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Govt still refuses to act on youth smoking

Written By: - Date published: 1:53 pm, April 21st, 2009 - 42 comments
Categories: health, john key, national - Tags: , , , , ,

A couple of months ago you may remember Tony Ryall rejecting a health select committee recommendation that cigarettes and tobacco be kept out of sight in shops to help make them less inviting.

On Sunrise this morning Oliver Driver wanted to know, in the light of fresh evidence, why Key’s government is still intent on supporting the tobacco industry instead of Kiwi kids.

It’s almost painful to watch Key struggling to justify his government’s do-nothing approach as Driver keeps on wheeling out the facts.

42 comments on “Govt still refuses to act on youth smoking ”

  1. lprent 1

    Oh that interview is so painful. Key didn’t have a view that he could articulate… At least not one that he would say.

    Perhaps the donkey should ask Tony Ryall to justify why he thinks that the link is unproven. Oliver was certainly giving him ample stuff to check.

    As a reformed smoker, I certainly notice the cigarette display and get the urge…

    • Dean 1.1

      “Perhaps the donkey should ask Tony Ryall to justify why he thinks that the link is unproven. Oliver was certainly giving him ample stuff to check.”

      And I’m sure he cares about the opinion of someone who just can’t help but call him names. Try “dickhead” next time – I hear it’s one of your favourites.

      • lprent 1.1.1

        I just call them as I see them. It is hard to respect a flutter-head like John Key. He and Sue Kedgeley seem to be of a kind. Incapable of focusing on one thing long enough to complete it. John seems to have figured out how to win an election (with a lot of help), but not how to run a country. We have to rely on Bill English for that.

        I tend to reserve dickhead for people with more testosterone than brains, I’m very selective about who I use it on.

        • Dean 1.1.1.1

          I see.

          The next time you call out the right for being nasty and lacking of any substance when they call someone names I’ll be sure to take your opinion with a grain of salt.

          And you actually wonder why your party lost the last election. Amazing.

          captcha: “grand cronies”. Which reminds me, is Feild still only guilty of working hard for his electorate?

          • lprent 1.1.1.1.1

            Perhaps you’ve forgotten why your parties won the election. Amazing. Let me remind you.

            The right set the low standard – perhaps you’ve ‘forgotten’. Who can forget some of those classics that denigrated the fact that there were women in powerful positions being more effective than the misogynist wingnuts preferred woman to be. Or having a responsible finance minister intent on repairing the damage from decades of fiscal mismanagement by the Nat’s and the founding members of Act, rather than continuing to give unwarranted tax-cuts. The last two elections were not fought on policy, they were fought from the right on the basest of PR.

            Just go to whaleoil or the sewer that is the comments section of kiwiblog and you’ll see them now. For that matter the trash that is Investigate and Wishart. When are you going to issue a blanket apology on your behalf for associating with your fellow wingnuts?

            Your opinion is valued rather lowly by me because I perceive you as being part of the continuum of pathetic ill-educated misogynists who used slogans rather than reasoned policy to influence the last 5 years of political debate.

            Since my preferred parties are now in opposition and the tactic obviously worked, we are now having to run on the MAD scenario (as I warned through 2007/8). So the same tactics will be used by some of the left (like me) against the idiots who currently run our government and their mindless minion trolls. Except we will do it better, earlier, and with more of a focus on policy (or lack of). This is to ensure that a defeat in 2011 and probably 2014 manages to penetrate the thick skulls of the conservatives that this type of political behavior is a negative sum game.

            In the meantime, I’d point out that you are now trying to change what we say. Read this

  2. Tigger 2

    Doofus. It’s the only word that describes this performance. I mean, Mr Bean could have done a better job!

  3. Bill 3

    If they ever get sensible on all this they might want to consider banning anti-smoking ads too.

    Nothing like an anti-smoking ad for reminding you that you have just been in a space where smoking was the last thing on your mind.

  4. Trevor Mallard 4

    And McCully has confirmed in a wpq 2b published tom that they are to gut push play by taking out social marketing funding. Why do they want to load our health system with cancer + diabetes?

    • George Darroch 4.1

      I’m sure the Maori Party are conflicted on this, but thus far they haven’t said anything publicly. I wonder how long they can bite their tongues.

      • Tigger 4.1.1

        English himself said at a meeting of Crown CE’s that ‘the last government were interested in stopping diabetes while we just want more front line services, more doctors and nurses’. That sounds nice and slogany – who doesn’t want more doctors and nurses? But all the front line services in the world won’t help when you lose a leg or eyesight that could have been prevented if someone had empowered you to change your diet/exercise.

        NACT only see the symptoms – they don’t see the disease.

