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

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWA2pjMjpBs

    Shine bright like a diamond
    Shine bright like a diamond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more: Rihanna – Diamonds Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  24. Ad 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

  25. Whispering Kate 25

    So may factors contribute to obesity,

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

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

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

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

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

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

  26. Whispering Kate 26

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

    • tracey 26.1

      thanks for jumping in WKate

      • Whispering Kate 26.1.1

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

    • D'Esterre 26.2

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

    • Chooky 26.3

      +100 again Whispering Kate

  27. Michael 27

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

  28. Rosemary McDonald 28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And our poor monitoring of MRLs.

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

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

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

    • Chooky 28.2

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

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

  29. Incognito 29

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

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  • Mainstreaming Māori
    Mainstreaming need not be inherently anti-Māori. It will be if it is done badly because it will be anti-those-in need, and proportionally more of them are Māori.That the Coalition Government says it will deliver public services on the basis of need rather than, say, race deserves consideration, even though many ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 days ago
  • National says “fuck you”
    The Justice Committee has reported back on the government's racist bill to eliminate Māori representation in local government. The report duly notes the Waitangi Tribunal's finding that the bill breaches te Tiriti, and the bill's inconsistency with our international human rights obligations - and then proceeds to ignore both. Instead, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Christopher Luxon is – Big in Japan
    This week our Prime Minister Christopher Luxon… mmm, let’s take a moment to consider just how good that sounds. Hope you weren’t eating.Anyway that guy. Better? That bloke from the telly, he said - what I would say to you is… I’m big in Japan. My kind of people, hard ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 21-June-2024
    Tis the winter solstice! The shortest day and longest night of the year. The good news: we’re on our way back to summertime. Here’s another roundup of stories to brighten up your Friday. Our header image is from CRL and shows Waihorotiu Station lit up for Matariki 2024 The ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    3 days ago
  • Bernard’s mid-winter pick ‘n’ mix for Friday, June 21
    Our economic momentum remains anaemic, and it’s possible the tiny increase in GDP was a ‘dead cat bounce’. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Per-capita GDP has fallen 4.3% from its peak over the last 21 months, which is more than it it fell in the Global Financial Crisis recession ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Futility of Punishment
    Hi,I was in Texas recently and couldn’t stop thinking about how in some parts of America they really like to kill their prisoners. As a society we tend to agree murder is wrong, but somewhere along the way Texas figured it’s fine if it’s after 6pm and the killing is ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    3 days ago
  • The new Beehive approach to the environment
    A persistent theme has been weaving between the Committee rooms at Parliament all this so-called “Scrutiny” week as MPs have probed Ministers and agencies about their work and plans. The question has been simply what the environmental price might be if the country begins to accelerate its infrastructure building to ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    3 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #25 2024
    Open access notables Climate Change Is Leading to a Convergence of Global Climate Distribution, Li et al., Geophysical Research Letters: The impact of changes in global temperatures and precipitation on climate distribution remains unclear. Taking the annual global average temperatures and precipitation as the origin, this study determined the climate distribution with the ...
    3 days ago
  • You take nicer pictures when you’re not drunk
    Readers keeping count will know it's more than five years since I gave up booze. Some of you get worried on my behalf when I recount a possibly testing moment. Anxious readers: today I got well tested.All the way across France I've been enquiring in my very polite and well-meaning but ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Cancer
    Turn awayIf you could, get me a drinkOf water 'cause my lips are chapped and fadedCall my Aunt MarieHelp her gather all my thingsAnd bury me in all my favourite coloursMy sisters and my brothers, stillI will not kiss you'Cause the hardest part of this is leaving youI remember the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why we shouldn’t buy new planes for the PM
    Its not often that one has to agree with Judith Collins, but yes, it would indeed cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” (at least) to buy replacement aircraft to fly the Prime Minister on his overseas missions of diplomacy and trade. And yes, the public might well regard that spending ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    4 days ago
  • The Stadium Debate – What About the Transport Options?
    A few weeks ago, Auckland Council took another step in the long-running stadium saga, narrowing its shortlist down to two options for which they will now seek feasibility studies. The recommendation to move forward with a feasibility study was carried twenty to one by the council’s Governing Body for the ...
    4 days ago
  • Bernard’s mid-winter pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 20
    Social Development Minister Louise Upston has defended the Government’s decision to save money by dumping a programme which tops up the pay of disabled workers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: It has emerged the National-ACT-NZ First Government decided to cut wages for disabled workers from the minimum wage to $2 an hour ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Where the power really resides in Wellington
    The new Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) yesterday gave a Select Committee a brutally frank outline of the department’s role as the agency right at the centre of power in Wellington. Ben King, formerly a deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • Climate Adam: Why we're still losing the fight against Methane
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). Carbon dioxide is the main culprit behind climate change. But in second place is methane: a greenhouse gas stronger than CO2, ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: More ETS failure
    A few weeks ago, I blogged about the (then) upcoming ETS auction, raising the prospect of it failing, leaving the government with a messy budget hole. The auction was today, and indeed, it failed. In fact, it was such a failure that no-one even bothered to bid. Its easy to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The Return of Jacinda.
    Oh, take me, take me, take meTo the dreamer's ballI'll be right on time and I'll dress so fineYou're gonna love me when you see meI won't have to worryTake me, take mePromise not to wake me'Til it's morningIt's all been trueEarly morning yesterday, well before dawn, doom-scrolling.Not intentionally, that’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • How good is the interim NW busway?
    This is a guest post by Pshem Kowalczyk, a long-time follower of the blog. With great fanfare, just over six months ago (on 12 November 2023), AT launched its interim busway for the NorthWest region, with the new WX express service at the heart of the changes. I live ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • Consumer confidence collapses after Budget, in contrast with rest of world
    The first widespread survey of consumers and voters since the Budget on May 30 shows a collapse in confidence. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The belt-tightening and tax-cutting Budget delivered on May 30 has not delivered the boost to confidence in the economy the National-ACT-NZ First Government might have ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The end for the Air Force 757s
    The Air Force 757 that broke down with the Prime Minister on board in Port Moresby on Sunday is considered so unreliable that it carries a substantial stock of spare parts when it travels overseas. And the plane also carries an Air Force maintenance team on board ready to make ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • At a glance – Was 1934 the hottest year on record?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    6 days ago
  • It's not New Zealand they've never heard of, it's him
    Sometimes you’ll just be so dog-tired, you can only keep yourself awake with a short stab of self-inflicted pain.A quick bite of the lip, for instance.Maybe a slight bite on the tongue or a dig of the nails.But what if you’re needing something a bit more painful?The solution is as ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” II
    Last month I blogged about the Ministry of Justice's Open Government Partnership commitment to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation", and how their existing efforts did not give much reason for confidence. As part of that, I mentioned that I had asked the Ministry for its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why the Biden “peace plan” for Gaza is doomed
    After months and months of blocking every attempt by the UN and everyone else to achieve a Gaza ceasefire, US President Joe Biden is now marketing his own three-stage “peace plan” to end the conflict. Like every other contribution by the US since October 7, the Biden initiative is hobbled ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • Raised crossings: hearing the voice of vulnerable pedestrians
    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    6 days ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    7 days ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    7 days ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    1 week ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    1 week ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    1 week ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    1 week ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    1 week ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    2 weeks ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago
  • Gordon Campbell on how moderates empower the political right
    Struth, what a week. Having made sure the rural sector won’t have to pay any time soon for its pollution, PM Christopher Luxon yesterday chose Fieldays 2024 to launch a parliamentary inquiry into rural banking services, to see how the banks have been treating farmers faced with high interest rates. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Thursday, June 13
    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 weeks ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago
  • Hipkins is still useless
    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago

  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
    Professor Neil Quigley has been reappointed as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board for a further term of two years, until 30 June 2026.  “Professor Quigley has played a key role in establishing the new Board after the commencement of the new RBNZ Act on 1 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
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