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Obesity policy ignores elephant in the room

Written By: - Date published: 7:29 am, October 20th, 2015 - 182 comments
Categories: health, poverty - Tags: , , ,

Obesity is a difficult topic to write about, so some quick preliminaries. First, people have a lot of natural variation in healthy body shapes and types, it is perfectly possible to be “fat” and healthy. Second, obesity is in part a socioeconomic issue and a function of the way that poverty limits options. Third, “fat shaming” is nasty, unhelpful, and far too prevalent.

Having said that, one doesn’t need to pick on individuals to acknowledge that collectively the incidence of obesity in rich countries is increasing, that it represents a significant public (and in many cases personal) health issue with multiple consequences, and that NZ is doing particularly poorly in these respects. As a society we have a problem.

Back in the heady days of opposition National regarded cynically portrayed government attempts to tackle obesity as nanny state meddling. One of the first things they did as in incoming government was to scrap Labour’s effective Healthy Eating-Healthy Action programme and guidelines around junk food in school (such a blow for freedom!). But looking at health costs in government isn’t so funny, and even the Nats have been forced to take action. Of a sort:

Government targets overweight mums, toddlers, to combat childhood obesity

The Government has announced a wide-ranging package to tackle childhood obesity, which is set to overtake tobacco next year as the leading preventable health risk.

A total of 22 separate initiative announced by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman include referring more overweight children for dieting and exercise interventions from the age of 4.

“At the core of the plan is a new childhood obesity health target. This target will be part of the health targets programme from 1 July 2016,” Coleman said. “By December 2017, 95 per cent of children identified as obese in the B4 School Check will be referred to an appropriate health professional for clinical assessment and family based nutrition, activity and lifestyle interventions.” …

National’s policy is to try and shut the barn door after the horse has bolted.

But Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills, a paediatrician, says the moves will not cut obesity and could even harm children. He said on Monday there was no evidence that referring more children to health programmes would shrink their expanding waistlines.

“Until we address the underlying drivers of obesity, counselling and referral to programmes, however well intentioned, will have very little effect.”

Exactly.

There are probably several “underlying drivers of obesity”, but one of the big ones is the sugar that is increasingly built in to our diets. It is well studied in the academic literature (eg eg eg eg). It is widely covered in the popular literature (eg eg eg eg). So what do we do about it?

One of the common suggestions is a tax on sugar. Taxes work for reducing alcohol and tobacco consumption (here’s the MSD recommending alcohol tax, the government using tobacco tax to reduce consumption, and the Public Health Association recommending both taxes). But the Nats have ruled out taxing sugar (and fat), despite the advice of their own chief scientist:

Don’t rule out sugar tax – PM’s chief scientist

The Prime Minister’s chief science adviser says it is “silly” to rule out sugar and fat taxes to tackle the obesity epidemic.

But that’s essentially what the Government has done, with Health Minister Jonathan Coleman last month saying there were no plans for any kind of regulation, and Prime Minister John Key claiming there was nothing wrong with eating junk food, “as long you just don’t do it every day” …

So why use tax as tool to reduce alcohol and tobacco, but rule it out for sugar? Could it have anything to do with the National connected sugar lobbyists like Katherine Rich, the “Taxpayers Union”, and Dirty Politics star Carrick Graham? Surely not.

Whatever, as it happens I agree with the sugar lobby – to an extent. Taxing sugar isn’t the general solution. It works for alcohol and tobacco because these are inessential “luxuries”. Food is different. The problem with taxing sugar is that manufacturers will keep adding it, and pass on the cost to the consumer. Highly processed sugar rich food will get more expensive, and that doesn’t help families who are eating such food because it is the cheapest option and makes their limited dollars go further. So by all means tax unnecessary items like sugar drinks, but I think a tax on sugar in food would be counterproductive.

What we need is regulation. Reduce the sugar content in processed food by law without increasing the cost. If more can be done to bring down the cost (and increase the availability) of healthier food options then so much the better. Can I leave you with the words of Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills, as quoted above, once again:

“Until we address the underlying drivers of obesity, counselling and referral to programmes, however well intentioned, will have very little effect.”

182 comments on “Obesity policy ignores elephant in the room”

  1. Paul 1

    Radio New Zealand gets heading wrong.

    Writes ‘Government tackles childhood obesity.’

    Should have written ‘Government fails to tackle childhood obesity.’
    Or maybe the French tackled Julian Savea.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/287423/government-tackles-childhood-obesity

  2. RedBaronCV 2

    As I posted in daily review yesterday (please feel free to shift it) the current policy heavily targets about 16,500 women & children to blame and shame leaving the remaining 1,000,000+ to continue eating chips and drinking beer and coke while they laugh at them and assume no personal responsibility

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    National regarded government attempts to tackle obesity as nanny state meddling.

    That’s pretty charitable. I’d say they saw an opportunity to score political points against the nation’s interests. Their subsequent behaviour demonstrates that they have zero philosophical objections to state intervention.

    cf: Katherine Rich’s conflicts of interest.

  4. Benby 4

    At a kids clothing store, part of a large chain, my 3yo was almost offered a lollie last week. At least the lady asked me first. Please discuss.

    • Kiwiri 4.1

      Zzzzzz

      • The Fairy Godmother 4.1.1

        But it is a good point. If we as a society want to blame parents for obesity its hardly fair if random people in random places hand out kids sweets.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1

          Why do people look to ‘blame’ at all? Judgement being such a massive part of the problem. It’s a pernicious narrative, from “personal responsibility” to “bad choices” to “bad parents” and down into the mire.

          As for candy, I just looked up its history…and medical origins… 🙂

        • Rosemary McDonald 4.1.1.2

          In the dairy the other day.

          A plastic toy in the shape of a baby’s bottle, complete with nipple…full of lollies.

          Arrrgh!

          Most fun?

          Take small children to the supermarket late in the afternoon and DON”T tell them off when they grab at the chocs and lollies in the checkout aisle.

          Serves the supermarket right.

      • Benby 4.1.2

        Not sure you have kids. Let me tell you that one lollie can ruin a whole lot of things. So many levels.

        * The sugar and the colouring gets that small body all hyped up, then after about 15min super cranky, throwing a long hard tantrum. That nice Sunday with daddy is then dead.

        * Habit forming. What if everyone on the street offers them lollies…

        * Diabetes inducing. Ask your GP about that.

        * The next meal of veges and chickpeas may just not happen.

        etc
        etc

  5. heather tanguay 5

    Ffs wake up Coleman, it is not that hard. HEALTHY FOOd is too expensive, low income and beneficiaries can not afford to but it.
    take the gst off fresh food, do not humiliate low income people any more.
    when you can not buy milk, have to buy $1 bread, eat cheap filLing burgers which are discounted, of course you and your children will be chunky.
    the cost of fresh foods are prohibitive.
    yes, stop advertising and the selling of fizz at schools
    do not persecute people can not afford anything else.

    • infused 5.1

      It’s actually not that expensive if you educate yourself on healthy food.

      Unless you want to buy organic/free range everything.

      • tracey 5.1.1

        HEHA educated on healthy food, from the very young. But your government didnt support educating the very young on the right way/things to eat.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.2

        Of course it’s expensive: if National start educating people on healthy food, Cabinet Club takings will fall and those MPs pushing the policy will find themselves deselected.

      • tracey 5.1.3

        yes, and they should be reducing their debts too.

        it’s like some people just don’t know how to use $14.50 per hour properly

        🙄

        • infused 5.1.3.1

          Sounds like it.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.3.1.1

            Why is the vile blame culture you espouse so full of hate?

            • tracey 5.1.3.1.1.1

              cos everything infused has was achieved with no state support and just through his/her extreme hard work and intelligence. never got abreak from anything or anyone.

