Polity: Fizzy drinks: Tax or no tax?

Written By: - Date published: 2:48 pm, February 18th, 2014 - 80 comments
Categories: food, health, tax - Tags:

The original of this post is here at Polity.

There has been some discussion recently about whether we should tax fizzy drinks as a threat to public health. Otago University public health people say yes. Various anti-tax groups say no. Here’s my 2c:

1. The principle is sound

If people are going to make choices that end up costing the public money – in this case healthcare money as a result of severe disease or earlier onset chronic disease – then the community can and should take steps to discourage those choices. That is what we already do with tobacco and alcohol, and for the same reason.

Study after study has shown that price signals (e.g. taxing a product) are more effective than public education campaigns at discouraging consumption.

The reason to restrict this particular choice is to save the government money, thereby keeping other taxes lower than they otherwise would be. That allows people keep more of their money, which they can then use to make more choices.

2. The devil is in the detail

As with all behaviour-based taxes, the difference between success and failure lies in how you design and implement the program. Without seeing a particular proposal, it is hard to come down firmly in support or against just yet.

So I am interested-but-undecided at this stage.

3. The Danish example is a red herring (Ha – herring!)

Denmark was the first country ever to try a tax targeted at unhealthy food. It had real problems, didn’t last long, and they withdrew it in 2012. Many opponents of a fizzy drink tax say Denmark’s failure shows these things simply can’t work. It shows no such thing:

  • The biggest problem with Denmark’s regime was that people would just drive over the border to Germany and buy their fatty foods there. For obvious reasons, that is not a big problem in New Zealand.
  • The Danish tax was very broadly targeted (anything with high saturated fat), so it caught la-de-da Danish bleu cheese as well as kegs of Coke. New Zealand’s proposal, however, could more narrowly target some of the foods most commonly consumed by children (see below).

4. Answers to oft-asked-yet-silly questions

How dare you plot to remove a person’s right to make choices about their own bodies?
First, these choices have externalities that the whole community has to cover with tax dollars. They are not purely individual choices. Second, the program is aimed at products disproportionately consumed by children, who even libertarians agree are not capable of making fully rational choices.

Isn’t this just a halfway house towards your goal of banning booze, smokes, Coke, and anything fun?
Do you think a caucus containing Trevor Mallard, Shane Jones, and Grant Robertson will ever ban any part of a rum and Coke? No. Speaking of banning fun, though, I think we should hear more about National’s plan to liberalise weed. What, there isn’t one? Because the MPs are all conservative and judgy about that kind of fun? Huh.

Aren’t you just punishing the poor?
No. We would be encouraging heavy consumers of very high sugar drinks – whether rich or poor – to choose something else at least part of the time, in the interests of saving public health money. And we would be rewarding them with a lower relative price when they do. Unless you believe the poor are incapable of responding to price signals or of changing their beverage choices, there is no punishment involved.

80 comments on “Polity: Fizzy drinks: Tax or no tax?”

  1. just saying 1

    Actually, you are mainly punishing the poor. There is a reason the poor consume a lot of cheap crap – not having enough money doesn’t allow for much choice.
    Only one group suffers when cheap stuff is made expensive in the absence of healthier stuff becoming cheaper. The middle class isn’t going to care if their mixers cost a bit more. I doubt they will even notice.

    How about dealing with the real problem for a change? If poverty is eliminated I’ll support this new tax 100%. But I suspect there will be much less need for it.

    • Naki Man 1.1

      ” Punishing the poor” bullshit, the so called poor don’t have to give there kids this crap. Empty calories, there is no food value at all in this stuff. Water is better for you and its free. Anyone that compares this crap with milk is an idiot, of course a healthy food will be more expensive to produce than some concoction of sugar and water mixed together.

      • just saying 1.1.1

        Kids usually don’t like water.
        There is little food value in lots of stuff we eat and drink. It’s about pleasure. For the poor that has to be cheap pleasure.
        Juice is expensive. So is milk.

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          Juice is expensive. So is milk.

          Last time I looked, so was a bottle of water when compared to coke. And with the quality of tap water going down the tubes in so many places…..

          Seeing as how most ‘juice’ is just reconstituted shite (mostly apple base) it…anyway, true that juice is expensive, so is the faux shite that’s passed off as juice.

          Where is it in S.America that kids are brought up drinking coke because the tap supply is undrinkable and the bottled water too expensive?

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.2

          Kids usually don’t like water.

          BS. They like water just fine – unless the tap water has excess impurities in it making it taste foul.

          • MaxFletcher 1.1.1.2.1

            Besides which you can add things like a few drops of lemon juice or cucumber to make water tastier/more refreshing without resorting to fizzy drinks

  2. shorts 2

    I’m not opposed to a tax on fizzy drinks… and other “junk” foods if coupled with Labour’s now abandoned GST off fresh fruit and veges policy

    Punitive measures are not enough, positive solutions or options should I believe be part of the overall policy and desired behaviour changes

  3. SHG (not Colonial Viper) 3

    Fizzy drinks?

