web analytics

Mission-On off

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, March 26th, 2009 - 21 comments
Categories: budget 2009, health, national/act government - Tags: ,

If the definition of PC is doing things because they fit an ideology, not because they make sense, then it’s clear National and ACT are pushing their own PC agenda.

It’s out with successful and value-for-money programs like Mission-On. For a small cost now in helping kids develop healthy eating habits we will save ourselves the huge costs of obesity-related illnesses in the future.

Mission-On has to go though because Key is ideologically opposed to “telling parents ‘make sure your child eats their fruit and vegetables'” – a statement that shows Key doesn’t even know who the program is directed at.

It doesn’t matter that it works. Misson-On is just one of dozens of small, successful programs that the government is getting rid of on ideological grounds using the recession as an excuse. Meanwhile, billions can be found to give tax cuts to the rich.

The writing’s on the wall. It’s going to be very black budget.

21 comments on “Mission-On off ”

  1. Tim Ellis 1

    Interesting post, Tane.

    It’s out with successful and value-for-money programs like Mission-On.

    It’d be nice to know whether it’s successful or value-for-money. $15.7 million a year for the programme, for 25,000 registered users, sounds very expensive. How do we know how successful it is? Has the analysis been done? Do we know by international examples whether a programme like this does actually achieve its outcomes? Are its outcomes to get as many people as possible to access the website, or actually reduce obesity? What evidence is there of the latter?

    For a small cost now in helping kids develop healthy eating habits we will save ourselves the huge costs of obesity-related illnesses in the future.

    Again, it’d be nice to know that it actually works. There’s an increasing amount of itnernational research that school-based anti-obesity programmes have almost nil impact on reducing obesity rates in children. Does anyone have an idea whether creating websites actually has any effect? Has the research been done?

    It’s obvious that poor eating habits are a problem, but I don’t think throwing millions of dollars a year at pie-in-the-sky solutions when you don’t know how effective the spending is, is a very good use of taxpayers’ money.

    • Ianmac 1.1

      If there has not been enough research to prove that the Mission On and suchlike work, equally has there been good research to prove that it doesn’t work? Or just can it because they can, can?

  2. Tigger 2

    It is symptomatic of National’s ‘treat the symptoms, not the disease’ philosophy. For example, more money on roads but less on getting people out of cars. More money (supposedly) on doctors but less on treating causes of hospital visits (obesity for example).

    Of course, in medical terms if you constantly treat the symptoms and don’t tackle the disease the patient will die.

    • trademark 2.1

      I’ll throw in a baseless conspiracy theory here – by treating the symptoms and not the disease, National will ensure a continued need for these services in the future. That way, if they get more successive terms in government, and they start privatizing state services off, they’ll be able to guarantee a large market to offshore conglomerates and rake in a few more dollars. Hey, there’s too many morbidly obese people, time to let the private sector show us how to innovate rather than expand state services to cope with the problem we created ’cause you know, big government is communism and all.

      But seeing how short-term (sustainability-wise) the government’s thinking seems to be on this and so many other issues in so many other domains, even this outlandish conspiracy theory could be seen as flattery!

  3. r0b 3

    It’d be nice to know whether it’s successful

    Schools certainly seem to think so:
    http://mission-on.tki.org.nz/physical_activity_case_studies
    http://mission-on.tki.org.nz/student_well_being_case_studies

    $15.7 million a year for the programme, for 25,000 registered users

    You’re munging your figures. $3.7 million for the website with 25,000 registered users, $15.7 million for the whole program which is broader than that.

    Again, it’d be nice to know that it actually works.

    See school case studies above.

    There’s an increasing amount of itnernational research that school-based anti-obesity programmes have almost nil impact on reducing obesity rates in children.

    I’d be interested to see some citations, but I can well believe it. Programmes in schools may not be sufficient on their own, but they can be part of a solution which is sufficient. This is an argument to extend such programmes to other sectors, not to cut them. Education and prevention is one of the most effective ways to spend health dollars.

    It’s obvious that poor eating habits are a problem, but I don’t think throwing millions of dollars a year at pie-in-the-sky solutions when you don’t know how effective the spending is, is a very good use of taxpayers’ money.

    Are you describing John’s cycleway?? Hmmm. Try typing “school nutrition education outcomes” into google, and browse the 333,000 hits.

    gotta go…

  4. Ianmac 4

    Rob well said.

  5. Tim Ellis 5

    Thanks for your comments r0b.

    You’re munging your figures. $3.7 million for the website with 25,000 registered users, $15.7 million for the whole program which is broader than that.

    Point taken. $3.7 million seems like a large amount of money to spend on a website.

    See school case studies above.

    I had a browse through some of those case studies, and it appears that the more relevant case studies are at http://mission-on.tki.org.nz/food_and_nutrition_case_studies . What strikes me in looking through them is that the case studies are in a standard format, but there doesn’t appear to be any measure of the effectiveness of the school-based plans. It’s all very well to ban pastries and fizzy drinks from tuck shops, but how do you know if it has any impact on reducing obesity if you don’t measure it? There is no analysis in any of the case studies of how effective they have been.

  6. Ari 6

    The writing’s on the wall. It’s going to be very black budget.

    My understanding was that it will be a very red budget 😉

  7. QoT 7

    I hate to be a total downer, but can I safely assume that “obesity-related illnesses” mean “illnesses the media loves to say are related to obesity, because correlation is totally the same as causation”? Can I further safely assume that the measurement of “obesity” is everybody’s favourite incorrectly-applied tool, the BMI scale?

    John Key’s reasoning may be flawed and uninformed, but let’s focus on that and not ZOMG FAT IS UNHEALTHY THINK OF THE CHILDREN hysteria.

  8. gingercrush 8

    I don’t get how such a website costs 3.7 million or even how 3 million is justified. But alas I’m not a webmaster. So L. Prent you surely are the most knowledgeable about this stuff here. Is 3.7 million a lot?

    The program has some value in it. Though I still don’t get why it costs as much as it does.

    • lprent 8.1

      The difference is that we do not charge for the writing, research, pictures, video, etc. We also don’t pay for any of those things. Similarly we work with available material, and generally to not create new content except as an interpretation.

      We also do not provide secure servers for 7 year olds.

      Add all of those and the bill is high.

      • gingercrush 8.1.1

        I realise that and wasn’t expecting some comparison to this website. I just thought perhaps you could confirm why it would cost 3 million which I still believe to be very high.

      • Felix 8.1.2

        It does still sound like a lot, doesn’t it?

        We also do not provide secure servers for 7 year olds.

        Not secure ones, but still…

  9. Lanthanide 9

    “Mission-On has to go though because Key is ideologically opposed to “telling parents ‘make sure your child eats their fruit and vegetables” – a statement that shows Key doesn’t even know who the program is directed at.”

    I’m sorry, but that’s just a bit naieve and not giving Key enough credit.

    I’m sure he has a good idea what is in the programme and knows that it is more directed towards children. What he is doing here is whipping up all the NACT supporters by saying “look at that silly Labour nanny government and the things they wasted money on! Telling parents to tell their children to eat vegetables? Well duh, we can do that without spending $15 million a year”.

    He’s deliberately misrepresenting Misson-On and how it is implemented so that he can down-play it’s usefulness and therefore axe it with a minimum of fuss.

    Yes John Key is stupid, but he is also savvy (how else does a smiling face become the PM of a country so soon after joining a political party?).

  10. Trevor Mallard 10

    Can someone source Key’s comments for me please. Mission On is very early in its life and had been a brilliant example of bringing government agencies together. If John Key hasn’t worked out that overweight underexercised young people are a major and potentially very expensive health risk then he is even more superficial than i had assummed. To give Nats credit they initiated Push Play which has informed Mission on. Those programmes and the Green Prescriptions have won international awards and are designed to help us maintain our position in the first place for physical activity in the OECD, As a taxpayer I think they are a great investment and Key can’t know many people with diabetes if he is chopping them.

    • Felix 10.1

      Here you go Trevor, from Key’s website:

      The quote is from this speech apparently to Waitakere Electorate Lunch, Henderson, dated June 30 2008.

    • Tim Ellis 10.2

      That’s all very well Mr Mallard, and I appreciate that you seem to think it is a great investment. But where is your evidence that the investment is actually achieving the intended outcomes of making children more physically active, and reducing their likelihood of obesity?

      I haven’t seen a string of evidence to suggest either of these outcomes are being achieved. If you’ve got any, I would love to see it. With respect to you, your government introduced a range of these programmes, and I think it’s a real failure on your part, if they have been effective, that you haven’t been able to demonstrate how they’ve been effective.

      Just saying it’s a “great investment” doesn’t work, in my view, unless you can demonstrate what returns have been achieved. Those returns aren’t evident at all in the Mission On website.

  11. justthefacts 11

    “Can someone source Key’s comments for me please.”

    Just as lazy in opposition as you were in government aye Trev.

    We pay you far more than you are worth, why not spend your time doing your own research and less time on here.

  12. SaveOurKids 12

    rOb obviouly knows what he is talking about. The numbers are spot on. However, you have to take the $3.7M into context. The website build was a small proportion of this spend. The research, school curriculum development, initial design, software licenses, hosting costs, engineering support, etc. is all in this $3.7M. In the commercial world, we would call this Development Capital – I wonder how much McDonald’s spends in developing new plastic toys for their Happy Meals each year?

    Also, this site has a 24 hour/7 day a week moderator service – that is, an couple of adults watching the chat rooms, user uploaded content and emails to make sure that all is legitimate. In a recent example, an 8 yo boy used his Mission-On email messageing to tell his friends he was going to kill himself. It took about 15-20 minutes to locate his parents and make sure the little fellow was not serious. Luckily he wasn’t – this service is not cheap but part of a Duty of Care required in this day and age.

    The Mission-On website has over 27,000 users and growing steadily. As a point of comparison the-hub, the offshot to the kid’s TV programme, Studio Two has around 30,000 registered users and that site is promoted daily on the TV show.

    Lastly and then I’ll shut-up, if you want to talk to kids watching too much TV or spending too much time on-line where do you go – on-line or to TV?

    Consider what a waste it would be to now “pull the plug” on the website, that is to literally turn it off. The money has already been spent – who is wasteful now?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Update to air border order strengthens crew requirements
    Additional measures coming into effect on Monday will boost our defence against COVID-19 entering New Zealand through the air border, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “As part of our precautionary approach and strategy of constant review, we’re tightening the requirements around international aircrew,” Chris Hipkins said. The COVID-19 Public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • A true picture of Māori business activity
    A better picture of the contribution Māori businesses make to the economy will be possible with changes to the way information is collected about companies and trading enterprises. Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced a new option for Māori enterprises who are part ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF funding for Taranaki projects
    The South Taranaki museum, a New Plymouth distillery and a Pasifika building firm will benefit from a Government investment totalling more than $1 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The $1.05m in grants and loans from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will help the recipients expand and create ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Fijian Language Week 2020 inspires courage and strength during COVID-19 pandemic
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the theme for the 2020 Fijian Language Week reflects the strong belief by Fijians that their language and culture inspires courage and strength that is strongly needed in times of emergencies, or through a significant challenge like the global COVID-19 pandemic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Trades training builds on iwi aspirations
    An investment of $2.025 million from the Māori Trades and Training Fund will support Māori to learn new skills while making a positive difference for their communities, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “K3 Development Limited Partnership will receive $2,025,000 for its Takitimu Tuanui apprenticeship programme, which will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago