Local Bodies: Neoliberal Economics Limits Food Choice in Southland

Written By: - Date published: 8:54 am, January 10th, 2015 - 62 comments
Categories: business, Economy, farming, food, health, sustainability - Tags: , , ,

bsprout on the Local Bodies blog, provides a case study, specific to Southland.  At the same time, it outlines a more general pattern that can be seen in many places, each with their own local circumstances. The post below was originally posted on Local Bodies on 8 January 2015.


 

My first post for the year probably reflects the fact that I have spent a good amount of time in my garden. Watching my garden thrive in our current patch of good weather and harvesting a variety of vegetables and fruit has made me appreciate what a wonderful environment we have for growing food.

Southland doesn’t produce good bananas, pineapples or kumera, our climate isn’t warm enough for them, but we do grow great potatoes, gooseberries, rhubarb, currents, apples and swedes. My wife makes a delicious gooseberry sorbet that we love in summer and a gooseberry crumble in Winter that is par excellence. It seems strange to me that, gooseberries and currents are not grown in commercial quantities here and they are not commonly sold fresh in our local supermarket.

At one time our local dairy used to stock a small amount of locally sourced fresh fruit and vegetables (and even bought some of our gooseberries when we had more than we could use or store), but no longer. Supermarkets now have a monopoly in selling fruit and vegetables and have been quite aggressive in how they do this. When the Dunedin Farmers Market was being established supermarkets lobbied the City Council to police the private car parks around the market that were being used by customers. The car parks weren’t being used by businesses over the weekend but the supermarkets wanted to limit the access to their competition.

Supermarkets buy in bulk, want consistency of supply and because most Southland Island supermarkets have a centralised distribution system, produce must be able to be stored and transported for a number of days. This means that to ensure consistency of supply, fewer varieties can be sold and fruit is picked green and does not have the flavour of those that are tree ripened.

My sister, through her open orchards project, has identified around 50 different varieties of apple that have been grown in Southland with an amazing diversity of flavours and unique names (Merton Russet, Cornish Aromatic, Dipton redburst, Peasgood Non Such, Keyswick Codlin…). You will find none of these in a supermarket and now few people will have experienced the delights of a really large cooking apple as a baked treat in the middle of Winter.

We no longer manage our food production and supply to provide the best quality and variety to local consumers, we now have the situation where the corporate culture dictates what is eaten in most homes. Gareth Morgan has identified the dangerous trend for New Zealanders to eat the heavily processed and marketed ‘fake food’ rather than the real thing and obesity and Type 2 Diabetes has developed into a health crisis. Fast food has shifted from being an occasional treat to the main diet for many. Since the Government removed the necessity to provide healthy food in schools, educating young people to make informed, healthy choices is more difficult. It is hard to promote healthy food when the canteen sells packets of chips and coke that are cheaper than a salad roll.

Sadly most people don’t realize what we have lost through the corporate domination of our food supplies. Most New Zealanders will go through their lives without ever experiencing what it means to eat a diet that is full of locally produced fresh food and being aware of seasonal changes. This ignorance has meant that when McDonalds wanted to open a new outlet in Invercargill’s South City health organisations submitted objections, but most of the local residents appear to be supporting it. There are few complaints about the cost of fresh food but the availability of a fast food outlet is supported with some energy.

Our Southern Farmers Market is struggling to attract new stall holders and we have few local suppliers of fresh food. Our local strawberry farm has just closed down, we lost our independent supplier of A2 milk and we have no fish stall because of the corporate control of fishing quotas. Few people want to risk growing the fruit and vegetables that Southland grows well because when the median income in Invercargill is only $27,400 there is little discretionary income to pay for good quality local food and supermarkets have cheaper options. Many customers walk away from our market because they feel can’t afford the prices.