    Beer? Champagne? Moscato? RTD spirit/soda mixes? Wine cooler? Soda water? Carbonated mineral water?

    • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 3.1

      Very high sugar drinks?

      Flavoured milk? Ribena? Fresh-Up?

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        Yes, there is some discussion as to whether fruit juice would be included, as a lot of orange juice has as much or more sugar as coke does.

  4. Puckish Rogue 4

    Fizzy drinks: Tax or no tax?

    No

  5. Bill 5

    Just reinstate the ‘healthy food in schools’ programme that National scrapped and start allowing for the real world of food (the shoddy production – mechanically recovered sludge etc) to be shown. Actually, why not legislate so that every minute of a fantasy advert has to be balanced by the same advertiser making a real world ad that must create an overall balance in the mind of a reasonable viewer? That could be fun. Meanwhile, fuck this endless taxing of the poor bullshit! Besides, you think coke and others would just stand back – or you think there would be a WTO case in the wings? Plus they can afford to drop prices to counter any tax and keep sales up and even steal market share from those companies less able to cut prices.

    edit – not made by the same advertiser…funded by them but made by a group opposed to their product and bound by the same ‘fairness in advertising’ rules.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      I think just banning advertising would make much more sense. That way the artificial desire created by advertising would be removed.

  6. It’s useful that Rob Salmond mentions tobacco and alcohol. In those instances, we know that the substances are harmful, we know what level of consumption results in harm, we know exactly what ‘negative externalities’ result from that consumption, and we have clear evidence of causality.

    In the case of the fizzy drinks propaganda from publicly-funded professional lobbyists working for the University of Otago, none of those apply. Anyone pushing to tax these drinks is indulging themselves in a moral panic, not offering practical, evidence-based policy advice.

    • bad12 6.1

      Please!!! mentioning rack raising of tobacco tax raises my blood pressure above a level that is good for my health,

      The politicians weak at the knees excuse to gather a billion dollars a year in taxation over and above the cost to the health system to treat those who’s diseases are ‘Supposedly’ the direct result of using tobacco products,

      Ooooh lets have plain packaging that will deter the kids from gaining an addiction, shit legislation from a bunch of weaklings to scared to offend the Massah Bosses of the tobacco industry, when all that was needed was to register all those addicted with their doctors, make tobacco products a registered poison only able to be obtained by doctors prescription and the industry would have been made a ‘sunset’ one…

  7. Tracey 7

    Children do not read labels telling them that a bottle of coke has 50 teaspoons of sugar. They dont care if they might get diabetes. That’s why we do crazy things like remove products from their range of choices.

    I understand there is evidence that if the price is moved the consume4rs will shift products.

    kids can have sugar if they are REALLY active.

    have you looked at PE in primary schools recently? If your teacher doesnt know much about it, you get bugger all.

    physical activity is crucial…

    “Alot of children dont like water” … gee could it be cos it’s not sweet enough.

    There’s something to be said for keeping fizzy drinks as a reserved treat for birthday parties.

  8. Pete 8

    I’ve lost 60 kg since January last year through diet and exercise. Mainly diet(pic for the curious – I still have a wee way to go) And one of the first things I did was eliminate my consumption of soft drinks – I substituted sparkling water instead. I am convinced that soft drinks do contribute to this country’s obesity problem.

    I think one thing that can be done is change the serving size. Why have 600 ml servings of Coca Cola in a sitting? Why not 350 mls? People might say that no one is forcing consumers to finish their bottle, but the fact is people suck at portion control.

  9. Colonial Viper 9

    Geezus. Let’s make fizzy drink tax a big election topic this year. Because it’s the kind of brave leadership that traditional left voters are looking for in this time of real economic distress and mega trends going the wrong way.

    Especially when the real problems in ill-health and poor health behaviours come primarily from (as has already been pointed out above) poverty, whether poverty of beneficiaries or the working poor.

    • Tracey 9.1

      with a median hourly wage of just over 21 bucks and a median paid week of just under 36 hours…. there’s certainly more to discuss. 50% of our fellow working kiwis are in this block…

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        What I really want to see now is the Left leading a fierce debate on whether or not there should be maximum sugar levels set in these soft drinks, with a higher tax rate applying to the ones which don’t comply. Maybe 12g per 100mL might be a good level to go with.

        The left leaning audacity of this alone should win over hoardes of non-voters and convince them to turn out in November.

      • lurgee 9.1.2

        I think some on the left would prefer NOT to discuss it, because they know the correct answer is not the easy one. So people try to duck it. But there is plenty of time to talk about this and poverty as well.

        Of course, if we do, it might lead to awkward questions about why the fruit and veg policy was ditched in favour of a baby bonus to be spent on soft drinks.

    • Let’s make fizzy drink tax a big election topic this year. Because it’s the kind of brave leadership that traditional left voters are looking for in this time of real economic distress and mega trends going the wrong way.

      You bet. Wouldn’t it be a real public-relations windfall to declare a policy of taxing very popular products on the basis that some policy academics hold strong opinions against them? Why, the right would find that tactic absolutely unassailable…

      • lurgee 9.2.1

        It isn’t like Labour could get much LESS popular, is it? Still, fear of de-railing the gravy train is probably why the Fearless Champions of the Proles here are pooh-poohing the idea and have suddenly turned into staunch little libertarians. They think it would be a vote loser. They have the backbone and principles of a … a … National Party MP. They’ll do anything to scrabble their way into power (on a third of the vote).

    • lurgee 9.3

      Health spending and health issues are worth talking about, and linked to this topic. And there is strong class correlation. So it is worth talking about.

      I know children who were having their teeth pulled by their fifth birthday because their parents were feeding them soft drinks. Caffeinated soft drinks from the get go. I watch students – 13-14 years old – having cans of Mother for breakfast when their fingers can’t even fit around the can. Schools can’t effectively ban it because they pick it up from the dairy on the way. Nice to see people coming down on the side of the capitalists at the expense of the future health and teeth of proletarian children.

      Fruit juice is not really that expensive if you buy it in 3 litre bottles, and you can water it down to reduce the sugar content. Ditto any soft drinks you do give kids. That’s what living in poverty entails – and being responsible for your children’s health. If people are being irresponsible, we should not be justifying it by facile blather about poverty – which smacks of effete over educated middle class valorisation of the Noble Proles – but criticising it.

      • Psycho Milt 9.3.1

        When my kids were small one of our neighbours had a three-year-old with completely wrecked teeth. She wouldn’t have dreamed of giving him fizzy drinks, but had been giving him fruit juice since he was a baby – because fruit is ‘healthy’, right? Everyone says so. So the kid’s teeth have spent half the day swimming in fruit juice since he grew them and are rotted away to stumps. I have to say that my first thought wasn’t “You know, we could do with a tax on fruit juice.”

        If the idiots proposing this were the policy experts their qualifications declare them to be, they’d have thought about this a bit more. Instead they’ve come up with the kind of knee-jerk response you’d expect from someone you pulled in off the street. Imposing excise duty is a serious business and will be opposed, not only by the ‘capitalists’ selling the product in question, but also by the product’s customers. So you need very clear, strong arguments why excise duty is required, and why on this particular product.

        So, what’s the argument for excise duty on sugary fizzy drinks? Well, lots of people are getting Type 2 Diabetes and these drinks have lots of sugar in them. Excise duty will both reduce sugar consumption and help fund treatment of the resulting diabetes. OK, that’s an argument.

        So, what counter-argument can the people who don’t want an excise duty bring to bear? Well, first up, what’s the causal link between sugar consumption and diabetes? It’s that sugar causes your blood glucose level to rise quickly, which causes a lot of insulin to be released. There are two effects of interest:
        1. When insulin finds there’s way more blood glucose around than you need for what you’re doing right now, it stores it as fat.
        2. Over the long term, continually making your pancreas work flat out releasing insulin makes your system resistant to the insulin, and your pancreas less able to keep up, which manifests itself as Type 2 Diabetes.

        So, yes, there’s a causal link between sugar consumption and diabetes. Thing is, all carbohydrates cause a rapid increase in blood glucose levels – there’s this thing called the Glycaemic Index that rates carbs according to how fast they act, and sucrose (table sugar) isn’t anywhere near the top.

        Which makes the drinks’ manufacturers’ first question “Why us? Why not these ‘capitalists’ selling rice cakes, crackers, white bread, fruit juice, breakfast cereals, anything with flour, rice or potatoes in it?” To which the University of Otago’s health policy experts would have no useful answer. That’s before we even get to any ‘libertarian’ issues.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.3.1.1

          She wouldn’t have dreamed of giving him fizzy drinks, but had been giving him fruit juice since he was a baby – because fruit is ‘healthy’, right?

          I suspect that the problem wasn’t so much the fruit juice but that she was giving the child the drinks all the time which points to a need for better education of mothers.

          If the idiots proposing this were the policy experts their qualifications declare them to be, they’d have thought about this a bit more. Instead they’ve come up with the kind of knee-jerk response you’d expect from someone you pulled in off the street.

          Actually, they’ve come up with a response you’d expect of a culture of freedom of choice and deregulation and financial incentives as the way to get people to change their attitudes.

          To which the University of Otago’s health policy experts would have no useful answer.

          But they do have an answer as pointed out by you. It just needs to be articulated.

          • Psycho Milt 9.3.1.1.1

            They don’t have an answer, they have a policy they’d like to see implemented. It’s at the point where someone asks them to provide a compelling justification for their policy that they’re short of answers. The answer “Because fat people. And Diabetes.” doesn’t fall into the category of ‘compelling,’ if anything it falls into the category of ‘simple-minded.’

        • weka 9.3.1.2

          “So, yes, there’s a causal link between sugar consumption and diabetes. Thing is, all carbohydrates cause a rapid increase in blood glucose levels – there’s this thing called the Glycaemic Index that rates carbs according to how fast they act, and sucrose (table sugar) isn’t anywhere near the top.”

          Meanwhile, back in the real world, the people managing insulin resistance with diet and exercise will tell you that there is no one size fits all (so the glycemic index is of broad but limited use. Lots of people ignore it, and just work out what works for themselves). People need to figure out what they need to eat on an individual basis, not some by some chart. Insulin resistance and why some people are more affected than others is complex.

          The reason for targeting fizzy drinks instead of all refined carbs (I’ll call bullshit that ALL carbs are a problem for all people), is that they’re over represented on children’s diets because of their accessability and cheapness and (this is important) they are empty calories. At least with fruit juice* you are getting some vitamins. With bread you get some marmite or jam or something. Coke, you get nothing but the high and the fast track to syndrome x.

          *I don’t think commercial fruit juice is healthy for kids, esp very young ones, and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for fizzy. I don’t know who your friend was listening to, but the idea that fruit juice rots teeth is not new. You have to ask why people want to give something very sweet to young children and that brings in issues beyond sugar. If someone is thirsty, drink water. If they are hungry give them food with a range of nutrients that aren’t going to spike blood sugar. If they are tired, that’s another whole set of problems that can be addressed without giving them a short term energy boost. If they are behaving in ways one can’t cope with, then that’s another set of problems.

  10. Debbie Brown 10

    What about diet soft drinks – most of which contain less sugar than milk? Will they be exempt?

    If so, I’d support. Otherwise not in a million years.

  11. bad12 11

    More consumer taxes,NO f**king way, all’s such taxes do is promote nazism in the form of demonizing one section of society against another,

    It’s pretty blindingly obvious, instead of penalizing financially, (usually), those with the least means to pay, it would seem a more direct route to getting the ‘huge sugar’ rush out of much of the foods being sold loaded with the f**king stuff to simply legislate away the right of those putting it in the food in the first place to do so,

    Aim Legislation at those who knowing the damage still load their products with sugar instead of taxing the poor schmucks sucked into buying it,

    Taxation is a slow means of trying to achieve this objective, direct legislation requiring fizzy drinks and other products to only contain X amount of sugar means the results of what is trying to be achieved are immediate and of a blanket nature…

  12. Descendant Of Sssmith 12

    The suggestion that alcohol has been restricted in some way through taxation to minimise harm is nonsense. The opening up of the sale of alcohol and the reduction in age has more than offset any price increase to the point it could be said that the taxation revenue is purely a reward from the liquor barons to the government as a thank-you.

    Sugar in the same way has been liberalised and had it’s access opened up.

    Until restrictions are made on sugar content in food you’ll never make a real difference.

    The sugar industry is a most effective lobby group across the world and opposes any restrictions on sugar / carbohydrate content.

    I recall a NZ scientist being involved in a World Health Organisation investigation that included the consideration of sugar / carbohydrate in food. The draft report recommended a maximum level which when the final report came out had that recommendation missing. It turned out that the sugar industry was involved in organising the research to be done and had it removed.

    The WHO report was intended to be used in part to assist governments with guidelines for setting food manufacturing standards.

    A quick google search gives an update as to where things are with this report:

    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2014/01/06/the-world-health-organisation-takes-a-tough-stand-on-sugar-it%E2%80%99s-about-time-we-listened/

    Governmental implementation of these guidelines, with the maximum recommendation in place, would be the best place to start.

    • @ descendant..

      ..+ 1..

      ..just looking/aiming at drinks..and not at food..

      ..is only doing half the job that needs doing..

      ,,phillip ure..

    • weka 12.2

      “The suggestion that alcohol has been restricted in some way through taxation to minimise harm is nonsense.”

      Pure alcohol (food grade) costs something like $10 or $15 per litre. You can only purchase it at that price with a tax exemption. Once you water that down to match spirits on the retail shelf, you are looking at more like $5 or $7 per litre. Compare that to high proof vodka or gin at $50+ per litre.

      While I agree that access also has a large impact on consumption, I can’t see how the tax doesn’t (price is part of easy access).

  13. RedLogix 13

    Frankly I’m a little leary of letting governments determine what are ‘healthy’ eating choices or not.

    I’ve been more or less doing the lowish carb paleo thing for about three years now. The basic idea falls into three parts – eating well, sleeping and managing stress well and exercising well.

    The good eating part basically says if you could dig it up, pick it or knock it on the head – then it’s probably ok to eat. If it comes in a can, box or bottle it’s probably not. Eliminate ALL the sugars and corn fructose, eliminate the industrial hydrogenated oils, eliminate the refined wheat products – and minimise the dairy. Fermenting and culturing is highly desirable.

    I’ve been pigging out on saturated fats for ages and my last blood and cardiac test two months ago were perfect.

    Today for instance I got up at 4am, worked for several hours, breakfast was a banana, yoghurt, apple, cinnamon, egg and kelp powder smoothie. Plus a handful of macadamia nuts.

    I’m now eating dinner 12 hrs later (a chicken salad) and I’ve only had two apples in between. No sugar crash or cravings all day.

    The amazing thing is that despite the more expensive ingredients our total grocery bill is about 2/3rds what it used to be. Why? Because we can get through whole days without the need for ‘top up’ snacks.

    All up this approach more or less inverts the conventional food pyramid. The Danish tax on saturated fats was misguided – and I’d be concerned to something similar happen in NZ.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 13.1

      “Frankly I’m a little leary of letting governments determine what are ‘healthy’ eating choices or not.”

      Huh when you said you were a bit leary I couldn’t but help think of this.

      “Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…” Timothy Leary

      If you think about it though – government interference in food content not the quote above – government’s interfere in food to ensure it’s healthy all the time. It stops us eating lots of things that are not good for us and cause us to be unwell. It’s just as well they do otherwise our food would be full of all sorts of crap.

      The debate is not therefore about government interference in food choices. That’s a disingenuous argument as interference is a necessity to protect the population.

      The question in this instance, knowing that sugar is an additive to food, is should there be restrictions on how much can be added?

      In my view the real question is whether any drinks at all should be sold with added sugar?

      There seems to be no reason at all from a nutritional perspective. We certainly don’t need the added sugar and will get a sufficient intake from the rest of our food.

      What therefore is the point of adding the sugar? Making money and selling sugar are the only two seemingly legitimate reasons.

    • Tracey 13.2

      I guess my issue is it’snot about adults making choices, it’s about children making choices or adults making bad choices for them.

    • weka 13.3

      “Frankly I’m a little leary of letting governments determine what are ‘healthy’ eating choices or not.”

      The problem here Red is that they actually are right about the sugar thing 😉

      Completely agree with the potential for the govt to continue to do stupid things re fat. But I suspect we will see public opinion shift on this over the next decade.

  14. Tanz 14

    No tax. stop impinging on our freedomss . Smoking, etc. Let people make their own choices. Bossy boots govt.

  15. Tanz 15

    How is it your burden? If I drink fizzy drink how does that affect you?

    • RedLogix 15.1

      You will no doubt expect your diabetes to be treated at our expense.

      But look in your case I’m prepared to make an exception. OK?

      • bad12 15.1.1

        Is not the treatment of any medical condition ‘treated at our expense’, someone crashes their car into a power pole while speeding, we all chip in to pay for the carnage, should they be treated at our expense,

        i’m sorry i see this ‘at our expense’ as words likely to come from the mouth of a Farrar or Hooton, the we want to pay less and less tax brigade, another nasty side of the Neo-Liberal ism…

        • Psycho Milt 15.1.1.1

          Yes. User pays could be applied to a lot of things, from the health system down through education, ACC, you name it. Very bad path to start down.

          • Tracey 15.1.1.1.1

            I know what you are saying… but to run with it, what happens to the users who can’t afford to pay? The one’s on under $22 bucks an hour for 36 hour week? I am thinking particularly of health and education. It’s not inconsistent to want to rely on a cost to someone’s choices when your philosophy, for want of another word, that certain services, health and education being at least two, are precursors to a fair and just society.

        • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1.2

          someone crashes their car into a power pole while speeding, we all chip in to pay for the carnage, should they be treated at our expense,

          Of course they should as it’s part of the ‘insurance’ that should come with living in a society. Of course, they should also be fined for speeding.

          i’m sorry i see this ‘at our expense’ as words likely to come from the mouth of a Farrar or Hooton, the we want to pay less and less tax brigade, another nasty side of the Neo-Liberal ism…

          Everything is paid for from the community and thus everything done is done at a cost to us but it is also a benefit and usually, the benefits outweigh the costs. The fact is that Hooton and Farrar are extremists and that needs to be communicated as well.

          • weka 15.1.1.2.1

            Not to mention that we (collectively) do many and various things to reduce car accidents and resulting injuries, so why not do the same for excessive sugar consumption?

  16. Richard McGrath 16

    The sad thing is that those who eat and drink responsibly will be forced to pay this sin tax and thus subsidise the health care costs of those feeble-minded idiots who over-indulge.

    • McFlock 16.1

      The sad thing is to see what you do with the education other citizens paid for.

      • Richard McGrath 16.1.1

        Unrelated to the topic of this thread and doesn’t address my comment. Now THAT’S sad.

        [lprent: It did however relate directly to your comment. Did you pay directly for your education? How many other people paid taxes for it?

        McFlock just widened out your ‘principle’ to the “sin” of education paid indirectly to you by that other taxpayers who may not have received it. It was a pertinent analogy in the context of your comment, and your failure to recognize it does say that it was a wasted donation by other taxpayers.

        I suspect that what you are annoyed about is that he shifted the grounds of the debate beyond where you felt comfortable going. Specifically by answering a smartarse “do you beat your mother” question with an exact duplicate style of comment. Such mirroring is something you should get used to.

        Use your brain before wasting moderator time with arbitration requests. Eventually we get pissed off and eliminate the nuisance. ]

  17. Richard McGrath 17

    Point taken. However I’m not uncomfortable discussing my education, though perhaps comments should be directed to my parents regarding my schooling. As there were no private universities in NZ offering a medical degree in 1979, I chose to attend a state funded one. I would wager the tax I have paid since (around $75k annually these days) has more than paid for the cost of my entire education. My three kids have attended a mixture of state, integrated and private schools.

    So no, I’m not uncomfortable discussing my education, but it does stray somewhat from the original topic which was whether to place an arbitrary tax on sugary drinks. I essentially commented that under this blunt instrument a person eating and drinking responsibly will end up having to contribute to the health costs of someone who throws caution to the wind and shoulders no responsibility for their own health.

    Just out of interest, under such a system do readers know whether something like Coke Zero would be taxed at a different rate to standard Coke?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      So you’d rather everyone pay more tax to treat diabetes and other obesity-related disorders than target the taxation directly at the users?

      How very socialist of you.

      • Richard McGrath 17.1.1

        No – cut taxes, and put more money in people’s pockets so they can purchase their own health care directly, through co-operatives, or through insurance tailored to what the individual or family can afford. Raised insurance premiums for lard-arses will provide incentive to lose weight. Lower taxes and deregulation of the protected medical ‘club’ to allow competition by overseas trained doctors, nurse practitioners and medical assistants will allow medical treatment to be provided at lower cost.

        • McFlock 17.1.1.1

          The thing about user-pays healthcare is that only the payers live.

          • Richard McGrath 17.1.1.1.1

            Rubbish. We have lots of non payers at our medical centre and they’re still alive. In many cases we forgive their debt. But I guess private charity doesn’t figure in the socialist world.

            • McFlock 17.1.1.1.1.1

              It does ixist, but it is insufficient. Otherwise there would not have been a demand for public health systems in the first place.

              Or are you saying that there are no financial barriers to primary care? Because emergency departments would probably want to talk that one over with you.

              • Richard McGrath

                I’ve done six months as an emergency doctor in a public hospital and have seen who comes into those places. Most ED consumers could afford treatment elsewhere but choose not to. Some EDs now send people they’ve triaged as low priority non-urgent cases off to GPs for management.

                • McFlock

                  “Most”…

                  Oh well, there’s no problem then.
                  Oh wait, that would be if you said “all”. And I wasn’t aware an asset and income register was required at ED – wasn’t last time I was there…

        • Colonial Viper 17.1.1.2

          No – cut taxes, and put more money in people’s pockets so they can purchase their own health care directly, through co-operatives

          Yeah there’s already one big fuck off efficient co-operative – it’s called the NZ sovereign state.

          Why you’d advocate putting more money into private insurance providers and for-profits is beyond me.

          Oh actually it’s not beyond me, its standard operating procedure for the corporate compliant Right Wing.

    • McFlock 17.2

      Try reading the post and links.

      You know, try using that taxpayer-funded education (by the way, there was nothing stopping you going overseas for an ethically-obtained education, rather than using the proceeds of theft from your fellow citizens).

      • Richard McGrath 17.2.1

        So you admit it’s theft?

        • McFlock 17.2.1.1

          Nope, but by your logic it is.

          I’m only accusing you of blatant hypocrisy, not receiving stolen goods.

          I’m also suggesting that in your case, the education system has tragically failed us all by giving you the ability to articulate arguments about theft, yet failing to give you the ability to recognise that your failed religion can only exist if society provides the very fabric that you seek to destroy – social services and economies of scale provided by a central government.

          As soon as you destroy those, the demands on law enforcement become unattainable by government, while at the same time local informal power structures replace the government to provide law and social services. As the central government becomes less relevant and decays, the smaller power structures enter into conflict, until eventually one wins and replaces the old central power.

          And yes, it all starts with bitching that you don’t need incentives to change your behaviour, so therefore such a tax is you subsidising the “feeble-minded” (you sure that medical degree wasn’t 1879?).

          Asking whether such a tax is the best policy decision is fine, but slipping into that territory shows that you don’t give a shit about anyone other than yourself. In which case, you’re welcome to emigrate.

          • Richard McGrath 17.2.1.1.1

            Because the education system hasn’t turned me into a lockstep statist, you’re upset. Diddums.

            As for your comment about not giving a shit about anyone else – you don’t know me.

            • McFlock 17.2.1.1.1.1

              I’m not upset.
              I’m just pointing out that you’re a hypocrite who by his own measure is happy to flourish in a system that apparently consists of widespread theft.

              The facts that you claim to be a libertarian (albeit a hypocritical one) and refer to groups of people as “feeble-minded” are collectively a pretty good indication that you don’t really value the abstract concept of “person”, although I’m sure that you grow attached to people who directly prove to you their worth- a bit like pets, maybe.

        • Colonial Viper 17.2.1.2

          So you admit it’s theft?

          How can taxation by the government be theft when

          a) it’s issued by the government and therefore the government’s money anyway
          b) the system of taxation is what gives money its value.

          Are you an idiot?

          • Richard McGrath 17.2.1.2.1

            God, that’s priceless. You’re saying everyone’s money belongs to the government. So morally speaking they can just empty my bank account (and yours) any time and that’s kosher… yeah.

            “The system of taxation is what gives money its value.” Where do you start with that… as I say, priceless.

  18. felix 18

    Richard, I’m surprised no-one has addressed this directly:

    “those who eat and drink responsibly will be forced to pay this sin tax and thus subsidise the health care costs of those feeble-minded idiots who over-indulge”

    The more responsibly you eat and drink, the less you pay to subsidise anyone else. How could you take issue with that?

    • Richard McGrath 18.1

      But you can drink small amounts of soft drink without it necessarily being unhealthy, yet still end up being taxed. As you say, those who consume excessive amounts will pay more tax than those who consume small amounts of Unfavourable Substance X. But as ACT leader Jamie Whyte has asked, how do politicians know what is “good” or “bad” for anyone? Using markers such as heart disease is only a narrow part of the picture. How do you balance the enjoyment from drinking sweet drinks against the gradual development of weight gain and its consequences. Politicians also conveniently forget that lack of exercise also contributes to weight gain. Will the next tax be on those who can’t prove they’ve exercised for 20 minutes 3 times a week?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 hours ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 hours ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 hours ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    6 hours ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 hours ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    23 hours ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 day ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    1 day ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 day ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    1 day ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    1 day ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    1 day ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    4 days ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    4 days ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    4 days ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    5 days ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    5 days ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    6 days ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    6 days ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    6 days ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    6 days ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    7 days ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    1 week ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    1 week ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Exclusive language
    What is language? We generally assume that it a facility unique to humans, allowing us to share what’s in and on our minds. We can tell of our plans, our past exploits, our knowledge. It also allows us to lie. And yet there are vast numbers of people we can’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • 2018 – Submission to the NZ Government Tax Working Group
    Read our submission here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Guardian: Poll shows DISASTER for Corbyn and the End of Times
    The Guardian - ever eager to forewarn of doom and disaster on the left - are leading with a new poll from Opinium, which puts the Conservatives 15% clear of Labour.Con 38% +2Lab 23% -1Lib Dem 15% -5Brexit 12% +1Green 4% +2This isn't good news, and it would be very ...
    1 week ago
  • How prostitution became the world’s most modern profession
    Being and Being Bought (Spinifex Press, 2013) by Kajsa Ekis Ekman  A synopsis and commentary of Chapters 1-2 by Daphna Whitmore Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book She opens the discussion with a definition of ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Clever legal fellow on Scottish challenge to Brexit
    I make no claims to having much legal knowledge,  so I defer to those trained in this area.I am very much enjoying this twitter stream from m'learned friend in Edinburgh, deciphering the legal arguments around the Scottish court challenge to Boris Johnson, based on the charmingly obscure principle of Nobile ...
    2 weeks ago
  • An Open Letter From Closed Minds.
    Ivory Folly? The University of Auckland’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, upheld the right of the radical nationalist group, Action Zealandia to exercise their freedom of speech – not matter how distasteful that speech might be. A wiser community of students and scholars would have nodded their agreement and moved on. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Extinction Rebellion members want to “eat babies”
    If you are not convinced terrorist Organisation ‘Extinction Rebellion’ is very, very dangerous – watch this video at one of their recent meetings. Not only is this obviously mentally ill Woman begging the other terrorists to promote killing and “eating” babies and children, if you watch carefully other members nod ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    2 weeks ago
  • The government needs to tell people about the OIA
    The Ombudsman has been surveying people about their knowledge of the OIA and the right to information. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that widespread:The Chief Ombudsman says too many New Zealanders were in the dark over their right to access official information. Peter Boshier said an independent survey released yesterday on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Join the rebellion
    In the wake of last Friday's climate strike, Peter McKenzie had an article in The Spinoff about protest strategies. The school strike movement is "polite" and cooperates with those in power because that's its kaupapa - its led by schoolkids who understandably don't want to risk arrest. But there's more ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Jermey Corbyn, I don’t like GNU (sorry)
    So, the latest ruminations on the gnews from Westminster (Again, sorry; I'll stop making that pun right now).  This follows on from, and likely repeats bits of, my last post, on the suggestion that a Government of National Unity (GNU) should be set up and then oversee a referendum before ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • About time
    New Zealand likes to think of itself as not a racist country (despite being founded on the racist dispossession and subjugation of Maori). But for years, we've had a racist refugee policy, which basicly excludes refugees from Africa and the Middle East unless they already have relatives here. Now, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Legal Beagle: Vexation, or Something Too Long for Twitter
    Several people have asked me whether a particular repeat litigant could be declared a vexatious litigant, in light of their recent decision to appeal an adverse High Court ruling. My nascent tweet thread was getting ridiculously long, so it became this blog post instead.The short answer is: no. The particular ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Zealandia’s Lost Boys.
    Appealing To The Past: Action Zealandia, like so many of the organisations springing up on the far-Right, across what they call the “Anglosphere”, is born out of the profound confusion over what a man is supposed to be in the twenty-first century and, more importantly, what he is supposed to do.THE STATUE OF ...
    2 weeks ago
  • British trade union and political activists defend women’s right to speak, organise
      The attempts of anti-democratic transactivists to (often violently) disrupt women’s rights organising is largely ignored by those sections of the left most prone to misogyny and authoritarianism in New Zealand.  In Britain, however, scores of trade union and left activists added their names to a letter in July, defending ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Turning their back on justice
    The Justice Committee has reported back on the Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill. The Bill would establish an independent, quasi-judicial body to investigate and review potential miscarriages of justice, and refer them back to the Court of appeal if required. It would be a vital backstop to our judiciary, help ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • US imperialism’s 40 years of war on the Iranian people
    by The Spark On September 14, a total of 22 drones and cruise missiles struck two oil installations in Saudi Arabia, the Abqaiq processing facility and the Khurais oil field. Abqaiq is the largest oil production facility in the world. For a few days afterwards, Saudi Aramco, the Saudi national ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • $47 billion
    How much will NeoLiberal irregulation of the building sector and subsequent leaky homes crisis cost us? $47 billion, according to a new book:The total cost to fix all of New Zealand's leaky homes would be $47 billion, probably. The estimate comes from a new book, Rottenomics written by journalist Peter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
    Introduction As the Minister for ACC I thank you all for the work that you do supporting New Zealanders in their literally most vulnerable moments. From those who hold people’s lives in their hands, to the people who research technique, technology and trends, your work is highly valued. A special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape – notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch
    Notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch – Wednesday 9 October 2019 Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
    Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important. “This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
    The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service has resolved 608 insurance and EQC claims in its first year in operation, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The government service, which celebrates its first birthday today, provides a one stop shop to help Cantabrians still battling to get their homes repaired or rebuilt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy in good shape
    Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the outlook ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZTA to refocus on safety following review
    The Government is acting swiftly to strengthen NZTA’s regulatory role following a review into the Transport Agency, and Ministry of Transport’s performance as its monitor, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. An independent review by Martin Jenkins has found NZTA failed to properly regulate the transport sector under the previous ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Joint Cooperation Statement on Climate Change between the Netherlands and New Zealand
    The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long-standing and close relationship based on many shared interests and values. We value the rule of law, our democracies, and multilateralism.  And we value our environment – at home and globally. Right now there are major global challenges in all of these areas – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
    The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.  Initial sampling of District Health Boards payroll records has found that around $550-$650 million is owed to DHB staff to comply with the Holidays Act. It’s expected ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government accounts show strong economy
    A strong surplus and low debt show the economy is performing well, and means the Government is in a good position to meet the challenges of global economic uncertainty. “The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
    New applications from mining company OceanaGold to purchase land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines have been approved. Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker considered the applications under the Overseas Investment Act. Earlier this year, applications from OceanaGold to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute to tangata whenua
    New Zealanders in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay will witness Māori, Pākehā and Pacific voyaging traditions come together today as the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla assembles for the first time, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says. “Tuia 250 is a national commemoration and an opportunity for honest conversations ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More cancer drugs confirmed – even more on horizon
    Confirmation that PHARMAC will fund two new cancer drugs is further evidence of the good progress the Government is making to improve the treatment of New Zealand’s leading cause of death, Health Minister David Clark says. From 1 December PHARMAC will fund alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago