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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
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    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
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    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
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    We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond
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    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
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    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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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #14
    Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... North Atlantic's capacity to absorb CO2 overestimated, study suggests Research into ocean’s plankton likely to lead to ...
    2 days ago
  • The Americans are trying to kill us all again
    The Treaty on Open Skies is one of the most effective mechanisms for preventing war curently in force. By letting countries make surveillance flights over each others' territory, it eliminates fears that they are secretly preparing for war. So naturally, the US is planning to withdraw from it: The Trump ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 11
    . . April 5: Day eleven of living in lock-down… My one day of rest for the week, and an opportunity to mow my lawns – which I’d been delaying for about three weeks. (On the plus side, the damp micro-climate in my back yard yielded three lovely fresh mushrooms ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • Now we know what the rules are
    As the lockdown has gone on, disquiet about what the rules were and the police's enforcement of them has grown. On Friday, Police admitted that they were abusing routine traffic stops to effectively set up illegal checkpoints, and on Saturday Stuff revealed internal police advice saying that they actually needed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 2: Green et al (2019)
    Paul Connett is putting all his eggs in one basket. He says “you only have to read four studies” to find community after fluoridation harmful. Image credit: Fluoride Action Network newsletter. For part 1 of this series see Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018). Paul Connett, ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Splore Listening Lounge 2020: the road to a “yes” vote
    As far as anyone can say, New Zeaand still has a general election scheduled for September 19 this year. The election will be accompanied by two referenda, one of which will ask voters:Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?The official campaign period for the cannabis referendum begins ...
    2 days ago
  • Obituary for The New Zealand Listener (1939-2020)
    The vast majority of tributes to the Listener hearken back to its glory days, with little reflection on the magazine as it was at its end.I wrote for it, for half the Listener’s life; I have known personally all the editors except the first (mythical) three. From 1978 to 2014 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 days ago
  • Universal income – a challenge to capitalism or a crutch?
    As the world economy slides rapidly towards deep recession there are growing calls for a Universal Benefit coming from some leftists and rightists. Now Finance Minister Grant Robertson is saying it is on the table.  This article by a French party Workers Struggle provides analysis of various forms of universal ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
    This is the advice from the very top of the anti-fluoride movement – Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Don’t worry about reading  up on all the scientific information “You only have ...
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 10
    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    3 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

    Prospect Magazine alerted me to this particularly apt quote. It is a much more evocative quote than Hemingway’s “gradually then suddenly” which is also doing ...

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    5 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    5 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    5 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    6 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    6 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    6 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    7 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs 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 unexpectedly missing or ...
    7 days ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    7 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    7 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    7 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    1 week ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    1 week ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    1 week ago

  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
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    1 week ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
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    1 week ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
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    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
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  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
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    1 week ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
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    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
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    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
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    2 weeks ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
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    2 weeks ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
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  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
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    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
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  • COVID-19 updates
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    2 weeks ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
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  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
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