Even our local hospital will be spurning local suppliers of food when the contract goes to HBL. A similar thing has happened in Auckland and it will mean that the cheapest suppliers will be used even if the fish comes from Vietnam and the potatoes from Holland (as has happened in the past). The free market trade system has meant that our local producers have to compete in international markets where carbon footprints and worker exploitation are not factored. There is even a strong objection to providing clear country of origin labeling so that consumers have little way of telling where their food comes from. This is nothing about serving the best interests of consumers but supporting the best interests of corporate profits.

The neoliberal corporate culture has seen the likes of Monsanto and supermarkets control the production of food to suit their needs and this supports industrial, monoculture farming. Dairying now dominates agriculture in New Zealand and the quantity of milk produced is now more important than the quality or variety of products. Our local, lignite powered, Edendale Dairy factory has a drier capable of processing 100 litres of milk per second, producing 28 tonnes of milk powder per hour or 35 shipping containers full of milk powder every day. However when we have European wwoofers stay with us they tell us that our cheeses are not nearly as good as what is supplied by the many family businesses in their home country. Southland used to make the best porridge oats in the country but we are now a dairying province.

A recent UN report has claimed that if we really wanted to make the best use of our land to feed the world, we need to shift to small scale organic farms. The report advocates for a transformation towards “ecological intensification” and concludes, “This implies a rapid and significant shift from conventional, monoculture-based and high-external dependent industrial production toward mosaics of sustainable, regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small scale farmers.”

Cuba has proven the success of small organic farms when trade embargoes stopped the importation of pesticides and herbicides and forced them to produce their own natural fertilizer and compost. Food production has increased and their mortality rate is now about the same as New Zealand and their life expectancy is better than the US.

Havana food market

A Government’s role should be to regulate and control markets to make sure that that bullying monopolies and duopolies don’t occur and that the health and welfare of the citizens aren’t compromised by corporate greed. New Zealanders should have access to healthy fresh food that is grown locally and we should be supporting our own growers and encouraging quality and diversity.

(The image at the top is an early Summer harvest from our own small organic garden a couple of years ago)

62 comments on “Local Bodies: Neoliberal Economics Limits Food Choice in Southland”

  1. RedLogix 1

    One of the things I really miss living in Australia is that in moving we lost our connections to all sorts of local food sources we had back home.

    For quite a few years we had gotten our food budget to the point where probably only 25% of it was being spent in supermarkets. Now it’s back up to 100% and it sucks.

    The only upside here is no GST on fresh food.

    • Murray Rawshark 1.1

      Brisbane has plenty of markets. I have no idea where you are, but there may be something nearby. We probably spend less than 20% at the supermarket, with the rest being at the butcher and the greengrocer. We seldom bother buying fish.

      I went to the Dunedin farmers’ market last January. I wasn’t too impressed with the look of some of the fruit, but there was some good cheap meat. I remember we had a good feed there, but I can’t remember what it was. Aotearoa has great stuff to eat and it’s a real shame that supermarkets and dairy are taking it away from us.

      • RedLogix 1.1.1

        Aotearoa has great stuff to eat and it’s a real shame that supermarkets and dairy are taking it away from us.

        Ballarat has a couple – but we didn’t take to them. Maybe we should try again. It’s hard to put a finger on it but it’s the quality and selection of real foods that I miss the most here in Aus.

        But yes – the supermarket juggernauts might deliver on price, reliability and consistency. But they do lack soul.

        • Murray Rawshark 1.1.1.1

          In Brisbane you can buy a lovely looking peach and half an hour later it’s starting to rot. I haven’t got a clue what they do to them. Most of the Kiwis I know here have nostalgia for the sweet, sweet kai of home.

  2. weka 2

    Here’s the UN report referred to,

    ​Farming in rich and poor nations alike should shift from monoculture towards greater varieties of crops, reduced use of fertilizers and other inputs, greater support for small-scale farmers, and more locally focused production and consumption of food, a new UNCTAD report recommends.

    http://unctad.org/en/pages/PressRelease.aspx?OriginalVersionID=154

  3. Bill 3

    Excellent piece.

