Adds another function to the wishlist, and sings “If I only had time”. Ok – if I see a single dot comment, I’ll nuke it]

  21. Emma 21


    I’m pretty ofay with the multitudinous causes of fatness and I happen to agree with you on all counts. Which is why I don’t think there’s one solution to The Great Big Scary Obesity Epidemic. And it’s also why I think that “calories in/ calories out” and “healthy eating” are a waste of time for most people. It’s far more complex than that. And healty eating is basically often an exercise in who is holier than thou.

    What I do think is that those psychological factors you mentioned as well as environment and food play a big role in the fatness of those at a lower socio-economic level. I think poverty causes poor quality of life, which ever way you cut it. And whether that leads to fatness I can’t say. But I do think that the fact that there are a lot of fat, poor people is something that warrants further investigation, instead of dismissal on the basis of lack of meaning.

  22. r0b 22

    that just because there may be more obese persons in one socieoeconoimc group than another does not mean that poverty causes or contributes to obesity.

    HS, you scare me sometimes. You presumably couldn’t do your job if you were stupid, so when you say stupid things (such as the above) it can only be as a result of truly profound ideological blindness.

    For heaven’s sake do some reading on the links between socioeconomic status and obesity. I got you started above, here’s more:

    Many health disparities in the United States are linked to inequalities in education and income. This review focuses on the relation between obesity and diet quality, dietary energy density, and energy costs. Evidence is provided to support the following points. First, the highest rates of obesity occur among population groups with the highest poverty rates and the least education.

    Although the problem of unhealthy overweight has much to do with how we live as individuals, it seems profoundly determined by how we live as a society. … A review published in the January 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition provides an important analysis of poverty and obesity and supports the notion that addressing obesity more effectively requires confronting it as a societal and public health problem. … They review a substantial body of literature showing that low income and low education levels are associated with obesity in the United States; this is especially the case for women.

    A recent published in the journal BMC Public Health study highlights the profound impact that poverty can have on obesity rates. The study examined 2,200 children in Canada between the years of 1994 and 2002. The bottom line: kids in the poorest neighborhoods gained more weight in this eight-year period than middle-income children.

    And in New Zealand:

    Poverty increases risk of obesity-related illness

    Thursday, 1 November 2007, 12:51 pm
    Press Release: Public Health Association
    People with lower incomes face increased risk of obesity-related illness and death

    Two health reports released today highlight the increased risk of obesity-related illness and death faced by people with lower incomes, says Public Health Association Director Dr Gay Keating.

    The reports are Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer, from the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research; and An Indication of New Zealanders’ Health 2007, from the Ministry of Health.

    Just how much proof of the bleeding obvious do you need HS?

  23. vto 23

    Haven’t read any posts above, but will give credit where due for this.

    But it also highlights the classic area of concern for someone of my particular type of politic lean-to’s. Namely, the growing influence of government at the expense of local communities.

    Its a big subject but areas where govt has picked up the reins, and consequently more local and personal entities have dropped the reins include this particular matter, family support (dpb, wff, etc), health and fitness, it goes on.. Even the responsibility for actually raising a family is seen by many as having been weakened by govt intervention thru the anti-smacking law.

    In my opinion more of the responsibility should rest with the local community and families and people themselves. It is what makes communities strong. This change in responsibility is at the heart of much community fracture today – the strands holding the community together are broken and taped back together by larger more remote entities (govt). It makes for weaker communities and that is why, despite this being a good thing for kids health it is something that we should not be relying on govt to do but should do ourselves.

    Unfortunately I suspect I am tilting at windmills because the trend for the devolving of responsibility from families and local communities to larger central govt has been going on for a long time now and I do not see it changing for a while yet. Big topic, which this thread touches on, and my 2c has been scribbled down pretty quickly so is a scratchily written but strongly held view.

  24. vto 24

    Hi there rOb, just read your last post briefly. An area I have also pondered long and hard on. Those reports etc that you mention all say that basically if you’re poor then there is a greater chance that you’ll have poor health. With the assumption that if those people are made richer then their health will improve.

    I struggle with this proposition because from my too many years on the planet what I see is not that poverty leads to poor health but rather the same attitudes and approaches to life that lead to poverty are also the attitudes and approaches that lead to poor health etc. Or, the same attitudes and approaches to life that lead to poor health also lead to poverty.

    In other words – the wrong approach to life in general leads to all manner of ills, including poverty, obesity, crime, etc. You can give these types of people all the money in the world but unless there is a change in attitude then it is bound to fail.

    **authors note – please dont assume re other related issues to a post like this. Of course some have the circumstances thrust on them. Of course there should be a hand up. etc. etc.

    *** this also ties in with my post above re community responsibility for their wellbeing as opposed to looking to central govt on how to live properly.

  25. George 25

    It is far easier to develop good eating habits, or change bad eating habits whilst a child. It is far harder to change them into mid 30s, as I am now doing. Time spent on teaching children about good eating and good nutrition is time well spent. As I have spent the last couple of years changing my tastes and diet I can appreciate what the government is doing.

  26. r0b 26

    Hi there rOb,

    G’day vto.

    the same attitudes and approaches to life that lead to poor health also lead to poverty.

    Ahhh OK, so the poor have only their own inadequacies to blame for being unable to afford good quality food? That’s good old fashioned tory / puritan dogma!

    Those reports etc that you mention all say that basically if you’re poor then there is a greater chance that you’ll have poor health.

    Follow the links and read in a bit more detail vto. It’s about the quality of food and what it costs. Basically sweet fatty processed (“energy dense”) food is cheap, so that is what you eat if you have limited financial options.

    You can give these types of people…

    “These types of people”. The unworthy ones. The unworthy children too young to have made any choices. Lovely.

  27. mondograss 27

    VTO – At least now you have the ability to run for DHB and interact with the DHB to improve local health delivery programs through local politics. The faceless corporate CHE’s of the 90’s were impossible to engage with, except as a patient. The point of the DHB reforms does seem to be lost on most people though, with a truly dreadful level of apathy towards the elections etc. Given how much people are concerned about health issues in NZ, I’m amazed there’s not more involvement.

  28. vto 28

    oh rOb, I was hoping those cliches which are so easily attached to the type of post I made would not be thrown uselessly around. I am not going to get into abuse.

    Which comes first – the poverty or the poor health? the poor health or the low education? the low education or the poverty? the crime or the obesity? My opinion is that they all tie together in an ‘approach to life’. I tried to describe that in my post.

    I do not look down (or rather across actually) on people in that situation as you imply (disappointed rOb). I do not say it is all their own fault (more disappointment). Did you not see my wee **s at the bottom?

    You basically ignored my entire proposition and simply threw the silly ‘tory’ blah blah tag at me.

  29. r0b 29

    Fine vto, protest your innocence, I will take your word for it. But please realise that when you use expressions like “these types of people” you are practically begging to be typecast as a heartless Tory.

    The links I cited were establishing the connection between poverty and obesity. My point is that if we want to reduce obesity (and other forms of sickness as well) probably the most effective action is to decrease poverty. What was your point exactly?

  30. vto 30

    fair enough. Unfortunately I dont have a lot of time to word things correctly always, and realised it with that post but was flustered by other goings-on here in my cave.

    My point was – I dont agree that the connection between poverty and obesity is like that. If those reports say that the poverty and obesity are often found together, and nothing more, then fine. Because that’s quite obvious. (Similarly with ‘fat cats’ in reverse, he he.)

    But what it seems those reports often say is not just that poverty and obesity are found together but they go further and state that poverty causes obesity. This is where my point comes in – I do not believe that to be the case.

    I believe obesity is (now this is generalising so dont go assuming etc. Not talking about genetic and serious health probs etc) caused by an ‘attitude to life’ (lazy and eat too much to be ‘tory’ about the wording). Same with other issues that all seem to get hauled in such as crime and poverty. They all stem from a, how shall I say, um, less than ideal ‘attitude to life’.

    And of course that ‘attitude to life’ results in lower education, poorer health, bad approach to money, crime, etc. They dont all stem from a lack of money, they stem from that attitude.

    I still haven’t described it succinctly which is frustrating moi. Hopefully you get what I’m saying. I’m sure you do.

    As for the next issue – how to fix it, well no time at the mo’ but I do not believe that simply increasing incomes will do it.

  31. r0b 31

    vto – Children are growing up obese. Is it because of their “attitude to life” or because of the food their parents can afford to feed them? Are the children “to blame”?

  32. higherstandard 32


    The ideological blindness is yours not mine.

  33. r0b 33

    Ok HS, thanks for clearing that up so convincingly.

  34. higherstandard 34

    The ideological blindness is yours not mine.

    Children are growing up obese for a number of reasons poor nutrition is one of the factors as is lack of exercise as is thrifty genetics amongst Maori, PI and certain other groups.

    Your position seems to be that poverty is the problem well I can tell you you could throw the entire health budget at the issue for ten years and you’ll make slightly more than a dent I stand by my original comment which you seem to have taken issue with incentivising exercise will do more than mucking about in school tuckshops.

    And in terms of your last comment to VTO while there are some kids getting crap food due to financial issues there are even more significant numbers of lazy parents and children out there who love eating cak regardless of the price.

  35. higherstandard 35

    Sorry r0b

    I used the word ‘cr*p’ in my post it is in moderation.

    Why can’t we remove cr*p and poppyc*ck from the banned list ?

    [lprent: Because of the damn spam. Latest set is all about masturbation. It may be time to play around with some other spam killers on the weekend.]

  36. r0b 36

    A couple of my comments have been in moderation today, I don’t think it’s necessarily language related.

    But anyway, I have to go, so sadly I will not catch your no doubt well reasoned reply until much later…

  37. higherstandard 37

    Enjoy Michael Cullen I’ll leave this for you to chew on for when you get back in case the other post hasn’t made it past Lyn

    It is not more expensive to eat healthy food than unhealthy food, this is a convenient lie. It is more expensive to eat healthy food if you are lazy. One can go to the market and buy healthy vegetables, brown rice, fruits and lean meat to feed a family for less than it would cost to eat at McDonalds. Unfortunately, the healthy option takes planning, discipline and a willingness to expend energy to prepare the food. For many people, it is not worth the effort. People have the right to make that choice, blaming poverty for poor decisions is simplistic – think smoking !

    [lprent: Been at hospital seeing a friend who had a stroke a few weeks ago. Mental note – make sure I never have one. Let it through now. Did you use your favorite expletive again?]

  38. vto 38

    rOb you said “Children are growing up obese. Is it because of their “attitude to life’ or because of the food their parents can afford to feed them? Are the children “to blame’?” in reply to my post.

    You are going off on a side-issue and avoiding my proposition again.

    To answer your rather silly question – I would suggest it is the parents “attitude”. higherstandard puts it succinctly at 5.55pm.

    Why is it so hard for some to accept that often people are obese because of their attitude? What about rich fat people? How do they fit in these convenient theories and reports? You know sometimes people need to just grow up and take responsibility for their own lives. And if that last sentence is considered some ill-informed typical ‘tory’ attitude then we live on two vastly different planets.

  39. Anthony 39

    You guys are really struggling for meaningful ammo against the Nats aren’t you? This is really scraping the dregs out of the bottom of the barrel.

    Whatever happened to people taking personal responsibility for their actions?

    I guess when you’re supporting a party that punishes hard work and success, then its par for the course to expect to be told how to live your life too.

  40. ak 40

    vto: In other words – the wrong approach to life in general leads to all manner of ills…

    Well done: nice bit of argument and deduction, but if I may be so bold, despite your reasoned and polite insistence I really don’t think you’ve stumbled on to the Meaning of Life and the solution to all ills. Not yet anyway. Just a trite truism veets.

    Ever raised teenagers veets? Ever had close friend or relly with mental illness? Take it from me son, saying “grow up” or “pull yourself together” doesn’t work too well as a rule. Even a direct “change that attitude miss!” aint too effective veets.

    See I don’t think you’re dumb or nasty veets – but yep, sadly it is an ill-informed typical tory attitude. It’s what we dopey lefties who have done an “anti John Key” and stayed in this country and worked with the less fortunate (you know, us fools who were sucked in by propaganda from those idiots like Jesus, Mother Theresa, Ghandi etc) call “blaming the victim”. It doesn’t work veets: actually it usually makes things a lot worse.

    So yep, keep right on saying stuff like sometimes people need to just grow up and take responsibility for their own lives – I know it makes you feel better (and helps the tory vote)- but if you genuinely want to help (and develop personally) try to read and get about a bit more. Count your lucky stars for the accident of birth that gave you your own “good attitude” and trust the experts in the field when they tell you what works: rOb’s given you a few good pointers and links to start with.

  41. r0b 41

    Enjoy Michael Cullen

    I don’t do Wellington.

    It is not more expensive to eat healthy food than unhealthy food, this is a convenient lie.

    Is it indeed. You’d better tell the American Society for Clinical Nutrition:

    Many health disparities in the United States are linked to inequalities in education and income. This review focuses on the relation between obesity and diet quality, dietary energy density, and energy costs. Evidence is provided to support the following points. First, the highest rates of obesity occur among population groups with the highest poverty rates and the least education. Second, there is an inverse relation between energy density (MJ/kg) and energy cost ($/MJ), such that energy-dense foods composed of refined grains, added sugars, or fats may represent the lowest-cost option to the consumer . Third, the high energy density and palatability of sweets and fats are associated with higher energy intakes, at least in clinical and laboratory studies. Fourth, poverty and food insecurity are associated with lower food expenditures, low fruit and vegetable consumption, and lower-quality diets. A reduction in diet costs in linear programming models leads to high-fat, energy-dense diets that are similar in composition to those consumed by low-income groups. Such diets are more affordable than are prudent diets based on lean meats, fish, fresh vegetables, and fruit.

    The same holds true in NZ of course:

    [The Obesity Action Coalition Director Leigh Sturgiss] “Currently, it’s easier and often cheaper to buy high fat, high salt and high sugar foods, than healthy foods like fruit or vegetables. People should have access to healthy foods regardless of their income.”

    Some district health boards agree:

    “Hidden Hunger’ or food-poverty refers to the fact that people on lower incomes have inadequate access to healthy food as healthy food is more expensive than high-fat/sugar processed food.

    Otago University nutritionists calculate the cost of a basic healthy diet every year, see here for 2008 (pdf link). The cost of the most basic healthy diet option for a family of 4 (2 adolescents) is $231. That is far out of reach of many family budgets, so cheaper less healthy food gets substituted.

    And it’s not just about the raw cost of food, it’s about accessibility too:

    The research suggests people who live in low-income neighborhoods have greater access to fast food and less access to supermarkets where healthier food is available.
    “In urban settings, the environment does indeed influence physical activity and nutrition and body weight,” Kim Raine, the lead author and director of the University of Alberta’s Centre for Health Promotion Studies, said in an interview.
    “We consistently found that low-income neighborhoods do not have as much access to low-cost, healthy foods and have higher access to things like fast foods — high-calorie, high-fat foods at a relatively cheap price per calorie.”

    She [Public Health Association Director Dr Gay Keating] says studies show having a healthy diet is much harder when you are on a lower income because people cannot get appropriate and nutritious food on a regular and reliable basis.
    “For example, Maori, Pacific peoples and people on lower incomes are more likely to live in socially deprived areas where it is difficult to access healthy food. These areas also tend to have fewer quality supermarkets, and more fast food outlets.
    “Research clearly shows these groups struggle more than other groups to afford and access healthy kai. One fifth of children live in families where food runs out because of money.”

    It’s the same in England too. It’s a pretty consistent picture HS. Healthy food costs more. Poverty causes obesity and many other manifestations of poor health. Your continued denial of these fairly obvious facts is really disturbing.

  42. higherstandard 42


    You continue to selectively quote from journals like a first year med student would you like me to do the same thing from the citations you’ve given me.

    The association between poverty and obesity may be mediated by the low cost of energy-dense foods and may be reinforced by the high palatability of sugar and fat.

    More and more Americans are becoming overweight and obese while consuming more added sugars and fats and spending a lower percentage of their disposable income on food.

    Consumer food choices are driven by taste, cost, and convenience, and to a lesser extent by health and variety.

    Observational data on the costs of freely chosen diets are limited. The Consumer Expenditure Survey does not report quantities of foods purchased, whereas the CSFII does not collect data on the cost of the foods consumed. Neither database can provide information about diet quality in relation to diet costs. The USDA Food Stamp Survey does report food use and food price data but it is limited to food-assistance recipients. As yet, there are no data that would allow us to link all of the dietary and economic variables into a causal chain.

    Lyn sorry to hear about your friend that had the CVA I hope they’re recovering well.

  43. vto 43

    ak, you have completely missed my tags. And my point. Of course some people have troubles thrust upon them from birth through poor parenting or bad genes leading to ill health, etc. I tagged those out. So you get off your own high horse.

    Ak, yes I have had rellies with mental illness (and one very close right now in the worst state possible). You should read my posts more carefully. Idiot. I never say to those people “toughen up” or whatever you assume people like me do say. Those people need care.

    My point was directed at the vast majority of people in NZ (estimate 95%) who are actually quite capable of looking after themselves. If you see my first post you will see I point out that govt taking over responsibility for so much of our lives today has, in my opinion, weakened our fmilies and communities – because the responsibility has been altered / removed to some other entity. i.e. the govt. It does not work. People perform best when they are most responsible.

    ak further – you accuse me of having the solution to all ills. Read properly. I never said that, and in fact I went further and specifically stated in one of the posts that I did not. I was offering my opinion on the reason for the problem, not the solution.

    And you also assume I have a “good attitude” as a result of luck. So many assumptionns with you ak. Bit useless aren’t you.

    As for trusting the ‘experts’. Experts to me in how to raise a family, keep fit and healthy, don’t commit crime, and get an education and job are those are around me that have already done that. Lessons from planet earth.

    And it aint no typical tory attitude. If you get out more you will find it across the entire political and social spectrum.

    Your whole post was simply a typical left rant against an assumed ‘rightie’. Try reading and posting more carefully.

    Captcha: systems poisoning, how appropriate. who chooses these captcha words?

  44. vto 44

    obesity results from consuming more energy than is expended.

    work the answer out from there – it’s not that hard.

  45. r0b 45

    You continue to selectively quote from journals like a first year med student

    HS, if I quoted in as much detail as I wanted to my already overlong posts would get even longer.

    I have quoted from a variety of sources, journals, District Health Board notes, Otago University nutritionists, the Public Health Association, the Obesity Action Coalition, the old Crown Public Health, and the popular press. The message is clear and consistent. But carry on living in your dream world. You’re a medical professional. I’m sure you know best.

  46. higherstandard 46

    Yes rOb

    I’ll continue leaving in my dreamworld where I actually interact with patients on a daily basis you live in your socialist dreamworld of self interest, lack of personal responsibility and where the solution to everything is to throw money at it.

  47. r0b 47

    the solution to everything

    The solution to anything HS, always begins with a clear and honest understanding of the problem.

  48. higherstandard 48

    On that I’ll agree with you and seeing as we’re both off topic in relation to the original post perhaps we should leave it there.

  49. vto 49

    stalemate ay rOb and HS.

    Surely the solution is to eat less? Shouldn’t that be the target of any programme to assist? Rather than fire off on some indirect tangent that requires 2 or 3 steps before getting to the actual problem, which increasing incomes would involve (i.e. first get them the money, second require them to spend it on the right food, etc)?

    Sorry folks, but I just can’t escape the simplicity of this issue. I am a tad overweight because I know I eat a little more and exercise a little less than I used to. Rich fat folk are surely the same. Poor fat folk are surely the same.

    If ever there was a personal responsibility issue this is it.

    And yet again Captcha does exactly that with this time:: pro stairs. ha ha ha ha ha ha what a larf

  50. higherstandard 50


    In some people that is the answer but not all.

    Just as no two people are the same persons metabolisms and response to dietary intake and exercise vary drastically.

    I think where both r0b and would agree is that a dietary intake lower in energy dense food combined with increasing exercise, no smoking and a low to no alcohol intake is beneficial in virtually all persons. I certainly agree with you that the vast majority of the population cold do more to look after themselves.

  51. vto 51

    HS, of course. All of those steps require, simply, an effort on the part of person that is obese, be they rich or poor.

  52. ak 52

    vto: (after several thousand words) “Surely the solution is to eat less?”

    Classic. I take it all back veets: that Nobel prize is as good as yours.

  53. higherstandard 53


    VTO’s solution may indeed be simplistic it is however undeniable that a lower calorific intake combined with higher energy output is indeed beneficial amongst the obese in fact this is a central part of managing Type II Diabetes.

  54. vto 54

    No you have it ak, after all everything is always much more complex than it appears isn’t it. Sarcasm is always good too isn’t it.

    And you do yourself no favours by simply selectively picking items out of my posts out of context to support whatever it is you claim.

    What is that by the way? What is your solution to being overweight? All I have heard from you is a dribbly attack on me.

    And in case you haven’t picked up – this entire issue seriously annoys me. It is the classic issue of state responsibility versus personl responsibility. It is the classic case of complicating what is a simple issue. It also is a classic highlight of the differences in general approach to life between the hard left and someone like me.

    Why does the ‘left’ always make excuses. And never criticise people who let themselves and their communities down? Oh that’s right, they do – if they are white and ‘middle class’ or rich. Otherwise never.

    The current version of the ‘left’ is wearing thinner with every passing day.

  55. roger nome 55


    “can go to the market and buy healthy vegetables, brown rice, fruits and lean meat to feed a family for less than it would cost to eat at McDonalds.”

    Perhaps, though I’m not convinced of that. Anyhow, the most consumed fast-food in NZ is still fish and chips, and you can bet that the poorest are going there for their cheep calories rather than McDs.

    Seriously, you can feed a family of five for ten dollars with that stuff.

    With the price of veggies and meat at the moment you’d struggle to do it for double that price with your options.

    This debate is starting to sound like the poverty and crime debate to me. Despite the fact that dozens of studies all over the world show a pervasive linkage between levels of socio-economic disadvantage in childhood and crime the Tories always choose to blame the victim. It’s a way of externalising the suffering that results from their politics from their consciences. All very human and understandable, but let’s see it for what it is.

  56. Billy 56

    “…Tories always choose to blame the victim…”

    By whom you mean, of course, the criminal.

  57. vto 57

    ha ha excellent Billy. Caught by his own (clap)trap.

  58. higherstandard 58


    Yep fish n chips is certainly a favourite with NZers but there’s nothing to stop the purchaser asking for fish without the chips and no batter thanks and then having it with veges at home.

    I know I’ll never convince you Roger but the reason the vast majority of people eat this stuff is it’s easy and they like the taste not because of poverty they really do have a choice much as fizzy drinks vs plain old water out of the tap.

  59. r0b 59

    the reason the vast majority of people eat this stuff is it’s easy and they like the taste not because of poverty

    I was trying to stay out of this thread HS, but here you go again with your bold statements of ideology dressed as fact.

    Of course people eat bad food in part because (1) it’s easy and tasty (personal choice), and of course they eat it part because (2) it’s cheap and accessible (restrictions of poverty). But there is no way to quantify these two effects. So to claim that “the vast majority” are type (1) is a claim of ideology not fact.

    I have cited lots of research and the publicly stated positions of health groups above that emphasises the importance of (2) – bad food is cheap and easily accessible. By all means argue that we should address (1) as well, but how to we address the problem of (2)? Simply saying that the problem of (2) doesn’t exist is the option of blind ideological fools.

  60. higherstandard 60


    Let me once again remind you that if you want to see a blind ideological fool put your (singular) head in front of the nearest mirror.

    Although I’ll give you some credit from steeping back from your ‘poverty is the sole problem’ and accepting that a percentage of the population make the poor choices simply due to to ignorance and sloth.

    In terms of your ‘how do we address problem 2’ by all means throw as many tax dollars as you can at it but I for one will be unsurprised when the lines at the fish and chip shop and burger joints and the sales of fizzy drinks at the supermarket remain as healthy (forgive the pun) as ever.

    Apart from distributing food stamps which are only redeemable for ‘healthy’ foods it will take a couple of generations before the health message gets through and indeed the current and next generation (despite being more affluent) may have shorter lifespans than their parents due to their poor eating and exercise habits habits. For Gods sake man pop down to your local high school and see how many kids now take cars to school as distinct from my days when we all walked or used a bicycle.

  61. roger nome 61


    “By whom you mean, of course, the criminal.”

    If you can take a step back, do some reading and take a wider perspective than your mindless binary/black and white rhetoric allows then yes, criminals are often perpetrators and victims at the same time. The trick is to look at social problems rationally rather than being a vacuous, moralising, pontificating rhetorician about it. Often hard for Tories I know.


    “I know I’ll never convince you Roger but the reason the vast majority of people eat this stuff is it’s easy and they like the taste”

    Partly, but they also eat it because it’s cheaper. Hell, when I was a first year student without work i’d often get toward the end of the week, and have no food left and only a few dollars left, so I’d buy chips – maximum calories, minimum expense. And I didn’t even have to feed and clothe anyone else.

    But it’s not just about fast-food either. The cheapest calories at the super-market are highly refined carbs, which are the next worst thing.

    If say GST was taken off fresh produce, then all of a sudden there are more options for low income people, and their consumption patterns start changing. Am I right in assuming that you haven’t had to think about these things recently, if ever?

  62. r0b 62

    HS: that just because there may be more obese persons in one socieoeconoimc group than another does not mean that poverty causes or contributes to obesity.

    HS: It is not more expensive to eat healthy food than unhealthy food, this is a convenient lie.

    HS: Let me once again remind you that if you want to see a blind ideological fool put your (singular) head in front of the nearest mirror.

    Who said that irony was dead eh.

  63. higherstandard 63

    So r0b taking your brilliant reasoning

    Lung Cancer is caused by poverty is it ?

    Water from the tap is more expensive than fizzy drinks ?

    Tell me r0b have you ever heard of cause and effect ?

    I can only guess you work in one of those fine Ministries in Wellington and you’re desperate to justify your existence.

  64. Billy 64

    Oooh, look out, Rog has got his dander up. Rog, not everything’s society’s fault. Sometimes, the bad guys did it all by themselves. I have reached this view having taken a step back, doing some reading, and taking a wider perspective. I just didn’t get sucked in like you did.

  65. roger nome 65


    You appear to be a right-winger yet you don’t get the concepts of opportunity cost and supply and demand.

    Fast-food and processed/refined carbs are more expensive than protein/meat, and veggies, so there’s the law of supply and demand at work.

    Cooking requires time and effort spent which could otherwise be used to do other more enjoyable things – so there’s opportunity cost at work as well. Hard to do much of it, but it means that the supply and demand aspect has to be altered even more – i.e. all other things being equal people are generally going to choose the option with the least opportunity cost.

    To change consumption patterns you’re going to have to change the market dynamic some how. Taking the GST off fresh fruit and veggies would be a good start IMO.

    Also, you’re wrong on the exercise thing. Plenty of studies have shown that cardio alone doesn’t help with weight loss. Gaining muscle mass and improving eating habits are far more important.

  66. roger nome 66


    ” have reached this view having taken a step back, doing some reading, and taking a wider perspective. I just didn’t get sucked in like you did.”

    Nah you just chose to ignore all the evidence that runs contrary to your prejudices.

  67. higherstandard 67

    Roger I’m not wrong on the exercise thing firstly exercise is required to gain muscle mass secondly there are multitudinous double blind placebo controlled studies that show a significant effect of cardiovascular exercise on insulin sensitivity, BP and plasma lipids

    I certainly do understand the concepts of opportunity cost and supply and demand.

    For example if I spend this $10 on fruit and veges it might not be available for the lotto ticket or 6 pack of beer.

    I don’t disagree with taking GST off fruit and veges as an incentive for people to change their habits but it would likely be a nightmare for retailers and the government to manage.

  68. Billy 68

    Yes, Rog. I am prejudiced against criminals. I have never met a paedophile I liked.

  69. higherstandard 69


    I don’t agree with Roger’s views but he is at least reasoned and credible even if I would not support the conclusions he draws from his analysis.

    If you want to see something really scary try this link and read that last paragraph

  70. roger nome 70


    “Roger I’m not wrong on the exercise thing firstly exercise is required to gain muscle mass”

    Yeah but kids are far more likely to run around kicking a ball for a while, than do a hundred press ups per day.

    I do that later and have found it achieves far better results than doing a 3K run every day. There’s also plenty of studies that back this up.

    “For example if I spend this $10 on fruit and veggies it might not be available for the lotto ticket or 6 pack of beer.”

    $10 on fruit and veggies? and how far would that go in a family of 5? 1 day. Look, take your head out of the clouds you sanctimonious bore. When my parents were on the benefit during the “golden years” of the National party in the 1990s, the only way we got to eat veggies was through having a 1 acre size garden (not very practical in South Auckland you will understand). Even then we had to eat stodgy carbs in order to get enough calories. My parents didn’t drink, smoke or gamble either. SO take your holier than thou, smug, ivory tower attitude and get some reality already.

  71. Billy 71

    I’m well aware of loony Maia. This is my personal favourite:

    Utterly serious, apparently.

  72. higherstandard 72

    Roger I not having a go at you or your parents take a walk around Sth Auckland and Middlemore Hospital to blame the obesity and concomittant NIDDM epidemic on poverty is simplistic.

    As one of the key diabetes experts in the country said to me once if we’d been colonised by the French we wouldn’t have these issues (not discounting the fact the French probably would have depopulated the indigenous populations).

  73. higherstandard 73


    Bizzarre – my kids loved the Lorax and indeed all of Dr Suess’s stories – I wonder if there still in favour at Primary Schools these days ?

  74. lprent 74

    I was thinking about intervening in this thread on the “agree to disagree” basis. It was starting to look a bit heated with veiled and unveiled insults flying around.

    However, after reading the thread in the more normal order, it is interesting. It is almost the epitome of an argument between societies right to interfere to correct structural problems vs individual responsibility.

    In this particular context, I’d say that you also have to consider the grandmother issue. It isn’t just what you eat or your genetics. There is a considerable body of evidence about a Lamarkian style activation occouring in the formation of eggs of a female fetus.

    Society has a duty to protect its future citizens, and the question has to be how far out. That really starts to complicate a simple debate based around societal vs individual responsibility.

  75. higherstandard 75


    Aren’t both societies’ right to interfere and individual responsibility both valid ?

    Also quite true that there is interesting debate regarding Lamarkian activation – still undecided though I believe.

  76. roger nome 76


    “Auckland and Middlemore Hospital to blame the obesity and concomittant NIDDM epidemic on poverty is simplistic.”

    I agree that the answer is somewhere in the middle of the “poverty”, and “personal responsibility” narratives. I do think that poverty is a far more important factor than you seem to realise though. It’s basic supply and demand.

  77. r0b 77

    So r0b taking your brilliant reasoning

    HS, you have pretty much no idea about my reasoning, that much is obvious. You have said: Although I’ll give you some credit from steeping back from your ‘poverty is the sole problem’

    At no time did I say such a thing.

    You have said: by all means throw as many tax dollars as you can at it

    At no time did I advocate such a thing.

    My role in this thread has been to question your absurd claims, latterly:

    “that just because there may be more obese persons in one socieoeconoimc group than another does not mean that poverty causes or contributes to obesity.”

    “It is not more expensive to eat healthy food than unhealthy food, this is a convenient lie.”

    That is all I have been doing. I don’t see any point in trying to discuss the deeper issues – the influences of choice and poverty, concepts of individual vs state responsibility and so on, with someone who is so utterly ideologically blinkered that they can’t even acknowledge the basic facts at issue.

    Basic facts first, good old fashioned argument second. You are incapable of acknowledging the basic facts, as per your two claims quoted above.

  78. higherstandard 78


    I hope you didn’t take offense at my smoking analogy ?

    Much like yourself I can’t be bothered arguing with as you put it ‘someone is so utterly ideologically blinkered that they can’t even acknowledge the basic facts at issue.’

  79. lprent 80

    hs: “interesting debate regarding Lamarkian activation – still undecided though I believe.”

    Yes, but from what I understand (it isn’t one of my skill areas), the evidence is starting to get to the compelling stage. At least at the shorter lived mammal level. There is starting to be a reasonable body of statistical evidence on humans as well.

    It is probably getting close to the stage of being the working hypothesis where the defacto process is that you look for evidence to disprove it, rather looking for supporting evidence.

  80. vto 81

    Iprent, your post at 2.43pm is what I was getting at in the midde of my post at 12.36pm. And my 2c worth on that particular matter thrown in first at 4.11pm yesterday (if anyone’s bored and/or can’t be bothered scrolling back, read this one).

    Among all the other slightly heated bits and bobs.

  81. lprent 82

    It is all part of what I call the “Tragedy of the commons” debates. For instance adding iodine to salt, mass vaccinations against polio, adding calcium to the children’s diet with school milk, putting in fishing quotas and hunting/fishing seasons, having unemployment benefits, national superannuation, etc. They’re all areas where individual short-term interests conflict with costs to society as a whole over the longer-term.

    Some of those were done a long time in the past and actively benefit everyone in society today. That is what governments do.

  82. Hamish 83

    Good morning all.

    Just thought i would post this as someone in the field and witnessing what has actually happened here. I am a teacher at an Auckland school and this morning the new guidelines were presented at the staff meeting. The response was a little unenthusiastic to say the least.

    We are now required to check with the food technologies staff before discussing food in class. If that doesn’t sound reasonably daft then I do not know what does.

    There were other odd sounding rules in there as well but that was the one that stuck out. Well off to teach and interested to hear what people think.


  83. higherstandard 84


    Do what all sensible teachers should concentrate on educating the kids in whatever subject/s you’re responsible for and ignore absurd guidelines – I lecture occasionally in Auckland and have to put up with similar drivel upon occasion.

  84. Lew 85

    lprent: Jamie MacKay on The Farming Show yesterday reckoned that John Key would `win in a landslide’ if he reimplemented a milk in schools policy. Key seemed to agree, but then – that’s what he does, innit?


  85. lprent 86

    Lew: urrggh don’t even go there. I can just see it becoming trivial policy number 15 for the tories, again with no costings or detail.

    That stuff almost spoiled my taste for milk. In summer it was always trying to become yoguht.

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    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    5 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    5 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    5 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    1 week ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    1 week ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    1 week ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    1 week ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    2 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    2 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    2 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    2 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    2 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    2 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    3 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    3 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    3 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    3 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    3 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    3 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    4 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    4 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    4 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    4 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    4 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    4 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    5 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    5 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    5 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    5 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    5 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    6 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    6 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    6 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    7 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    1 week ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    1 week ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    1 week ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    1 week ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    1 week ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    1 week ago