  5. George Darroch 5

    One decent interview – this is what journalism is supposed to be. And it isn’t ridiculously hard either. Driver is no health professor, but he’s done some research, so Key can’t get away with openly misleading and fudging the issue.

    Which is what should have happened months ago. Still, good to have a start.

  6. gobsmacked 6

    “Which is what should have happened months ago. Still, good to have a start.”

    Indeed.

    When Sarah Palin became the VP candidate last year, there was about a week or so of soft coverage, with human interest stories.

    Then Katie Couric and the other interviewers (forget the names) got to work. They did their job, which was to find out if Palin was up to the job she wanted. She flunked, and it was over.

    John Key has bluffed and parroted his way through any questions about anything that matters, since the day he became leader. His interviewers have been either unable or unwilling to master the basics of their job: thorough research, forensic questions, firm follow-ups, thinking on their feet.

    No other Western leader has had an easier ride. It is a national (sic) embarrassment.

  7. Paul Robeson 7

    Driver: Just a basic warning saying that drinking can lead to death

    Key: Oh yeah. I see what you mean, a basic warning, well, well…

    OMG this man is representing us. If he can’t handle Oliver Driver, how on earth did he make play in China?
    *shudder*

    and re the comment of Trevor Mallard above (assume its genuine) *despair* We better stop putting out reports saying things are working and benefitting large numbers of New Zealanders because they’ll axe them.

  8. I got so angry watching that man just now.
    What is he on? What mickey finn does English slip this mutt with his weetbix ? Indeed Mr Mallard, why does this administration want to load up our society with these horrid outcomes?
    On top of Olivers connecting the tobacco/nact dots there would seem to be some BigPharm influence coming hard.
    So, how many BAT shares does donkeys family trust own? How many merke sharp dome shares?.
    horrible horrible, as Bomber says: hows that ‘change’ feeling?
    In fact can we supress any of this before other nations get to view this shitty governance? Can’t be good for out touris….oh,…HE’S the Minister if Tourism.FFS.

    captcha: fatherly bidder hah! Daddy state indeed!

  9. bobo 9

    Key could have done with a smoke after that awkward interview.. One of Helen Clark’s lasting legacies was her anti-smoking policy in 1990 banning it in the workplace before most other countries did. Notice the nervous gulp/cough Key has developed or is that asian flu from his recent trip?

  10. BLiP 10

    Hey – c’mon people! Haven’t you read the OECD report on the future cost blow outs in the provision of health and pensions to New Zealanders?

    John Key and his mates are looking at reducing these costs by killing off as many kiwi’s as possible before we reach pension age. With no kindergarten, pies and coke in schools, and advertising for smoking, a sound policy package has been put together that should save billions “going forward”.

    Just think of the state of the coffers.

  11. Paul Robeson 11

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/blogs/on-the-house/2350526/Keys-return-home-a-mixed-bag?comment_msg=posted#post_comment

    Actually Colin Espiner seems to be doing a better job at this the Standard! When is the rest of the media going to start with the journalism, and when is this ‘honeymoon’ going to end.

    They sold us a pup, time to call it a pup before it grows up to become the mongrel government we all fear.

    • BLiP 11.1

      Looks more like C Espiner has been rummaging around at The Standard looking for material – apart from Brownlee’s latest mendacity, its all yesterday’s news.

  12. jerry 12

    Arghhhhh – how hard is it to either put cigarrettes below the counter or behind a cupboard door more to the point how hard is it to regulate for and why has no government regulated it.

    Seems to me it’s an easy piece of regulation and hardly anyone will get pissed off about it – from a health perspective I’d love to see cigarettes phased out of supply over a ten year period … fat chance.

  13. DeeDub 13

    And it takes a talented ACTOR to do arguably the best journalistic job in the last year?

    REAL journalists: NIL
    Actors and Comedians: TWO (Oliver Driver & John Stewart)

    • George Darroch 13.1

      Driver’s pretty smart, and has been interviewing for years. A lot of NZ television journalists are actors too, only they ham their lines.

  14. Kevin Welsh 14

    The more I see of Key in unscripted situations, the more I piss myself and realise he has to be just a figurehead and not running the show.

    The whole point of POS advertising, John, is that it WORKS. That is why companies spend tens of millions of dollars on it every year. Its not a gamble.

  15. Steve Reeves 15

    And what about the precautionary principle, John?

    You know, it goes like this: there’s evidence smoking kills and there’s evidence (which John says he’ll look at…) that POS advertising helps sells cigarettes, so…..because the damage *might* be so great, let’s take the precaution of banning them while John takes a look at the evidence.

    What are the objections?

    And the fact this has apparently been ruled out does suggest that Oliver’s “conspiracy theory” has foundation—who might be telling John not to take precautions?

  16. Lindsay 16

    From 2002 Canadian provinces began instituting tobacco display bans. Instead of going to a biased source, the tobacco industry or public health department, I went to Canadian Statistics to see what effect that had on smoking rates;

    “In 2007, one in five Canadians reported smoking either every day or occasionally, the same proportion as in 2005 and 2006. In addition, smoking prevalence across all age groups remained stable.”

    Saskatchewan was the first cab off the rank;

    “Smoking rates in the provinces continued to be within 5 percentage points of the national average. Once again, British Columbia had the lowest rate, and Saskatchewan, for the second year in row, had the highest.”

    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/080825/dq080825b-eng.htm

  17. Parks 17

    However – those Canadian smoking stats do not prove anything for or against. It’s largely meaningless to use them out of context.

    As Driver points out this is about stopping kids starting. As the evidence in New Zealand shows the displays encourage them to start. So, why would adult smoking stats from Canada show this? It’s not about making people stop, but stopping kids from starting.

    Marketing works – so why market something deadly in front of kids. It’s about stopping the promotion of a deadly product in a way that suggests it’s ‘normal’. It’s a basic no-brainer not to do this as Key struggles to justify.

  18. gfraser 18

    spot on Kevin.
    Unbelievable that our MSM could not pin Key down on so many points during the lead up to the election.
    Shameful.

  19. Yes some actual probing questioning would reveal how empty this decision actually was and probably reveal al lot on many other issues Key has stumbled into blindly.

  20. outofbed 20

    Fuck when you see Driver doing the basics and asking the obvious questions of a politician and not taken bland nothing answers, one realises how bad journalism is in NZ.
    I wonder how many interviews he (Driver will get now?)
    I would like to see him present an “Question time” (BBC) type program in depth interviews with our politicians being asked hard questions and demanding proper answers. ..

  21. George Darroch 21


    I wonder how many interviews he (Driver will get now?)

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets shelved from doing interviews with National MPs for a while. I would hope not.

    More likely National simply go to Paul Henry for the soft breakfast option.

  22. Lindsay 22

    Parks, “However – those Canadian smoking stats do not prove anything for or against. It’s largely meaningless to use them out of context…this is about stopping kids starting…So, why would adult smoking stats from Canada show this?”

    The statistics are not out of context. “…smoking prevalence across all age groups remained stable.” That means that the prevalence did not drop amongst the youngest people.

  23. Lew 23

    Lindsay, it’s an interesting point, requires one to check one’s premises. The implication is that tobacco marketing doesn’t increase sales. If that’s so, why do tobacco companies bother marketing? Conversely, why do they object to advertising bans?

    L

  24. Parks 24

    If you check the Canadian stats you’ll see they are for adult smoking. All Age groups 16+

  25. Tom Semmens 25

    John Key is clearly an irrelevance in this government. His job is just to be “that nice man Mr. Key”. Besides, Key has already got what he wants – another box ticked on his C.V.

    If Oliver Driver wanted answers, he should have asked someone who is actually in charge of something in this government – I suggest Ryall is the guy in charge of this.

    Oh and by the way – is it really surprising that a leaderless government clearly bereft of ideas is already succumbing to the corruption of influence peddling lobbbyists?

    George W. Bush’s administration ring a bell anyone?

  26. Lindsay 26

    Lew, The ‘implication’ is that a ban on displaying tobacco, which came long after a ban on mass media tobacco advertising, didn’t further decrease sales. The NZ ban on advertising isn’t currently decreasing sales so it is unlikely a ban on displays will.

    “The number of cigarettes available for consumption was up 4.3 percent, to 2.5 billion in 2008. This increase in cigarettes contrasts with a decrease in the amount of tobacco available for consumption, which was down 3.7 percent to 870 tonnes in 2008.” Statistics NZ

    Like my earlier observation about the limits of social engineering (or state attempts to control behaviour if you prefer), they succeed to a point only.

    Without advertising and displays is there any sign cannabis production and consumption is decreasing?

    Parks, 16 and 17 year-olds are ‘young people’.

    • Lew 26.1

      Lindsay, your arguments here (no comment on your other work) suggest either a. that a little bit of knowledge about statistics is a dangerous thing; or b. that you’re actively trying to bullshit your audience, or c. both.

      The ‘implication’ is that a ban on displaying tobacco, which came long after a ban on mass media tobacco advertising, didn’t further decrease sales. The NZ ban on advertising isn’t currently decreasing sales so it is unlikely a ban on displays will.

      I’m not sure why this is an ‘implication’, not an implication, but anyhow – this is exactly my point. If a POS display/advertising ban doesn’t decrease sales, why would the tobacco lobby object to it? Wouldn’t they be inclined to concede this one on the grounds that it would get the do-gooders off their backs for a while, you know, show them to be cooperative and reasonable while not actually harming their business model?

      Of course not – check your premises. They object to the ban because POS advertising does work and the ban would harm their business model – it’s not a figment of some marketroid’s imagination; it actually really does result in more sales, greater brand exposure and loyalty and at an earlier age.

      Without advertising and displays is there any sign cannabis production and consumption is decreasing?

      Straw man. Since there was never any POS cannabis advertising on display, there’s no benchmark to measure any decrease against. It’s a meaningless comparison.

      Like my earlier observation about the limits of social engineering (or state attempts to control behaviour if you prefer), they succeed to a point only.

      This point is quite right – they do only work up to a point; the matter for debate is the utility “state attempts to influence behaviour” is more correct for me, but I accept that’s a minor semantic distinction. I do object to “social engineering” since it begs the question that the state (representing in a democracy the aggregate views of its electorate) should not have a role enforcing the norms held by that electorate.

      Parks, 16 and 17 year-olds are ‘young people’.

      Without answering for Parkes, if you don’t have a breakdown it’s fallacious to try to draw conclusions for one very limited demographic. Do you even know what proportion of smokers in the Canadian sample were aged 16 and 17? How their behaviour changed (as distinct from the population at large)? Or do you assume that their behaviour was the same as the rest of the population, and if so, upon what grounds?

      Also far as Canada goes, there are also other important factors in play which aren’t in New Zealand and could jeopardise the relevance of their numbers (unless you can control for them) – for one thing the significance of tobacco as a traditional/ceremonial commodity and gift material among First Nations people. There will be others as well – the point I’m trying to make is that you can’t just take some numbers and assume they apply universally.

      L

  27. Observer 27

    Kevin Welsh

    Is it true that you have stopped beating your wife?

    .

  28. Lindsay 28

    Lew, I don’t try to “actively bullshit” anyone. I look at the available facts and try to understand what is going on. When a reliable statistical source says that over three years “…smoking prevalence ACROSS ALL AGE GROUPS remained stable,” I accept it.

    I don’t assume that the Canadian numbers will apply universally but it is normal practice to look for the results of a policy where it has been implemented when deciding whether to go down the same road.

    It may well be that the tobacco industry is misguided in fighting a ban on displays but retailers, for whom it means expense, disruption and inconvenience, opposition is understandable.

    Whether the state reflects the wishes of the electorate simply because we live in a democracy is highly arguable. Clearly some law changes are not campaigned on during elections and are driven by minority opinion and interest.

  29. Dean 29

    lprent:

    “Perhaps you’ve forgotten why your parties won the election. Amazing. Let me remind you.”

    I didn’t vote for any of the parties that make up the current government, but I’m not overly suprised that you’d assume that I did. After all, it was Bush who said “you’re either with us or against us” and that kind of thinking does seem to be something you take a shine to. How perfectly dreadful – you have become what you hate.

    “The right set the low standard – perhaps you’ve ‘forgotten’. Who can forget some of those classics that denigrated the fact that there were women in powerful positions being more effective than the misogynist wingnuts preferred woman to be. Or having a responsible finance minister intent on repairing the damage from decades of fiscal mismanagement by the Nat’s and the founding members of Act, rather than continuing to give unwarranted tax-cuts. The last two elections were not fought on policy, they were fought from the right on the basest of PR.”

    I see. And Labour’s policies had nothing to do with it. It was a cabal of mysoginsts. You actually believe this, dont you?

    Stunning.

    J”ust go to whaleoil or the sewer that is the comments section of kiwiblog and you’ll see them now. For that matter the trash that is Investigate and Wishart. When are you going to issue a blanket apology on your behalf for associating with your fellow wingnuts?”

    Show me the last time I commented on any of those sites. To make it easier on you, I use the same name as I do on here.

    “Your opinion is valued rather lowly by me because I perceive you as being part of the continuum of pathetic ill-educated misogynists who used slogans rather than reasoned policy to influence the last 5 years of political debate.”

    But you only think that because you’d like to believe I am a right voter. You’ve let your assumption cloud your opinion because it suits your tiny world view.

    Whereas you’ve made your own party membership and support crystal clear, which allows me to draw a much more accurate set of conclusions about your opinion – particularly when coupled with your knee-jerk reaction towards anybody who doesnt think Clark and Labour walk on water.

    PS: I see you chose to ignore the question about Field. What was it that Clark had to say about him again?

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