    One small thing that could significantly boost local access to locally produced foods is a complete overhaul of food and safety regulations. Small cottage industries, that could supply local markets/outlets with prepared produce, are being routinely sunk before they launch by onerous compliance costs related to certification.

    • weka 3.1

      In the US one thing that happened in response to this is the introduction of Cottage Food Bills. These allow people to make certain foods at home, for sale. Meat and dairy are excluded.

      Here’s the Californian one,

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Homemade_Food_Act

      However, the meat and dairy one also needs sorting. At the moment very small scale farmers can produce enough to supply local markets but generally can’t afford the compliance costs. This is little to do with safety, and largely to do with the rules being designed for large producers who have completely different economic scales.

      There is some movement on the raw milk one, with MAF doing a couple of rounds of consultation. These aren’t difficult things to design (safe systems for small growers), the blocks seem largely ideological.

    • Wayne 3.2

      What nonsense this item is. When Cuba gets cited as an example of the market in action you know the whole discussion has gone off the rails. And the evils of Southland becoming a major diary producer. Yet another disaster to overwhelm the region.

      I have no doubt that the supermarkets in Southland and North Shore stock pretty much the same items from the same source. They use their purchasing power pretty effectively.

      But I can also go to at least 6 greengrocers in a 3 k radius and get a wide variety of different items that I won’t find in the supermarket. I could also go to the Takapuna market on Sunday morning and get all sorts of alternatives.

      But hey if the Left want to get stuck into the evil neoliberal nature of the food supply in New Zealand go for it. Shane Jones seemed to think it was a good idea to push up the cost to consumers.

      But on reflection I guess the writer is probably a Green who would shoot the cows so the land can be redistributed to needy organic farmer tilling small plots.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1

        No, no, no.

        If you’re going to repeat ridiculous lies about a managed reduction of the dairy herd, you need to do them up front, to catch the tl;dr crowd.

        Are you sure you’re cut out for this tr*lling lark, Dr. Mapp?

      • RedLogix 3.2.2

        But on reflection I guess the writer is probably a Green who would shoot the cows so the land can be redistributed to needy organic farmer tilling small plots.

        What a good idea Wayne. If we take this to the next Green Party conference as a remit – can we put your name on it for the credits?

        Or you could have actually read the link in the post:

        So far Cuba has been successful with its “transformation from conventional, high input, mono-crop intensive agriculture” to a more diverse and localized farming system that continues to grow. The country is rapidly moving away from a monoculture of tobacco and sugar. It now needs much more diversity of food crops as well as regular crop rotation and soil conservation efforts to continue to properly nourish millions of Cuban citizens.

        In June 2000, a group of Iowa farmers, professors, and students traveled to Cuba to view that country’s approach to sustainable agriculture. Rather than relying on chemical fertilizers, Cuba relies on organic farming, using compost and worms to fertilize soil. There are many differences between farming in the United States and Cuba, but “in many ways they’re ahead of us,” say Richard Wrage, of Boone County Iowa Extension Office. Lorna Michael Butler, Chair of Iowa State University’s sustainable agriculture department said, “more students should study Cuba’s growing system.” (AP 6/5/00)

        http://www.projectcensored.org/12-cuba-leads-the-world-in-organic-farming/

        Seems to me a great example of the market in action. Why would you not be proud? Or is it an example of the ‘wrong’ kind of market. One that might work for ordinary people instead of the already very wealthy?

        • weka 3.2.2.1

          yeah, but where’s the profit? Farming isn’t about producing food. Show me the money!

      • weka 3.2.3

        wow, so many ad hominems and reactionary cliches in one comment.

        Cuba wasn’t cited as an example of the market in action, it was cited as an example of how small, localised, organic food production brings benefits that the neoliberal model doesn’t.

        Southland is running in cow shit and nitrates. That the authorities and ratepayers have let this happen for the individual profit of some farmers is a disgrace. Google waituna lagoon +pollution if you want to read a classic example. Locals now talk about how many rivers are unsafe to swim in now.

        “I have no doubt that the supermarkets in Southland and North Shore stock pretty much the same items from the same source. They use their purchasing power pretty effectively.”

        Actually supermarkets vary quite a bit in what they stock.

        “But I can also go to at least 6 greengrocers in a 3 k radius and get a wide variety of different items that I won’t find in the supermarket. I could also go to the Takapuna market on Sunday morning and get all sorts of alternatives.”

        Good for you. So are you saying that because you can do that, everything must be alright? Or do you mean that Kennedy is right, that there are some places where that’s not possible.

        “Shane Jones seemed to think it was a good idea to push up the cost to consumers.”

        here’s the dilemma. Food costs to produce. At the moment it is subsidised by economies of scale underpinned by fossil fuels, and because pollution costs are still largely being born by those not doing the producing or retailing. Once peak oil and AGW effects kick in more we will be forced to look at how to produce food locally, and how much that actually costs. Having said that, some producers are keeping their costs down, and they’re the ones largely working outside of the neoliberal structures.

        “But on reflection I guess the writer is probably a Green who would shoot the cows so the land can be redistributed to needy organic farmer tilling small plots.”

        You do realise that conventional farmers shoot cows, right? And what precisely would be wrong with converting heavily polluting and unsustainable dairy farms to sustainable and organic small farms that provide multiple benefits to the community and landbase?

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.4

        Shane Jones seemed to think it was a good idea to push up the cost to consumers.

        Food brought in from the other side of the world costs more than food grown here. The only reason why it has a lower monetary cost is because of our delusional monetary system that’s backed by government. A monetary system that ignores and denies the full costs preventing proper accounting. One good example is climate change and another is our ever more polluted rivers from farming. One way or another those costs will be paid. It’s just a question of if we account for them now or if Nature* accounts for them later.

        Nature bats last, doesn’t negotiate and doesn’t take hostages.

      • Murray Rawshark 3.2.5

        Shane Jones was always one of yours. He recently made it obvious.

        Have you been to a fruit and vege market in Cuba? They’re great, cheap and have heaps of variety. What Cuba does have problems with is car parts, for example, where Washington interferes with the market. Please publish your lies elsewhere.

  4. Colonial Rawshark 4

    An ideology which sees market and corporate forces as the ultimate shapers of our whole civilisation will lead first to the degradation, than to the fragilisation, then ultimately the destruction, of our society.

    Localised, diversified food production is survival-critical in an energy depleting world.

    Which means that both central government and local governments have to constrain the large supermarket groups in order to give both physical and economic spaces to a value chain which promotes local producers, local distributers, local retailers and local buyers to interact.

    I am fascinated that we would use Dutch potatoes. The minimum wage in Holland is roughly $16/hr. Then you have to store, ship, refrigerate the potatoes. Are EU agricultural subsidies making all the difference here?

    • Colonial Rawshark 4.1

      Ahhh I see, youth rates in Holland go as low as $6/hr.

    • weka 4.2

      This would be an area where I see the people needing to lead the way (not waiting for central govt to do anything useful).

      For the people that can afford it and have access, use the Farmers Markets, and support other sources of local food. The people selling at Farmers Markets are often highly motivated and are pioneering the growing and economic models that will be needed to replace the globalised system. They need more support, and the more support they get now the more likely we will be able to make the transition.

      In the bigger centres there are bucky box schemes too, where a group sources local produce and delivers it to your door.

      Buckybox is a software development that allows such schemes to run, so it’s also about other aspects of kiwi ingenuity and working smarter, and ties in with NZ’s other economic potential to sell ITC globally (as opposed to AGW creating and land destroying milk powder)

      http://www.buckybox.com/

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10844166

      One of the local food box schemes,

      https://foodbox.co.nz/

    • Ad 4.3

      Gardening your own vegetables takes too much damn time. And hell there are people a whole bunch better at it than I could ever be. Cash is fine thanks.

      We are pretty blessed in Auckland with as many farmers markets as you can shake a stick at. And it’s not just for the haute-bourgeoise set for our take-home packs of Waiheke Virgin Olive oil. Plenty of them operating at scale in Mangere and Otahuhu.