            • tracey 5.1.3.1.1.2

              The minimum wage rates are reviewed every year. The current adult minimum wage rates (before tax) that apply for employees aged 16 or over are:

              $14.75 an hour; which is:
              $118.00 for an 8-hour day or
              $590.00 for a 40-hour week or
              $1,180.00 for a 80-hour fortnight. ($994 after tax)

    • yabby 5.3

      In preparing our children for their future we need to dispel the myth that slow and healthy food ways is expensive. It is not expensive to live frugally and healthily – not in the least.
      Fresh bread can be made, rather than bought for less than a dollar a loaf. Porridge and weetbix start the day very cheaply, while bread, grains, pulses with tinned fish with vegetables, cheese can constitute a cheap lunch. Meat for four along with root and leafy vegetables can cost as little as $2-3 p.p and limiting desserts and snacks to dairy (cheap powdered milk based treats)popped corn, rice and fruit – fresh in season or dried is cheap and healthy.
      All it takes is a little forethought and some organisation. I’d suggest that it’s a lot less effort and money than getting in a car and dashing down to Maccas for the burgers you mention.
      Satisfying a child’s impulse gratification over learning the value of preparation and patience is wrong. Patience in the young child is an indicator of success or otherwise in later life.

      *Use dried milk
      *Bake own bread
      *Learn to use pulses
      *Invest a slow or pressure cooker
      *Grow your own food – potatoes grown in tyres feed a family for a year as cana few tomato plants and a freezer

      • McFlock 5.3.1

        what the hell are “pulses”?

      • Ergo Robertina 5.3.2

        I disagree with pretty much all of your comment – you appear to have little understanding of how NZ has changed socially and economically in the past 35 years – but I have to say the typical Kiwi attitude to pulses does rather grate.
        They are a source of cheap protein, easy to use, and vastly under-rated. The typical Kiwi assumes you’re vegetarian if you use them, which is bizarre (for me it’s actually closer to the truth these days, but I used to eat meat once a week or so when I preferred decent quality and less of it).
        I’m a fan of mung beans, which get a bad rap for no reason. They’re easy to sprout, and I’d have them on the go all the time if I didn’t live in the subantarctic climes of the South. But in the warmer months sprouts are a useful addition to any meal.
        And mung bean stew with canned tomatoes, frozen spinach, and whatever else is around is a good standby at any time.

    • Chch_chiquita 5.4

      Agree. A walk around the supermarket will demonstrate all that is wrong with our diet. Too expensive fresh food, too much cheap processed food.
      I would add to that the ever disappearing local vege shop so that people have to drive to the supermarket. Add to that the need to work more and more hours, which cuts into the available free time people have, and voilà you have the roots to start an obesity problem.

      • crashcart 5.4.1

        They had a great line in “That Sugar Film” where they tell you when you walk into a supermarket go to the produce lane which is at the start then go straight to meat and Dairy. Skip every tihng in between.

  6. AmaKiwi 6

    Singapore conquered obesity.

    How? With strong policies which trampled on multi-national corporations’ “freedom” to sell junk food (poisons).

    When your purpose for being in government is to increase the wealth of the few at the expense of the many, you don’t have options to create a healthier, fairer country.

  7. savenz 7

    I’m pro a sugar tax and regulation. A lot of stuff people are eating that is cheap is full of sugar and has not nutritional content. It should even be allowed to be sold as food and the people eating it, do not understand it is bad for them.

    Has anyone in MSM bothered to point out that the Natz (was it under urgency?) scrapped Labour’s effective Healthy Eating-Healthy Action programme and guidelines around junk food in school and now we need to use taxpayers money to try to clean up the mess, and against their chief scientist and commissioner advice on what to do?

  8. There are probably several “underlying drivers of obesity”, but one of the big ones is the sugar that is increasingly built in to our diets.

    If by “sugar” you mean stuff ending in “ose,” sugar is indeed bad but in overall terms not that big a deal. However, if by “sugar” you mean the stuff ending in “ose” and the more complex ones generally known as carbohydrates (sometimes also by the grotesque misnomer “healthy food”), you’re absolutely right. However, “experts” are the problem, not the solution.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      🙄

      Do you cherry-pick expert engineers too? Why are they not “the problem” in their field? Is the premise distorted by personal bias much?

      • Psycho Milt 8.1.1

        Expertise in the fields of science, maths and engineering is fundamentally different in nature from “expertise” in the social sciences. It’s possible for engineers and scientists to be influenced by correlation = causation errors and confirmation bias, but it isn’t their stock-in-trade.

  9. Chooky 9

    Interesting if you look at photos of kids and adults in the 50s and earlier …they are all skinny

    Interesting also that doctors are saying that a referral for obesity is not going to do anything

    imo for what it is worth:

    ….all kids should be taught vege gardening and how to make easy cheap vegetarian meals using lentils , rice, potatoes, vege soups, pasta, eggs, porridge, salads, fruit smoothies using yoghurt

    …and meat dishes using cheap cuts of meat( eg slow cooking stewing steak, liver, kidneys…)…curries and spices for taste

    …gluten free flour, olive oil and butter for cooking

    ….and water/ milk/tea/coffee for drinking( 1 litre of water a day)

    …with the emphasis that home cooking is best

    taxes and red warning stickers should be put on products…soft drinks and anything supposedly healthy bought with excessive amounts of sugar eg. milo , baked beans,

    …exercising /walking for an hour a day is also good…especially when so much time is spent on computers

    (btw… i don’t follow my own advice)

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1

      walking

      Bingo.

      Oh, and gluten…a bit of a social contagion…better clutch at belief a bit harder ‘cos the facts won’t go away.

      Ditto Aspartame.

      • weka 9.1.1

        Piece of trash reporting there. Of course gluten intolerance isn’t a discrete entity, thus studying it as if it is is a redunancy (if I were to put it kindly). A really good example of where reductionist science fails when it doesn’t need to though.

        “walking

        Bingo.”

        Where the science is getting pretty good is at demonstrating that fat metabolism (and thus managing body size, diet, nutrition, health etc) is far more complex than balancing calorie intake and exericse each day.

        • RedLogix 9.1.1.1

          Ditto…. that puts it very succinctly weka.

          The whole science around human nutrition is complex, evolving and quite fascinating. For instance after decades of telling us saturated fats are bad, it turns out they aren’t. The entire field is slowly being turned on it’s head.

          In far too many debates (from climate change onward) we make the mistake of thinking ‘science = infallibility’. It isn’t. People fool themselves all the time; and between this and their inherent tendency towards reductionism, scientists get it wrong too.

          Of course this doesn’t mean the opposite is true either, that therefore every idle fantasy and crackpot delusion on the internet must therefore be gold-standard verity.

          Combine this with our weirdly unhelpful habit of binary thinking – and we erase all the nuances and alternate possibilities from far too many debates.

          • weka 9.1.1.1.1

            yep, let’s apply critical thinking to everything 🙂

          • McFlock 9.1.1.1.2

            I think part of the issue is the communication of research on complex issues and the state of knowledge we have.

            e.g. “bad” fats vs “good” fats (hell, also where you keep it as well as what types you eat) is the endpoint of the pathway beginning with research, through political intervention, food marketing, and the yoyodiet/healthsupplements industries, and then through the media.

            Hell, a similar example is the number of posts currently in my news feed that have artists’ impressions of the dyson sphere that we’ve apparently just discovered. Well, that or an extrasolar debris cloud, but that last bit is always buried in the small print.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.2

          Speaking of good science, I note that the debunking was carried out by the original author, irrespective of the reporting, trash or otherwise.

          I further note the plethora of peer-reviewed articles drawing the same conclusion. Still, special woo is special woo, freedom of religion and all that.

          • weka 9.1.1.2.1

            I bet you still think fat is bad too.

            The thing I find so interesting about such an intelligent person as yourself is the intellectual dishonesty. Try responding to the actual points instead of from your own superstition and prejudice.

            • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.2.1.1

              some people have raised rationalism, materialism and scientism to the status of a high religious faith.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                How would you know? Some people think evidence, despite its acknowledged limitations, carries more weight than belief. Some people think you have to shake it, not stir it, or the woo won’t work.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Some people think evidence, despite its acknowledged limitations, carries more weight than belief.

                  Sure, and that’s a valid belief of theirs.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.2.1.2

              Try responding to the actual points instead of from your own superstition and prejudice.

              Pot, meet kettle. If I quote evidence I’m a rigid scientism fanatic, apparently. You just lost your wager. How about you read no more into what I say than what’s actually on the page?

              • Colonial Viper

                How about you read no more into what I say than what’s actually on the page?