      I sometimes wonder if Robert Guyton is on an heroic bender that ain’t going to work where he is. There are simply not enough people in Riverton who get what he is trying to do.

      Robert, crazy as it sounds, move to the periphery of Auckland, Wellington, or Whangarei. Stop busting your ass. Buy a patch of land and convert some run-down orchard.

      We have squadloads of green orchard and garden groups, doing their little communitarian thing. Much more fun up here growing your new life in the winterless north!

      • karol 4.3.1

        But then we lose the diversity added by the kinds of crops specific to the lower South Island climate – and not to mention, the people living in Southland lose out in terms of the kinds of local foods available.

        • Ad 4.3.1.1

          Ah! But we would gain Robert!

          • weka 4.3.1.1.1

            Auckland is already well served by localists. Why do you need Guyton?

            • Ad 4.3.1.1.1.1

              Because he’s my hero!

              Seriously I know they need him down there as well.

              There’s just far too many like him.

              I get forced to hang around with Annabelle Langbein – which is an entirely different cultural altogether. I prefer his vibe.

              • weka

                lolz, you’re moving in the wrong circles mate. Try dropping down a few notch or two if you want to find the Guytons in your area.

                • Ad

                  In Wanaka we try and hang out with the Wanaka Wastebusters people – they are pretty cool. And then we rattle our jewellery with the nobs on the weekends.

                  In Auckland particularly in the west we are rather spoilt for choice.

      • Colonial Rawshark 4.3.2

        You are pointing to the vast gulf emerging between the regions and the large cities of NZ. But you’ve ignored Guyton’s comments on how it USED “to work where it is” and how neoliberalism/corporatism over the last 10 years has made it otherwise, and basically said – just adapt to it mate.

        Telling people to leave their family homes and roots is also no answer. In fact, it’s exactly the same as telling people to continue to abandon the regions if they want a job and go to Auckland. Where unless you are in a top 5% pay group, you’re screwed as selling your nice house in Invers or Dunedin will get you 2/5ths of fuck all in Auckland.

        • weka 4.3.2.1

          Ae, and too many people leaving wrecks communities.

          btw, the post is written by Dave Kennedy, not Robert Guyton.

        • Ad 4.3.2.2

          Nostalgia and windmill-tilting.

          Regrettably in New Zealand, the majority of the customers are Hamilton north.

          I love what he does. I’ve seen the before and after shots of what he did on his little place. He’s heroic. We get advice off his site all the time.

          And there are plenty of co-ops to buy into up here. Especially around Whangarei if you want it cheap. The co-ops and communes in its periphery are terrific.

          It simply doesn’t sound much fun being isolated, seeing what hope there could be disappear, seeing the little battles lost year after year.

          At least you have the Dunedin market – which is as close to a Breugel painting for village interaction as I have seen anywhere.

          • weka 4.3.2.2.1

            Southland isn’t isolated. What are you talking about?

            “Regrettably in New Zealand, the majority of the customers are Hamilton north.”

            This misses the point entirely. The point is that each area can produce food locally, and are currently being prevented from doing so by corportate and bureacratic interests.

            Kennedy’s post focusses on what’s not working in the context of neoliberalism, but don’t assume that this means there’s nothing good going on south of Hamilton. The South Island is full of people that are leading the way in sustainable land management and food production (bet the lower NI is too). These are the people that will save us when the shit hits the fan. Large population isn’t the asset you think it is.

          • vto 4.3.2.2.2

            Isolated ….ha ha, if anywhere is isolated it is Auckland, stuck as it is right near the top of the lands. And the only way out is via horrid multi-cars, plane or boat …….

            The empty lands of NZ are not the isolated lands matey, it is the packed lands that are isolated. You just need to take off your personalised glasses and look objectively to realise this ……. of course being stuck in the retail – Waiheke – motorways – retail – Matakana – motorways – consumerism – Parnell – motorways – cars – cars – cars – sad existence of a mad consumerist society it will be nigh impossible to imagine this to be so

            • Robertguyton 4.3.2.2.2.1

              It’d be a pleasure. I’ve some red currants to pick and nectarine seedlings to plant out – once I’ve done that, I’ll get tapping.

              Robert

      • weka 4.3.3

        Riverton is the perfect place for the Guytons to be. You can’t shift the oldest food forest in NZ to Auckland. You can’t save and restore Southland’s heritage apples trees from Auckland. You can’t support the shift back to local production from Auckland either (the Guytons and others are having an impact down South).

        Besides, RG is on the local regional council, which is massive. Complete waste if he went up north.

        Ad, you comment strikes me as the epitome of individualist culture. You take a crucial social and environmental issue that is about the good of all and reframe it to be about one person’s self interest.

        • Ad 4.3.3.1

          Oh I’m not being too serious.

          He just sounds like he’s going to spend his life losing, and there are few good people like him to see that kind of effort go to ease.

          • weka 4.3.3.1.1

            What makes you think he is losing? That’s a pretty weird comment tbh, given how successful the Guytons are.

            • Ad 4.3.3.1.1.1

              I was reading the post above and pretty much it all looked like losing.
              Admittedly I got the author wrong, but it would apply whomever the author was.

              • weka

                I’ve already pointed this out. Kenedy is talking about a specific aspect of food production and how neoliberalism is blocking it. He puts that in a Southland context but the core issues apply across the country.

  5. Dammit, it was going so well until the “ZOMG OBESITY!!!!” panic-mongering. Would the supermarket duopoly not be a problem if everyone were thin?

    • weka 5.1

      I think the question is more ‘would eating junk food/highly processed food not be a problem if everyone were thin?”

      (the answer to which is yes, it would still be a problem, IMO).

    • The Murphey 5.2

      Q. Stephanie Rodgers are you ok ?

  6. vto 6

    Neoliberal policies and the market-driven approach has failed, clearly, and the food supply is another example as so amply evidenced here by mr bsprout.

    Failures include;

    Leaky buildings.
    Global financial crisis
    Pike River
    Food supply

    there are many others, please add ……

    To think that some people such as gosman, Rodney Hide, Prebble etc think that people make their decisions solely on price ….. sheesh, the most short-sighted, shallow, brainless idea ever in the life of manwomankind

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    The free market trade system has meant that our local producers have to compete in international markets where carbon footprints and worker exploitation are not factored.

    Basically, the ‘free-market’ system has managed to persuade us that the more expensive items are cheaper.

  8. coaster 8

    Plums on the west coast 10.99 per kilo.

    lucky I have a number of trees, admitaly they have spots, arnt huge and not the nice colour the supermarkets have, but the taste a hell of a lot better.

    The regions are screwed for choice, there are no markets, no other options other than supermarkets or grow your own. But we do have big sections at cheaper prices and the gumption and ability to grow some of our own.

    Another upside are the kids in the regions that know where the fruit and veges come from, and have eaten food right out of the garden.

    the sad thing is how hard it is to get meat, rather than the crap meat we have in the supermarkets, there are no local butchers on the west coast anymore, so supermarkets are the main source, unless you have frinds with lambs or beefys.

  9. DoublePlusGood 9

    Market fruit and veg is way cheaper than supermarket fruit and veg in Wellington, and of higher quality in general. It’s strange to me that a supermarket can manage to undercut the farmers market food in Invercargill.

    • Our main fruit and vege growers come from Central Otago and are small enterprises and they can generally undercut supermarkets, but not always. Supermarkets often discount some lines to levels where they can’t compete on price, although our quality is better. Sadly the majority of Invercargill (remember $27,400 is our median income) are price focussed. It is also about economies of scale, I don’t think our population can support many smaller providers of fruit and vegetables.

  10. Corokia 10

    Regarding type 2 diabetes, for diabetics (and the huge number of people who are ‘prediabetics’) to manage blood sugar levels we need to know the ‘glycemic index= GI’ of foods. I know this is a bit of a tangent, but most of the processed food sold in supermarkets is ‘high GI’, and makes obesity and diabetes worse. It is rare for the GI of any food to be on the label. Supermarkets have lots of ‘gluten free’ products (especially in wealthy suburbs), but its just tough shit if you are diabetic. We are told that diabetes is a major cost to the health system but unless low GI food is clearly labelled and available at reasonable prices, the problem is only going to get a lot worse.

  11. saveNZ 11

    Great article. Considering we are a food producing nation there needs to be more debate on this issue. One way that stupid decisions are made are to look at everything in a very narrow field that does not take into account other costs and outcomes. i.e. as you say hospitals, now the food is being outsourced to presumably save money, however other issues like ability to supply locally grown healthy food, ability of food to achieve greater health outcomes, loss of local jobs, loss of quality jobs i.e. replacement of jobs for zero hour contracts, poorer conditions etc, loss of control of the health care provider to actually make decisions regarding the food that it serves, the pollution and carbon miles produced by dehydrated and off shore food, GM food that is not labeled, pesticides etc in the food (new practise put everything in chloride to kill all germs but not sure how much long term testing has been applied to this especially in the context of sick people), more plastic and rubbish produced by the “food”.

    Quality is not given the same level of hierarchy as cost. And many cost of ‘cheap’ unhealthy food is borne by the government and consumer in a case of corporate welfare. i.e. rubbish

    One really interesting article I read recently about ‘coca – cola capitalism’ describes how the state became responsible for disposing and recycling waste products of companies rather than the company themselves. i.e.

    The organization launched in 1953, as Coca-Cola, along with PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch and others, were making the switch from returnable glass bottles, which they cleaned and refilled themselves, to the “one-way” metal and plastic bottles we’re used to today, a cost-cutting move that shifted the burden of responsibility for dealing with the bottles onto consumers. Keep America Beautiful’s public service campaigns, as Bartow J. Elmore, a professor of environmental history at the University of Alabama, describes it, basically served to reinforce this new message: That America’s trash problem was the fault of individuals littering — not of the manufacturers that produced that litter in the first place. Taxpayers are the ones who end up funding expensive recycling programs, Elmore argues, for precisely the same reason.

    http://www.salon.com/2015/01/02/coca_colas_anti_american_outsourcing_scheme_how_big_soda_gets_the_public_to_shoulder_its_costs/

    • Good comment, saveNZ, the external costs of any product should be factored in to the price. The higher taxation on tobacco, helps to cover the external costs of healthcare that normally has to be borne by the taxpayer. There should be similar taxes placed on processed food that leads to poor health and diabetes. Price recognition for the lower carbon footprint involved with eating local food would be useful. Southlanders should be buying locally grown potatoes at their supermarket.

  12. millsy 12

    Its good to see that we have a former National Party cabinet minister somehow coming to the conclusion that questioning why we are eating Chinese processed fish means we support USSR-style collectivisation of agriculture ay gunpoint.

  13. Glenn 13

    10 years ago I picked and packaged a few dozen bags of coloured heirloom tomatoes and took them to the New Plymouth SPCA bootsale. Upon arrival the person in charge of the market took my $5 entry fee then informed me that I could sell the tomatoes that day but for future markets I would need a New Plymouth District Council food handling certificate. Cost $50 from the District Council.
    I thought fuck em and after giving friends and neighbours any excesses dumped what I didn’t need.
    Bureaucratic bastards.

    • weka 13.1

      I think they were wrong. You don’t need a certificate to sell unprocessed garden produce. Maybe this varies from council to council but think roadside stalls selling fruit and veg.

    • Our Council tried to hit some of our stallholders with a considerable sum for a food license (cooked food) but it was for a full year and we negotiated it down to a daily rate which was minimal.

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    New Zealand is pushing on with efforts to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share of tax, with the release of proposed options for a digital services tax (DST). In February Cabinet agreed to consult the public on the problem ...
    2 weeks ago