                You want to be interpreted as being strictly two dimensional? OK.

    • tracey 9.2

      war rationing?

    • AmaKiwi 9.3

      Chooky

      “Interesting if you look at photos of kids and adults in the 50s and earlier …they are all skinny”

      +100

      Only I wouldn’t say it’s “interesting.” It’s damning of the greed of the poison food merchants of slow death.

      • tracey 9.3.1

        and the difficulties of war-time and aftermath in terms of world food supplies

        peeeps deffo more active in those days tho.

    • D'Esterre 9.4

      @ Chooky: “…photos of kids and adults in the 50s and earlier …they are all skinny ”

      No they weren’t: I was around in the 50s. There were just fewer of them…some real blimps though. And they were like that on all that home coking we ate in those days, and despite the fact that we all walked or biked to school, and played outside every fine – and even rainy – day.

      “.all kids should be taught vege gardening and how to make easy cheap vegetarian meals using lentils , rice, potatoes, vege soups, pasta, eggs, porridge, salads, fruit smoothies using yoghurt

      …and meat dishes using cheap cuts of meat( eg slow cooking stewing steak, liver, kidneys…)…curries and spices for taste

      …gluten free flour, olive oil and butter for cooking

      ….and water/ milk/tea/coffee for drinking( 1 litre of water a day)”

      Some of this is counsel of perfection, some just wrong. Only celiacs need gluten-free anything. The rest of us benefit nutritionally from gluten. Nobody needs to drink a litre of water a day; by and large, we get what we need from our food and drink.

      Teaching kids to grow veg: a good thing to do, but not everyone has either the space or environment in which to grow stuff. Vegetarian meals: children in particular have difficulty keeping up B12 levels on such a regime, unless the diet is carefully managed.

      Liver and kidneys? Good luck with that sort of food in many households: I can’t get offal past the noses of this household. And I wouldn’t force it on my worst enemy.

      The issue of weight is very complex. None of us should blame parents and children for the nutritional environment in which we now live. The Clark administration had begun on the necessary macro-environmental changes we desperately need. But those measures were overturned by the current administration, so now we’re more than half a decade behind the eight-ball, and in a much worse situation. We also need more regulation and food-related taxes; people may scream about it, but we’re in desperate straits now. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

  10. Chooky 10

    In the crusade against sugar we have to be careful that we also warn absolutely against ‘diet sugars’ eg Aspartame…which do not cause weight loss and which can be lethal

    https://www.google.co.nz/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=aspartame%20danger

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      “Lethal”.

      Ghoulish fearmonger with no ethics makes false statement on blog.

      • RedLogix 10.1.1

        Try an alternate search “aspartame stroke” and you will get a long list of pretty respectable results.

        My mother used aspartame sweetners for decades – and died of a basal stroke. On the basis of this bit of ‘anecdata’ I’m willing to contemplate there may be a problem with the sodding stuff.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1.1

          😆 That’s the search I would do if I wanted to find out who’s been duping Chooky.

          So I searched for “stroke lifestyle” instead. This from the National Stroke Assoc.

          A healthy diet can help you reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improve your overall health, and help you reach or maintain a healthy weight. Eating healthy includes making informed decisions about food choices and balancing your calories. The latest guidelines from Dietary Recommendations for Americans 2010 include the following:

          Eat more foods from plants, such as vegetables and beans, whole grains, and nuts.
          Eat more seafood in place of red meat, poultry, and eggs.
          Limit the intake of sodium, solid fats, added sugars, and refined grains.
          Reduce calories you eat and drink and increase calorie you burn through physical activity.
          Excess weight puts a strain on the entire circulatory system. It can also make people more likely to have high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, all of which can increase stroke risk.

          • weka 10.1.1.1.1

            really misses the point though.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Which point would that be? That anecdata fosters strong beliefs?

              • weka

                Shall I make a list of all the times that the scientific method got it wrong? Or where people used anecdata to make good and useful choices in their lives because they applied intelligence to it?

                Not a comment on aspartame, although I wouldn’t touch the stuff myself and there are plenty of good arguments to be made against its use in trying to control obesity even if its not lethal.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Therefore we should let fearmongers dictate food safety laws? Ban dihydrogen monoxide?

                  • RedLogix

                    Mr Strawman is still real busy…

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      How do you propose to regulate food (or any other) safety without collecting evidence? When the evidence contradicts the fearmongers (as now) how much influence do they deserve?

                    • weka

                      sure is, getting boring too. Just to try and drag it somewhere in the vicinity of being on topic, it’s people working with anecdata intelligently that have often pushed health understandings against the status quo and then ended up being right. I’ve been listening to people talk about the problem with the fat is bad message for many years and it’s been a pretty good mix of renegade scientists, health practitioners (mostly alternative) and people applying intelligence to their own health management. Eventually science started to do more research, and more mainstream practitioners picked up the ball. Public health officials are the last to catch on.

                      Teaching people criticial thinking skills and educating people on how to apply health information in their own lives in an individualised way will do more to solve obesity than anything else (that and reducing poverty).

                      (*I don’t actually think obesity is the problem though).

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      On topic? You mean the topic where a fearmonger proposed that “we” – ie the Left – “warn” people against the chemical bogeyman?

                      I disagree – I think that espousing such ethics-free gibberish would be a sure vote loser, not to mention a food-safety debacle.

                      If you can’t figure out why that’s “on topic” perhaps you’d be happier in another thread.

                  • weka

                    fearmongers already dictate laws. But afaik neither Chooky nor Red are lawmakers, so again the intellectual dishonesty.

                    ‘banning dihydrogen monoxide’ lines are just lazy argument.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      RL is no fearmonger.

                      Good luck reducing their influence without gathering evidence.

                    • weka

                      No idea what you are talking about now.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      You can spot intellectual dishonesty even when you don’t understand the point being made. Super.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The elite moral superiority is strong in this one.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Ad hominem remark = white flag of surrender.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      That’s your assumption, and of course, an incorrect one.

                    • weka

                      “You can spot intellectual dishonesty even when you don’t understand the point being made. Super.”

                      My comment about intellectual dishonesty referred to your previous statements, not your last one. Your last one I didn’t understand, as I said. That you now make out that I didn’t understand anything you have said just marks you are disingenuous as well. Up your game mate, this is boring and a distraction from the real topic at hand.

                      I’m not going to put too much effot into trying to understand someone who obviously prefers being a smart arse over communicating effectively.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Weka, throw around accusations of dishonesty as much as you like. No-one’s going to react badly to that, I promise.

                      Good luck reducing the influence of fear-mongers without gathering some evidence to help make your case. As you correctly noted, even that won’t guarantee success, since the method isn’t infallible.

                      At least you will have tried though. Which after all, is the whole point.

                      My point is that Chooky’s proposal – that the Left get into the politicisation of health-care, laying down the law to food safety professionals as opposed to taking their advice – is a mistake, not to mention exactly the sort of thing Katherine Rich gets up to.

                    • weka

                      Thanks OAB. I really wish you would say that at the start, because then we can have an actual conversation. Is there a reason you don’t just explain yourself early on and instead go with the smart arsery and ad homs?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Whatever. Perhaps if you weren’t projecting so very very much you’d inquire rather than accuse.

                  • One Two

                    Donald Rumsfeld is also a war monger…

                    Pays to be multi dimensional when “dictating food safety laws”

                • northshoredoc

                  I’ve always liked this quote

                  “The scientific method fails to yield an accurate representation of the world, not because of the method, but because of those who are attempting to apply it. The method fails when scientists themselves, usually collectively, allow their own biases and personal preferences to shortcircuit the hypothesis-testing part of the process.”

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    It’s the worst possible system apart from all the other ones which have been tried. Apparently it’s important to state that every time you cite research or you’re assumed to be mired in scientism.

                  • Grindlebottom

                    The scientific method fails to yield an accurate representation of the world, not because of the method, but because of those who are attempting to apply it. The method fails when scientists themselves, usually collectively, allow their own biases and personal preferences to shortcircuit the hypothesis-testing part of the process.

                    This is from a Christian creationist website?? (See Conclusion). Fuxake.
                    http://www.icr.org/article/exploring-limitations-scientific-method/

                    Or did they plagiarise it from someone else?

                    • northshoredoc

                      Plagiarised I would have thought – very humorous that it’s being used on a creationist website. I imagine they are unable to see the irony.

                    • tracey

                      That they can’t see the irony kinda proves all our points, yes?

                • McFlock

                  Shall I make a list of all the times that the scientific method got it wrong? Or where people used anecdata to make good and useful choices in their lives because they applied intelligence to it?

                  Actually, four lists would be nice: The list where science got it right and anecdata got it right, a list where both were incorrect, and most telling would be the comparative lists where one was correct and the other incorrect, and vice versa.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Voters choose governments based on anecdata and gut feeling, not on facts and evidence.

                    • McFlock

                      well, if that were completely true (I don’t believe it is) then the last seven years would probably be points for the scientific method over quackery.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Does that let National off the hook for ignoring the evidence that their economic and social policies are a blight upon the country?

                      Politicians – especially the electable ones – have a duty to carefully consider facts while making policy. Not to mention self-interest. That some ignore this duty in favour of dogma is all good, no?

                  • weka

                    Actually, four lists would be nice: The list where science got it right and anecdata got it right, a list where both were incorrect, and most telling would be the comparative lists where one was correct and the other incorrect, and vice versa.

                    That might be nice, depending on one’s perspective, but its largely irrelevant to what I was saying.

                    • McFlock

                      Comparing frequency of X=false with frequency of Y = true can’t tell us anything about X in relation to Y. It is meaningless.

                      If you were simply saying that the scientific community sometimes leaps to conclusions before all the evidence is in, and people following anecdata are sometimes better off than if they didn’t follow their anecdata, fine. But again I don’t see how that contributes new information to the discussion.

                      Nobody here is arguing that the scientific method is practised to perfection, nor is anybody arguing that anecdata is always false. Hell, I’d go so far as to say that (at worst) anecdata is no worse on a population average than tossing a coin, and improves in reliability as the issues being judged become less subtle.

                      But I’d place good money on the scientific method being significantly more reliable than individual anecdata, and for longer, and that the scientific method is almost exclusively responsible for our extended life expectancy.

                    • weka

                      It’s that you put the two things in opposition and fail to see the value of not doing that that is the issue. It’s not what I (and many others) do, and the lack of understanding around that, and lack of acknowledgement of bias, is why these conversations never go anywhere.

                      I think of the scientific method as a tool, inert until picked up and used. Many things have led to increases in life expectancy, including that. Many things have led to lower quality of life too. If you want to argue that the scientific method was almost wholly responsible for extending life expectancy then we’d also have to accept that it was almost wholly responsible for colonisation and climate change. End game.

                    • McFlock

                      I think of the scientific method as a tool, inert until picked up and used. Many things have led to increases in life expectancy, including that. Many things have led to lower quality of life too.

                      Indeed. But that applies to people following anecdata, too. So what were you trying to demonstrate with your offer to draw up a list of apples and a list of oranges?

                      If you want to argue that the scientific method was almost wholly responsible for extending life expectancy then we’d also have to accept that it was almost wholly responsible for colonisation and climate change. End game.

                      Or scientific methods, followed earlier, could have stopped colonisation in its tracks by stopping c90% of native Americans being wiped out by disease as well as removing the justifications of racial superiority and god’s will from the colonisers, because colonisation is political and often religious. Heck, one might well argue that colonisation was caused by completely unscientific beliefs.

                      And then if international policies in the late 20th century were led by the scientific literature and not corporate political funding, AGW would not be half the problem it is and will be.

                    • weka

                      “Indeed. But that applies to people following anecdata, too.”

                      Of course. I’m not the one putting up the false dichotomy.

                      “So what were you trying to demonstrate with your offer to draw up a list of apples and a list of oranges?”

                      That OAB was being an arse.

                      Red made a comment suggesting that there was in fact some decent studies connecting aspartame and strokes (I didn’t look, so I have no idea if there is). He also told a story. OAB wrote that off and took the conversation down the boring old science is the only way, everyone else is stupid track. I thought something quite interesting might have come out of Red’s comment (as opposed to Chooky’s), but there’s no room for that when one person in the conversation keeps dropping in ad homs and straw men (plus there should be a Gowdin’s for using DHMO gratuitously and disingenuously in conversations).

                      Or scientific methods, followed earlier, could have stopped colonisation in its tracks by stopping c90% of native Americans being wiped out by disease as well as removing the justifications of racial superiority and god’s will from the colonisers, because colonisation is political and often religious. Heck, one might well argue that colonisation was caused by completely unscientific beliefs.

                      Of course, but are you really trying to claim it is science when it is good stuff and not science when it is bad stuff? I would say that in both cases (and everything in between) that the scientific method is a critical factor, and it gets used in various ways evil and good. Did science make the sailing ships that allowed Brits to colonise NZ? Or did the industrial revolution and how much of that was due to science? How much due to greed? Cultural sense of superiority? etc. Did the push for better living standards that led to increasing longevity come from science or from changes in moral and political perspectives? Or from the need for capitalism to have better performing slaves?

                      And then if international policies in the late 20th century were led by the scientific literature and not corporate political funding, AGW would not be half the problem it is and will be.

                      Yes, and now we’re talking about science the tool and Science the culture. But again, science is responsible when it’s good but not when it’s bad?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      science is the only way, everyone else is stupid track.

                      Nope, that isn’t what I said. What I did was ask you a couple of questions, and you translated that into the above then attacked me as dishonest.

                      Nor did I “write off” what RL said. Stop projecting your visions onto me.

                    • McFlock

                      As far as I can tell, you put forward two statements. Separately they were random observations. Together they were a meanignless comparison. Apparently that demonstrates that OAB was being an arse.

                      science is responsible when it’s good but not when it’s bad?

                      I didn’t say that.
                      Here’s the thing: the scientific method was necessary to extend lives across the globe. It could not have been intentionally done without science, and provided demonstrable benchmarks and objectives in order to measure our progress.

                      Colonisation? Invasion? Shit, they were around way before any scientific period. We don’t need the scientific method to kill each other. It really helps that objective, but we can still kill hundreds of thousands of people simply with machetes. Heck, Columbus showed we can kill millions by accident.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      ”Or scientific methods, followed earlier, could have stopped colonisation in its tracks by stopping c90% of native Americans being wiped out by disease as well as removing the justifications of racial superiority and god’s will from the colonisers, because colonisation is political and often religious. Heck, one might well argue that colonisation was caused by completely unscientific beliefs.”

                      Science can oppose political oppression, but more often it reflects the prevailing political, social and imperial forces and powerful institutions of its time, as evidenced by the fact ”scientific methods” were deployed in full force to justify the claims of racial superiority that you say it could have debunked. You’re viewing it in isolation, which is somewhat spurious.

                    • McFlock

                      was that justification necessary for the beliefs in racial superiority to exist? Or was it merely applied after the fact to justify those beliefs (in itself a violation of the scientific method)?

                      Nobody’s arguing science or scientists are perfect. But even when performed imperfectly it’s not usually necessary or sufficient for the bads of the world to exist.

                      But practised repeatedly, the scientific method was necessary for and the driving force behind our extended lifespans and improved standard of living. The same cannot be said of anecdata.

                    • weka

                      actually it can, and again I point to the problem of putting up science and anecdata in opposition like that and not acknowleding the bias that is inherent in that.

                    • McFlock

                      If anecdata “was necessary for and the driving force behind our extended lifespans and improved standard of living”, why was life expectancy at birth pretty constant until the last couple of hundred years?

                      Damned if I know what you mean by “bias” being inherent in even making a comparison. What, is comparing evidence that X and Y works somehow unfair?

              • Grindlebottom

                Interesting. The first couple of links from Chooky’s “aspartame danger” google search result list didn’t open (web page not available).

                The next couple that I did open both indicated that most of the detailed research into a pretty vast volume of studies showed the various claims of aspartame dangers were not true.

                https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/aspartame-truth-vs-fiction/

                https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/aspartame-truth-vs-fiction/ (this one notes: “However, people who have a condition called phenylketonuria (PKU) should not use aspartame. People who are taking medications for schizophrenia should also avoid aspartame.”)

                I stopped at this point.

          • RedLogix 10.1.1.1.2

            All of which is true – but quite independent of whether aspartame use is a stroke risk by itself.

            You’re welcome to do an internet linky war on this all day OAB – I just don’t care.

            My view is simple – there is no need for any form of sweetners in the human diet. And there is certainly no need for an artificial chemical with a dubious background and questionable safety to be used on a regular basis. My choice is to apply the precautionary principle.

            I’ve not added any sweetner to any of my food or drink for a decade now. Never miss it. Sure I’m nowhere like 100% pure on this, but the odd cake or sugary thing I do eat is weekly treat — not a daily consumption.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1.1.2.1

              My view is simple: fearmongers are responsible for far more (possibly infinitely more) deaths than artificial sweeteners.

              • weka

                True in a limited, false argument kind of way. Google Ancel Keys.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Or perhaps you’re just assuming that I think scientists can’t be fearmongers, and drawing fucked up conclusions as a result.

                  Actually, there’s no perhaps about it.

                  • weka

                    No, I assume that you prefer to make implied statements that bend the truth where it you want it to go rather than communicating clearly so that we can disuss things fully.

                    And of course, yet again, you side step the point.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      No doubt on account of my intellectual dishonesty and limited false arguments.

                      You didn’t actually clarify those cutting observations though, so who can tell what you’re getting at?

                      I’ve already clarified my point elsewhere on the thread.

                    • weka

                      the people that want to know ask for clarification. I get that you don’t want to know.

                    • weka

                      btw, just in case it’s not obvious, as a general rule I wouldn’t follow links that Chooky put up about most things (maybe some of the links to TDB etc but certainly not health related). These conversations are anti-intelligence and cul de sacs of the worst kind. You end up being as bad as each other.

              • Colonial Viper

                My view is simple: fearmongers are responsible for far more (possibly infinitely more) deaths than artificial sweeteners.

                And there is no more pervasive and officially enabled money making fear monging death inducing industry than Big Pharma.

  11. infused 11

    Lets ban sugar.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1

      Mr. Strawman is very busy right now, but if you leave your name and contact details he’ll be in touch.

  12. Smilin 12

    If anyone can remember growing up in a fast food free society and only having fush n chups for takaways ,will know the difference as to why we now have an epidemic

    • Ffloyd 12.1

      Smiling. Absolutely agree!

      • Grindlebottom 12.1.1

        True, I think. There was only one “fatty” (sorry phil) in a class of about 30 in my secondary school years.

        • tracey 12.1.1.1

          we had a couple in my class at primary school. Both often had potato chips in their lunch boxes. In fairness one was either on crutches or in a wheelchair

    • Rosie 12.2

      Yes. Remember as a kid in the 70’s. Fish and chips was the only treat food takeaway. No chain fast food outlets. Only cities had McDonalds and KFC. Having fizzy drink in the house was reserved for kids birthday parties, and other celebrations, like xmas.

      Think about the supermarket aisles then and compare them to supermarket aisles now and you see the marketing power and huge influence of manufacturers of high sugar foods/low nutrient content. Once they were in a fairly small section, now the entire aisle on one side is dedicated to fizzy drinks.

      Hence this statement is so true:

      “National’s policy is to try and shut the barn door after the horse has bolted.”

      A caring govt would resist the lobbyists and stop a major contributing factor to the problem in it’s tracks with regulation on marketing and perhaps taxation.

      (Although I’d prefer the abolishment of GST but retain it on fags, booze and certain foods and drinks – that would make healthier food more affordable for all and have a number off spin off benefits, but thats another story)

  13. tracey 13

    This is like so many others things this government does. It takes away resources, then a few years later puts it back and touts itself as effective government. They took away 7 years of HEHA … where might we e today.

  14. kiwigunner 14

    One of the very first things this government did when elected (for the first time) was to remove the healthy eating policies that Labour had put into schools. At the time it amazed me that they saw this as some real need for immediate change when in power.

    This latest stuff is like lots of things that they have done (professional development in schools for example) where they have immediately dismantled the very things that were helping to create positive change and now, having the effects of their policy settings pointed out to them trumpet their half arsed ideas for fixing the problem they themselves created.

  15. The Chairman 15

    It seems National are planning to criminalise obesity.

    What are the consequences for those unwilling to partake?

  16. Bill 16

    Food. All wrapped up in social urban myths and scientific research that has been bent and twisted by monies interests.

    Example 1. Who funds low fat research in the UK? Well, I’d read it was an outfit called the ‘Margarine and Spreads Association’ or some such. Do you think such a lobby group might be connected to some company like Unilever? And that they might have skin in the game?

    Example 2. Where did the idea come from that eggs, being full of cholesterol, would result in people becoming full of cholesterol?

    Example 3. Why would fat make you fat? Because the word’s the same? Try eating a breakfast consisting of fat and do something requiring stamina. Repeat the experiment after a breakfast consisting of cereals and/or other carbohydrates. Given that you’ll flag far faster after breakfast number one, draw your own conclusions on which type of food is more likely to store up in your body as fat.

    btw – Highly processed sugar rich food ain’t cheap. (I certainly can’t afford it.) And I’d suggest the sugar acts as a preservative as well as a sweetener – so dropping the sugar content won’t be happening. Hmm. Last night’s tea had no sugar, was cooked from scratch with no more than three minutes prep time and cost about $1. Can’t imagine finding a substantial pre-pack in the supermarket containing the same range of protein, carbs and veg for that price. Anyways…

    • tracey 16.1

      and let’s not get started on the notion that some food producers may put substances in their food to increase your cravings for their food…

      Probably would never happen cos tobacco producers never put something in their product that as addictive.

    • weka 16.2

      Example 3 is apparently nonsense because it’s based on anecdata, which for the rest of us is applying intelligence to how we live our lives. Not allowed.

      • Bill 16.2.1

        No. Example three is based on a field experiment. Regardless, I really cannot be bothered with either side in these sand-pit arguments around science and how good or bad/worthy or worthless/ useful or useless it is.

        • weka 16.2.1.1

          Fair enough about the sand pit, although I will say that the validity of science, field research and anecdata are at the core of fat politics (all health politics). Which is why its a shame the conversation went this way.

  17. Clean_power 17

    Why treat people like children? Why is new and higher taxation a solution to everything? Why?

    • Grindlebottom 17.1

      Nobody’s saying taxation is a solution to everything.

    • Bill 17.2

      On the basis that you might be being genuine here – when a population has lost its knowledge, it can be misled and abused.

      Many people can’t cook or bake any more. Many more people wouldn’t know where to begin if a rabbit was placed in front of them. Go back a few generations, and it would be unimaginable that such a reality could ever come to pass. Hell, on more than one occasion I’ve had a check-out operator genuinely stumped as to what the vegetable I was trying to buy was (on one occasion it was beetroot).

      Is the answer to that higher taxes? No.

      • maui 17.2.1

        My grandparents were making their own butter, doing their own homekill of sheep and lived without a refrigerator. Not so long ago really, and unimaginable to the urbanites of today. I think were heading back that way and it probably won’t take 60 years to get there.

    • tracey 17.3

      Because some adults operate their industries in deceptive ways.

      Life is so simple from where you sit on your comfortable well-heeled pedestal

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.4

      Why is new and higher taxation a solution to everything?

      It isn't. However, according to Friedman, price signals are the best way to help people make good decisions. He has more credibility on your side of the political divide, so maybe you should ask him rather than pretending you’ll get sympathy for his opinions here.

  18. Smilin 18

    Really doesn’t matter what this govt does because none of what they do has any genuine social commitment except to protect the rich
    And all you got to do is think about the last 7 yrs .This is a govt is way out of line, fascist and covering up the white collar criminal culture that subjugates the masses into a Dirty Politics state of mind so that they have no power in democracy
    This govt should be overthrown now not 2017

  19. Ad 19

    1. Campaigns

    The intergenerational social marketing campaigns work best.
    They take a dumpload of government commitment, and are coordinated by centralized agencies not decentralized ones like DHB’s.

    The standout examples are the long term road toll campaigns, and anti-smoking campaigns.

    NZ has one of the most effective food lobbies in the world – what we lack in the scale of Washington, we gain in legislative and regulatory power and influence to stop reform. So any campaign worth doing long term would be a fight.

    2. Money
    The only other point I’d make is that raising the minimum wage raises the food choices of the poor. Obesity (where it’s sufficient to be a high health disbenefit eg diabetes) IMHO is a poverty issue. Poverty of money, poverty of time to exercise, poverty of choices.

    Those rich areas full of choices in their lives – such as Queenstown, Wanaka, Auckland’s inner suburbs, and Wellington’s inner suburbs, are full of toned people with the time and daycare options to run every morning, drink liquefied grass, and sustain the Paleo Diet with their Yoga classes.

    So a future Labour government should re-do Working for Families completely and re-tilt it as a benefit top-up system. Which will be about as popular as reforming welfare was last time.

  20. Mrs Brillo 20

    For the Nats to have taken such a swift and punitive overturning of a sensible healthy food provision law as soon as they occupied the treasury benches means that they were keeping a promise to a major political funder.

    Follow the money.

    The booze industry pours almost as much into funding the Nats as it pours sugar into its beer and wine. The links between the supermarkets and the Nats are well documented. Follow the sticky trail.

    Teaching the poor to prepare healthy meals is left to voluntary private organisations with little or no public funding – I volunteered at one such till it lost what little funding it had and packed up. Some of its clients were people with learning difficulties in assisted living situations. Cooking was a real challenge to them, but fast foods were everywhere and cheap.

    Preaching is cheap, too. But doesn’t put help where help is needed.

  21. Richard@Down South 21

    Everyone should watch http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3892434/ That Sugar Film (2014)

    Very good watch about the effects of sugar in our diet

  22. A.Ziffel 22

    Now that the “Feed the kids” movement has become a resounding success & exceeded all expectations, it might be time to switch to a “Feed the kids less” strategy.

  23. Blue Boy 23

    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond

    Find light in the beautiful sea
    I choose to be happy
    You and I, you and I
    We’re like diamonds in the sky

    You’re a shooting star I see
    A vision of ecstasy
    When you hold me, I’m alive
    We’re like diamonds in the sky

    I knew that we’d become one right away
    Oh, right away
    At first sight I left the energy of sun rays
    I saw the life inside your eyes

    So shine bright, tonight you and I
    We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky
    Eye to eye, so alive
    We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shining bright like a diamond
    We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shining bright like a diamond
    We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

    Palms rise to the universe
    As we moonshine and molly
    Feel the warmth, we’ll never die
    We’re like diamonds in the sky

    You’re a shooting star I see
    A vision of ecstasy
    When you hold me, I’m alive
    We’re like diamonds in the sky

    At first sight I felt the energy of sun rays
    I saw the life inside your eyes

    So shine bright, tonight you and I
    We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky
    Eye to eye, so alive
    We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shining bright like a diamond
    We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shining bright like a diamond
    We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond

    So shine bright, tonight you and I
    We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky
    Eye to eye, so alive
    We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond

    Read more: Rihanna – Diamonds Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  24. Ad 24

    And in breaking news, flossing your teeth is totally useless.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11532132

    This goes on the top of piles of junked health warnings I head when I was child:

    – Cholesterol was bad for me
    – Fat was bad for me
    – Meat was good for me
    – Margerine was healthier than butter
    – Eggs were bad for me
    – Sunshine was good for me

    …and a good mother always always always had loads of baking in her tins!
    (if I could have a “tea and madelines” moment over my mother’s Louise Cakes!)

    hard not to be skeptical with all this fat-people hate I get in every magazine cover, every film, every fashion article.

  25. Whispering Kate 25

    So may factors contribute to obesity,

    Time Scarce – today many couples with kids work two jobs on very low wages – this slow creep has entered the middle tier of society, not just the unskilled which we automatically consider. Cheap meals take long slow cooking and mums come in exhausted with tired kids and the last thing they want to do is put on the slow cooker and start a meal for the next evening. Even the most dedicated will just look for pre-cooked stuff which is rubbish to eat.

    Expensive Food – people who come in from overseas often comment about the cost of our food here, my own kid who lives overseas and in many countries cannot believe some of the prices we pay. No excuses in the world justify why two thirds of the population cannot avail themselves of healthy food for themselves and their kids. Milk dearer then drinks full of sugar, its bloody disgusting really. I see Mums at the supermarket looking at the meat prices and juggling mince or nothing at all, sausages which are crap are now $9-$10 for a 500gm pack and this is Pak & Save. What do they feed their kids these days, I just can’t imagine.

    Raw material versus processed garbage. Why is meat straight off the animals with no processing or labour added value so darned expensive, Why are fresh fruit and vegetables more expensive than in a can, it beggars belief how we are just suckered in over here. Whose raking in the money on this racket.

    I am now retired and can have the luxury of doing my shopping in the perimeter area of the supermarket, I hardly ever go in the centre aisles where the processed junk is. I have time leisure to use cheaper cuts of meat and cheaper species of fish to cook but even when I did work part time I always managed to try and keep the budget down by shopping in the outside perimeter area of the supermarket, these days mums and dads have no option. My kids never suffered and now in their 30’s and 40’s have fantastic teeth – again no option these days for parents.

    Its a waste of time teaching cooking skills in schools until they give the population a decent living wage so that they don’t have to work such long hours and can afford decent honest bloody food which is their birth right in this country.

    This Gov prefers to hump the legs of political campaign donors and industry lobbyists before it will consider its citizens health. They treat us with contempt but the rooster will come home to roost when they are overwhelmed in the future with type 2 diabetes patients needing dialysis for sometimes years at huge cost to the ever suffering tax payers plus other western world diseases which are expensive to the health budget.

  26. Whispering Kate 26

    ps I want to add this gov is gutless, they have no cajones, the only time anything really big ever gets done whether it be good or bad (Roger Douglas there) is when a left wing government is in power. Why is it so hard to stand up to these food producers and make them take responsibility for what they produce. We used to be so independent and stood up to people and countries far bigger than ourselves and it made us feel good about ourselves, now we are just cringing cowardly creeps who pee in pockets, it makes me mad that we are all dumped in the same basket – I never asked for a new flag or any of these disgusting laws that are being passed in WINZ with the sick and disabled- I think its time we took our country back and soon.

    • tracey 26.1

      thanks for jumping in WKate

      • Whispering Kate 26.1.1

        Thanks Tracey – I could add appeasing to Australia and their disgusting deporting laws, what has happened to our backbone – why do we have a Government at all – it does f…. all constructive. We are just a pee in the pockets nation these days. Even Labour are too scared witless to make a stand on issues which are abhorrent. I truly think we are being trod on by powers greater than little ol’ New Zealand and it scares me to death.

    • D'Esterre 26.2

      Oh, Whispering Kate, I so agree with you! It is indeed time we took our country back from these pissant pocket-pee-ers. Grovelling little weasels!

    • Chooky 26.3

      +100 again Whispering Kate

  27. Michael 27

    Tax unhealthy food. Use the money to fund healthy lifestyle education programmes & subsidies for healthy food. Healthy fruit and veg is often out of reach for low income earners and beneficiaries. We need to reduce both incentives to have extremely unhealthy sugar-sweeted drinks, fatty foods etc while ALSO making the alternative more affordable.

  28. Rosemary McDonald 28

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0015977

    “Simultaneous exposure to various POPs in the general population may contribute to development of obesity, dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance, common precursors of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Although obesity is a primary cause of these metabolic abnormalities, POPs exposure may contribute to excess adiposity and other features of dysmetabolism.”

    http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Luc_Van_Gaal/publication/44683992_Obesity_and_persistent_organic_pollutants_possible_obesogenic_effect_of_organochlorine_pesticides_and_polychlorinated_biphenyls/links/54045cf60cf2c48563b080a9.pdf

    ” Given the current worldwide epidemic
    of obesity, the possible effects of endocrine disruptors on body
    weight are an imperative field of future research”

    http://www.diabetesandenvironment.org/home/contam/pesticides

    shit loads more research and discussion on the possible link between obesity and diabetes and chemicals in our environment.

    Something to think about, considering NZ’s high use of pesticides.

    And our non existent enforcement of the Standard (Management of Agrichemicals).

    And our poor monitoring of MRLs.

    • It’s possible that pesticides cause diabetes, just like it’s possible that cutting your toenails causes diabetes. All kinds of things are “possible.” What counts is whether that possibility is more likely than others: for example, more likely than the fairly straightforward one that Type 2 diabetes is a disease of insulin resistance that tends to manifest itself in people whose diet gives their insulin production system a constant hiding, and therefore the diet is what needs looking at as a cause.

      Obesity is likewise a condition largely determined by insulin, so the fact that obesity and Type 2 diabetes tend to go together isn’t surprising. A sure sign of idiocy in anyone writing on this subject is contained in one of the quoted passages above: “…obesity is a primary cause of these metabolic abnormalities…” Obesity doesn’t cause Type 2 diabetes – they’re both effects, not causes.

      You’re on less tinfoil-hat ground with Type 1 diabetes – it’s an auto-immune disease, so could potentially be triggered by chemicals. Good luck proving it, though.

    • Chooky 28.2

      on this subject…more scary stuff on glyphosate ‘Round Up’ and wheat production….another reason to go organic

      http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/real-reason-for-toxic-wheat-its-not-gluten/

  29. Incognito 29

    Fats, especially saturated and trans fats, used to bad and got banned and often replaced by carbohydrates. Smoking got banned and the result was that many ex-smokers gained weight. The Law of Unintended Consequences is perhaps not very scientific but nevertheless it does seem to hold some truth.

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  • Encryption, passwords, and self-incrimination
    The University of Waikato and New Zealand Law Foundation have released a report today on the law around encryption in New Zealand. There's stuff in there about principles and values, and how proposed government policies to provide for "lawful access" by creating backdoors would destroy the trust which makes encryption ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Drawn
    A ballot for two Member's Bills was held today, and the following bills were drawn: Insurance (Prompt Settlement of Claims for Uninhabitable Residential Property) Bill (Stuart Smith) Social Security (Exemption for Ex Gratia and Compensation Payments) Amendment Bill (Willow-Jean Prime) Neither bill seems likely to be particularly controversial. This is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Bougainville votes for independence
    Earlier in the month, Bougainvilleans went to the polls in a landmark referendum to decide on whether they would remain part of Papua New Guinea or become independent. Yesterday, the results came in, with over 97% support for independence. The referendum wasn't binding - instead it means negotiations with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Bus strikes, suspensions and solidarity
    by Daphna Whitmore This week 800 unionised bus drivers in Auckland were suspended from work after they refused to collect fares as part of a campaign of industrial action. Drivers working for Auckland’s largest bus company NZ Bus are asking for more pay and better working conditions after being offered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 day ago
  • How to support after the Whakaari/White Island volcanic eruption
    As details emerge about what unfolded on Whakaari / White Island two days ago, my thoughts go out to all the families affected by this terrible event. My thoughts are also with the first responders who worked in perilous circumstances to assist and protect those affected. Both local and ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarb Johal
    1 day ago
  • Final BMG poll – nothing to see here
    BMG research have unleashed their final poll of the 2019 campaign:Westminster voting intention: CON: 41% (-)LAB: 32% (-)LDEM: 14% (-)GRN: 4% (-)BREX: 3% (-1)via @BMGResearch , 06 - 11 Dec Chgs. w/ 06 Dec That's a bit of a "Dunno why we bothered" sort of poll. "Phillip, I'm afraid I've been a ...
    2 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Spends Up Large – On The Establishment!
    Grant Keeps On Trucking: Out of the $12 billion Robertson has announced for infrastructure investment, $8 billion will be allocated to specific projects, with the balance of $4 billion held in reserve. What does it say about this Government's "transformational" ambitions that 85 percent of that $8 billion is to ...
    2 days ago
  • Boris Johnson … Hides … In a Fridge
    I am not making this up.First few lines of the Dail Mail write up:Boris Johnson's exasperated media minder swore on live TV today as the PM refused to speak to Good Morning Britain before trotting into a fridge as he started an early milkround in Yorkshire. Piers Morgan was visibly ...
    2 days ago
  • Shy Labour Voters?
    In previous elections pollsters have bemoaned the 'shy Tory' - the respondent who is so fearful of being judged as a cruel and heartless bastard by an anonymous pollster, or their spouses, workmates and friends, that they lie about their intention of voting Conservative, skewing the poll figures in Labour's ...
    2 days ago
  • Seven reasons to be wary of waste-to-energy proposals
    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 climate.change@stuff.co.nz I was in Switzerland recently and discovered that they haven’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 days ago
  • Reviewing the whitewash
    Back in 2015, then Ombudsman Beverley Wakem conducted a review of the OIA, Not a game of hide and seek. The "review" was a whitewash, which found no need for legislative change, and instead criticised the media and requesters - which destroyed Wakem's reputation, and undermined that of the Office ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • You Gov MRP Poll Out
    So, You Gov's MRP poll - the weird one that tries to reflect what will happen at a constituency level and which pretty much nailed the hung parliament in 2017 - is not looking too good for Labour:
    UK #GE2019 MRP seat projection:CON: 339 (-20)LAB: 231 (+20)SNP: 41 (-2)LDEM: 15 ...
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Accountability?
    We've known about climate change for over forty years now,and it has been a major political issue for twenty. And yet fossil fuel companies have kept polluting with impunity, while government have looked the other way and twiddled their thumbs and refused to do anything because "the economy", or just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Delusional And Irrational: The Rise Of Paranoid Politics In New Zealand.
    Sheer Loopiness: Many of those expressing bemusement at the antics of these #turnardern effacers, were convinced that they were yet another expression of the National Party’s increasingly spiteful anti-government propaganda campaign. They marvelled at the oddness of the perpetrators’ mindset and questioned the common-sense of allowing the rest of New Zealand ...
    2 days ago
  • Things to know about Whakaari/White Island
    Brad Scott, GNS Science VolcanologistThis post was originally published by GeoNet. Following the 9 December devastating eruption at Whakaari/White Island we have put together some information about the island. New Zealand’s most active volcano Whakaari/White Island is currently New Zealand’s most active volcano, it has been since an eruptive episode ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 days ago
  • Status quo supports status quo
    The Justice Committee has reported back on its Inquiry into the 2017 General Election and 2016 Local Elections, with a host of recommendations about how to improve our electoral systems. Some of their recommendations are already incorporate din the Electoral Amendment Bill currently before Parliament, but there's also a recommendation ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • The Greens abandon NeoLiberalism
    Back in 2017, in order to make themselves "electable" in the eyes of rich people who oppose everything they stand for, the Greens signed up for NeoLiberalism, adopting a restrictive set of "Budget Responsibility Rules" which basicly prevented them from using government to make things better. Now, they're finally abandoning ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Lying about a failed war
    Since invading in 2001, the US has consistently claimed that their war in Afghanistan has been going well, even when it continued year after year after year. Of course, they were lying, and thanks to the Washington Post and the US Freedom of Information Act, we get to see just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Artificial Intelligence and You
    How should we think about artificial intelligence and the implications that it has for our work and leisure? There are many articles on artificial intelligence and its potential impacts on jobs, and the ethics of applications. These are important topics, but I want to focus on some less discussed aspects, ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    3 days ago
  • Statistical manipulation to get publishable results
    I love data. It’s amazing the sort of “discoveries” I can make given a data set and computer statistical package. It’s just so easy to search for relationships and test their statistical significance. Maybe relationships which ...
    3 days ago
  • More lies on the Twitter (Dan Hodges edition)
    The other big story concerning Leeds Hospital is Boris Johnson's bizzare behaviour at Leeds Hospital, where he was confronted by a journalist and challenged about a four year old boy with suspected pneumonia who was left sleeping on the floor, rather than getting  abed like a sick kid would in ...
    3 days ago
  • LabourActivistPunchedMattHancock’sSPADGate
    So, for a brief period of history, it was alleged that a protester had punched Matt Hancock's SPAD (not a euphemism; special adviser) when Hancock visited Leeds Hospital.This was reported by the likes of Robert Peston and Laura Keunssberg, as well as the less credible Guido Fawkes.  It also quickly ...
    4 days ago
  • France’s anti-Zionism is anti-liberté
    by Daphna Whitmore Last week France passed a law that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. It is based on a definition of anti-Semitism that includes criticism of Israel such as: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Another bus lockout
    Over the past year we've seen major bus problems in Hamilton and Wellington, as drivers have sought better wages and an end to the bullshit of split shifts, which basicly see them "married to the job". And now its Auckland's turn. When NZBus's drivers planned low-level strike action of not ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Showing us how its done
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. But those targets are insufficient. Meanwhile, Denmark is showing us how its done:Denmark’s parliament adopted a new climate law on Friday, committing to reach 70% below its 1990 emissions in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Public sector dysfunction should not be allowed to undermine freedom of information
    Another day, another piece of legislation with a secrecy clause. This time its the innocuous-seeming Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill, which (after establishing a new body and making it subject to the OIA in three different ways) includes the rapidly-becoming-standard clauses enabling it to request information from other public ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • “This is England, this knife of Sheffield steel…”
    The state of the United Kingdom is fractured, torn up, shredded. The Empire is gone, it died a long time ago. And yet, the country is still tracking with a lead in favour of the ones who play to the ingrained, class-bound division for political gain. It is a disgrace ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • CORSIA, coming soon to an airport near you
    On 27 September, Greta Thunberg addressed a crowd of 500,000 at the School Strike for Climate in Montreal, saying: “You are a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And Sweden is also a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And in both cases, it means absolutely nothing. Because ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    6 days ago
  • Cloaking hate speech and fake news in the right to free expression.
    It should be obvious by now but let’s be clear: The same folk who regularly traffic in disinformation, misinformation and “fake news” are also those who most strongly claim that their freedom of expression rights are being violated when moves are made to curb hate speech (as opposed to protected ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • The Physics (and Economics, and Politics) of Wheelchairs on Planes
    Michael Schulson When Shane Burcaw flies on an airplane, he brings along a customized gel cushion, a car seat, and about 10 pieces of memory foam. The whole arsenal costs around $1,000, but for Burcaw it’s a necessity. The 27-year-old author and speaker — who, alongside his fiancée, Hannah ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Transgender Extremism
    We are very pleased to publish this submission is from Lucinda Stoan. She is a social justice activist, mother, and educator, based in Washington State in the  US.   This detailed and comprehensive source-linked overview of trans issues and what is at stake will be useful for many people, especially in ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Faafoi should be fired
    Newshub last night reported that Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi had apparently promised to help out a mate with an immigration issue. While its normal for people to approach MPs for assistance in this area, when you're a Minister, the rules are different: as the Cabinet Manual says, Ministers must "at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Adrian Orr – The Reserve Bank’s Revolutionary Governor?
    New Zealand's Underarm Banker: It bears recalling that the “independence” of the Reserve Bank Governor was for decades held up by neoliberal capitalists as the most compelling justification for passing the Reserve Bank Act. Interesting, is it not, how the ruling class’s support for the Bank’s independence lasted no longer than ...
    1 week ago
  • Driving Us Up The Poll.
    Rubbish In, Rubbish Out: Put all this together, and it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that anyone who responds positively to a pollster’s request to “answer a few questions” is just ever-so-slightly weird. Desperately lonely? Some sort of psephological train-spotter? Political party member primed to skew the poll for or against ...
    1 week ago
  • Jordan Williams, Colin Craig podcast series announced
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. A long and bitter court feud between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and Jordan Williams has been settled, with an apology and compensation from Williams. On Tuesday, Craig sent out ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • How plant-based meat is stretching New Zealand’s cultural and legal boundaries
    Samuel Becher, Victoria University of Wellington and Jessica C Lai, Victoria University of Wellington Earlier this year, the New Zealand-based pizza chain Hell Pizza offered a limited-edition “Burger Pizza”. Its customers weren’t told that the “meat” was plant-based. Some customers complained to the Commerce Commission, which enforces consumer law in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
    Some people seem to want to close down any critical discussion of the current research into the relationship between water fluoride and child IQ. They appear to argue that claims made by researchers should not be open to critical review and that the claims be accepted without proper consideration ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The shameful reality
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    1 week ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    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 climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    2 weeks ago

  • PM congratulates Boris Johnson on election victory
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his election victory.  “New Zealand and the United Kingdom are close friends and despite our distance we are strongly connected by our history and people,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “I look forward to continuing to work with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Building a platform for the future of rail
    The Government has released its long term vision for a sustainable 21st Century rail network that gets our cities moving, connects our regions and gets more freight off the roads.   Deputy Prime Minister and State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters said the Government is committed to rebuilding New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Prime Minister statement Whakaari White Island recovery operation
    I want to start by acknowledging the families who have experienced such grief and such loss since the extraordinary tragedy on Monday. Today was all about reuniting them with their loved ones. We've just come from the airport where many of them were gathered and in amongst what you can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • New Zealand medical specialists to provide further support to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further support for Samoa’s longer term needs as it continues to respond to a devastating measles epidemic. “Samoa’s health system has experienced massive strain in the wake of the measles epidemic. The volume of patients needing care during this outbreak, and the number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Discounted electric-bikes offered to public sector workers
    Discounted electric bikes will be offered up to public sector staff across the country as part of the Government’s work to reduce transport emissions and support healthier transport options.  Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter officially launched the new initiative at Wellington Hospital today.  “The Government has negotiated bulk-purchase ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Australia and New Zealand confirm joint bid for FIFA Women’s World Cup
    The Australian and New Zealand Governments today launch an historic joint bid to bring the FIFA Women’s World Cup to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. Australian Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck and New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson will announce the bold campaign, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Blackwater gold mine gets PGF boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has approved a $15 million loan to help re-establish a gold mining operation at Blackwater Gold Mine, near Reefton, Rural Communities Minister and local MP Damien O’Connor announced at an event on the West Coast today. “This is great news for the Coast that could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being
    Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being A housing project by Kohupātiki whānau in Hastings is an outstanding example of a Māori-led housing initiative that can reduce financial pressure and reconnect whānau to their whakapapa says the Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Minister Mahuta officially opened the Aroha Te Rangi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Government provides more funding for major community wetland restoration project
    Restoration efforts for a significant wetland in the Hawke’s Bay are getting more support announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage. “Wetlands are vital to healthy landscapes and ecosystems. They function as nature’s ‘kidneys’, filtering and protecting water quality, acting as nature’s sponges after rain and are home to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Housing First to help Nelson Tasman homeless
    Nelson has today seen the launch of Housing First Nelson Tasman. Today’s launch marks the expansion of the Government’s homelessness programme, Housing First, to the top of the South Island. “Housing First is a proven programme that puts people who are experiencing homelessness and multiple, high and complex needs into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • New funding to support Environment Centres working for sustainable local solutions
    New Government funding announced today will help communities make a difference in tackling environmental issues Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage announced in Hawkes Bay today. The Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund is dedicating $243,101 to growing the capacity and capability of the Environment Hubs Aotearoa’s (EHA) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Government takes bite out of loan sharks
    The days of vulnerable consumers falling victim to loan sharks, truck shops and other predatory lenders are numbered, following the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill passing its third reading tonight. “Too many Kiwis are being given loans that are unaffordable and unsuitable, trapping them in debt and leaving their families ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand safer as Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders Bill) becomes law
    A Bill that prevents terrorism and supports the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas has passed its third reading, Justice Minister Andrew Little says. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill is a carefully targeted response to manage the risk posed by a small number of New Zealanders who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Foreign Minister and Pacific Peoples Minister to visit Samoa
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Samoa on Friday, where New Zealand medical teams are helping Samoa respond to an outbreak of measles. “New Zealand has been working closely with the Government of Samoa and offering our assistance from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Pastoral Care Code will support tertiary students in 2020
    The Government has changed the law to improve student safety and welfare in university halls of residence and other student accommodation. The Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill passed its third reading this afternoon and details of an interim Code of Practice setting out the Government’s expectations of tertiary providers have also been released. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New infrastructure funding tool to build housing developments faster
    A new tool to help councils fund and finance infrastructure could mean some housing developments happen a decade earlier than currently planned, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. “This new tool, developed by the Government in partnership with industry and high-growth councils, will allow councils to access private debt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Vision to unite the primary sector launched today
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