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Simon – only good at the bottom of a cliff

Written By: - Date published: 8:03 am, July 31st, 2019 - 78 comments
Categories: health, politicans, Politics, Simon Bridges, Social issues - Tags: ,

Just finished reading the transcript of a Q&A interview between Jack Tame and  Simon Bridges posted on Scoop. Amongst all of the other circumlocutions and the wheedling of a conniving prosecutor was the hypocrisy over cancer drugs. He wants to make a relatively token amount towards funding super-expensive cancer drugs – but doesn’t want to deal with root causes or prevention of cancer? It beggars belief that this fool is a politician.

SIMON I would argue that thousands of people will be better off under this $50m a year for Pharmac specifically for cancer drugs.

JACK Let me ask, then, about broader issues around it– around cancer. Do you oppose alcohol advertising?

SIMON No.

JACK Okay. Do you oppose the advertising of junk food to young people in New Zealand?

SIMON Well, it depends what you mean by young people and all the quid pro quos that go with that. But I’m sorry, Jack, we’re not the fun police.

JACK Just let me speak. Do you support–? Okay, well, here’s what–

SIMON I’m not going to live in a world where all you get when you sit down is a few peas and a piece of broccoli. That’s not the world that New Zealanders want to live in.

JACK You’ve pledged $50m. The Cancer Society says 30% to 50% of cancers – an enormous amount of cancers – could be prevented by modifying key lifestyle factors and infections. And the things they say should be prioritised in New Zealand – and we’re talking about a stitch-in-time solution here – is reducing the marketing of unhealthy food to children, a national food ban– food policy or plan, and policies restricting the availability and promotion of alcohol. I’ll remind you when National was in government, you scrapped the healthy foods in school plan, but you don’t support any further restrictions on the causes of these cancers.

SIMON What I support is significant more funding for cancer drugs, because right now in New Zealand— When they fund them in Aussie, when they fund them in the UK, when they fund them in Canada, they don’t here. People are mortgaging their homes, selling their homes, setting up Givealittle pages. That’s not the sort of New Zealand I want to live in. But let me answer your question squarely; I’m not going to— And maybe Jacinda Ardern and David Clark want to go down this track. I’m not going to live in a world that’s nanny state, that tells New Zealanders what they can and can’t do, what they can and can’t say, because I don’t believe in that. Freedom’s important too.

JACK I’m merely suggesting that if you really cared about our cancer rates, you might consider the root cause, and this is from the Cancer Society. 

This is the conundrum of funding highly expensive and usually largely experimental terminal level drugs using the public health system. In this case providing just $50 million is only going to be sufficient to provide a relatively few people a few more doses of drugs. Drugs that are unlikely to cure them, but may possibly hold off deaths for a few more weeks or months.

And it is clear that money that National is planning to rort for these drugs will be taken from other parts of the health system budget. In effect depriving other citizens from what they currently can expect from the already overstretched health budgets. This was avoided earlier in the interview by Simon.

Prevention is usually far more effective and invariably cheaper than curing late stage diseases.

That involves taxes and regulation on known harmful behaviours like smoking, drinking alcohol, drifting some kinds of agricultural sprays over people and animals, reducing heavy metals in the environment, providing clean water, regulating food preparation, and all of those nitty-gritty bits of real politics that Simon obviously doesn’t want to do.

Having more checkups is less traumatic than suffering the side-effects of chemo, radiation, and drug side-effects. It is also way less expensive.

A few times a year the vampires at LabTest draw my blood, test it, and inform my doctor on what they find there. I’ve started suffering the old-age indignity of having occasionally having to crap into a plastic container to provide a stool sample to check for bowel cancers. My partner even at her youngish age has regular breast checks because of a family history of breast cancers.

None of these cost much either per person or for the country as a whole. What they do is to reduce the probability of finding cancers and a host of other problems too late to do anything apart from performing heroic failures. The type of ineffective noble gesture of the type that Simon clearly would like to be seen to be doing.

With cancers, finding them early enough is invariably the best. The various of my friends and family who have survived cancers, often multiple forms of cancer in some, invariably found them early and were successfully treated. Usually they went on to some quite remarkable later lives for decades with constant monitoring. The ones who found them late usually died within years. There were some who simply didn’t survive even early detection because the progression was so fast. 

Simon came across in that interview as being a stupid light weight who is more concerned with placating potential corporate donors than doing the actual job he wants us to vote him to do.

Politics isn’t just about raising indignation to win and vague useless gestures. It is also about showing that you can do the nitty-gritty of balancing the competing demands to produce the fairest and most effective outcomes. You can’t weasel around that with splashy and essentially hopeless promises of diverting health money from saving the many to briefly helping a very very few. 

Simon placed himself firmly at the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff because he appears to be too lazy or too scared of donors to put fences at the top.

78 comments on “Simon – only good at the bottom of a cliff”

  1. Sacha 1

    Bridges is visibly coming apart during interviews this week. Yet another train wreck this morning on RNZ.

    • ianmac 1.1

      Yes. This morning, Bridges seemed to believe that shouting over the interviewer and chanting the same old same old, would convince folk. Rather than responding to intelligent questions.

    • mosa 1.2

      He is no good under pressure and gets nasty when he is challenged.

      Adern was under the same pressure in last weeks Q+A and responded very differently.

      It is about time the National party is put under scrutiny for the nine years they were in government , it certainly was not a bed of roses and they must be held accountable when they announce this type of policy but enacted something quite different when in government.

      The hypocrisy is outrageous.

      I hope we see more of this type of scrutiny of all politicians.

      National has had a long easy ride not being held to account by the media.

      I hope that is changing.

      • Sacha 1.2.1

        They seem to actually be annoying the journos themselves now – noticeably angry tone.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Advice from the alt-Green perspective:  herb Robert.  That's the cancer-preventative strategy I've been using in recent years.  It regrows easily from a multitude of seeds every year.  A single plant I brought down with me when I retired from Ak sufficed, and now there are hundreds on my property.

    Robert was Archbishop of Paris in the 13th century and healed people with the herb.  The red stems are what makes it distinguishable from other weeds.

    "I’m not going to live in a world where all you get when you sit down is a few peas and a piece of broccoli. That’s not the world that New Zealanders want to live in."  Simon is right to take a staunch stand against compulsory vegetarianism.  Particularly such small servings.  Kia kaha Simon!

  3. Almost as annoying as Bridges was Jack Tame helping promote the idea that if you get cancer it's because you drank alcohol or ate some particular food or some other bollocks. 

    When lobby groups like the Cancer Society peddle the claim that 30 to 50% of cancers are effectively self-inflicted, journalists should be demanding robust evidence for the claim and shouldn't accept some "studies show" bullshit as that evidence.

    For a non-smoker, getting cancer is pretty much a matter of luck (the bad kind) and how long you live. "Lifestyle factors" are fringe contributors at best.  Journalists certainly should let people know that alcohol etc is correlated with fractional, trivial increases in your risk of getting cancer in the next X years, but the current approach makes it sound like drinking alcohol or eating meat is as much of a risk as smoking, which is an outrageously false impression. 

    • tc 3.1

      Both parties are owned. Tame is as his name suggests.
      Slimom shows no respect for people with above average intelligence who watched his party go at health, education and housing during their tenure.

      • greywarshark 3.1.1

        It is very concerning to think that the blame-people group may get a wedge into the health sector.    It is important to look at symptoms objectively – if someone is obese with all that can bring – they need medical help coupled with psychological support, not be denigrated and scorned, labelled as 'being the author of their own misfortune'; a phrase that I learned from a solicitor.

        When it comes to cancer prevention – what work is being done on hair colouring which passes through the skin into the body very easily and was and perhaps still is, not tested for safe use and is full of chemicals which I understand are carcinogenic.    The problem with us being trusting people in a responsible government health system is that if something is on sale we expect that it is safe.   If it wasn't the gummint woudn't allow the public to be put at risk would they!   But what if the gummint doesn't want to test it and find out, so remains in wilful ignorance?

        Then there is the information that decaying non-slip coating releases small amounts of carcinogenic material.    I have read about it on google but is there any reference to that from official sources?   Not that I have registered.    And each time I look at the expensive pots and pans used by my children that are showing signs of wear I wonder.    But I can't go on nagging about an ignis fatuus that no-one they know has heard of.

        (Ignis fatuus – means will-of-the-wisp – lovely new word to add to the lexicon – I got it from google when I looked up chimera meaning and went for More.   I thought I would just throw that in to the discourse as extra garnish!).

    • Jess NZ 3.2

      'Peddling' ??? What's your evidence it's false? You've presented nothing for your skeptic argument except unsupported repetition of denial. Who agrees with you that is worth paying attention to, vs the cancer orgs of all developed nations?

      I think I’ll have to assume your handle describes you accurately and ignore further psychotics 🙂

      'If these foods can slow the growth of cancer, why do so many people get cancer? How often do people get cancer due to their genetics, and how often is it because of lifestyle?

      Different studies tried to answer this important question.  One of the best is an excellent recent review by the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. The review analyzed the link between the agents/factors that cause cancer and the agents that prevent it. This review is based on more than 100 studies and trials done on this topic, so there’s a lot of information. We’ve summarized it for you in this infographic.'

      https://nutrino.co/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/causes-of-cancer-1.png

      'The evidence indicates that of all cancer-related deaths, 30%-35% are linked to diet, 25%-30% are due to tobacco, 10%-20% are linked to obesity, about 15%-20% are due to infections, and the remaining percentages are due to other factors like radiation, alcohol consumption, stress, physical inactivity, environmental pollutants etc.'

      https://nutrino.co/what-causes-cancer/

      • Dukeofurl 3.2.1

        Are they saying 'direct cause' of the cancer in  the way smoking is for a number of cancers or is diet a 'risk factor' ?

        After all if a particular food is a cause of cancer– usually from trials on mice or could be a human test population it would be totally banned

      • Psycho Milt 3.2.2

        What's your evidence it's false?

        Look up "burden of proof" to see why it's not up to me to prove someone's unsubstantiated claim is false.

        Who agrees with you that is worth paying attention to…

        Irrelevant – the popularity or unpopularity of a claim says nothing about the merits of the claim. This is also effectively an appeal to authority fallacy. 

        'The evidence indicates that of all cancer-related deaths, 30%-35% are linked to diet, 25%-30% are due to tobacco, 10%-20% are linked to obesity, about 15%-20% are due to infections, and the remaining percentages are due to other factors like radiation, alcohol consumption, stress, physical inactivity, environmental pollutants etc.'

        Here's the scam: you'll note that where there's evidence of causality, the researchers use the verb "due to." Where there's no evidence of causality, the researchers use the verb "linked to."  Any claim of causality for those ones is unsupported.  When you look at the "due to" ones, they're known causes like smoking, infections or radiation.  Alcohol is on the "due to" list, but without a percentage because the risk increase is so low.

        • Jess NZ 3.2.2.1

          Due to, you say? OK. Here's info from the WHO, Psycho M.

          • 'Around one third of deaths from cancer are due to the 5 leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.
          • Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer and is responsible for approximately 22% of cancer deaths (2)….

          https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer

          So there’s causal evidence for a full third of cancer deaths, and others are ONLY links. A scam if you want to call it that, I suppose, but why do you want to?

          • Psycho Milt 3.2.2.1.1

            All that shows is that the people at the Anderson Cancer Center have more integrity than the people at the WHO when it comes to not presenting correlation as causation.  Either that, or the WHO has evidence of causality but hasn't published it.  

            A scam if you want to call it that, I suppose, but why do you want to?

            Because it annoys me when health professionals use correlation = causation errors and confirmation bias to demonise people's food and beverage choices.

            But that's just me. More significantly: it implies people are to blame for their cancer by having that drink, eating that bacon or whatever, and it results in people becoming either neurotic about their food choices or cynical about health prevention advice.  None of those are good things.

            • Jess NZ 3.2.2.1.1.1

              You're certainly setting the perfect example of why so many people continue to damage themselves despite the evidence. You are clutching your role as the lone voice of honesty and truth against the dastardly forces telling us eating better leads to better health, without ABSOLUTE PROOF.

              • I don't need absolute proof, any more than I did for smoking causing cancer. However, I also don't need people bullshitting me that correlation = causation and jumping to conclusions about the relative moral virtues of people's diets.  That's just annoying.

    • Marcus Morris 3.3

      Come on PM – there is plenty of scientific evidence to back the Cancer Society claims – a lobby group they may be, if that's what you prefer to call it, although I would suggest that a group that has been around for a long long time looking after the interests of cancer sufferers is snide to say the least. (very supportive of my wife and I when our nine year old son was terminally ill with cancer forty ears ago). Hundreds of cancer patients in the Waikato area are extremely grateful for the Cancer Society Lodge where they get superb accommodation at a time when they are at their most emotionally vulnerable. The Society also raises thousands of dollars each year in its various street appeals. I would imagine that their "lobbying" would be in assisting the scientific research that you seem to deride. You use the phrase ""outrageously false" which is the kind of claim young Simon and his backers, Crosby Textor and co might make.

      • Marcus Morris 3.3.1

        Didn't get time to edit?? "my wife and me" and "years" not ears of course.

      • Psycho Milt 3.3.2

        The Society does great work, and in the case above it would have just been quoting a supposedly authoritative source and isn't in a position to know the claim is speculation rather than scientific fact.  I expect a bit more concern for accuracy from journalists, especially if they're going to use the claim against a politician in an interview.

        You use the phrase “”outrageously false” which is the kind of claim young Simon and his backers, Crosby Textor and co might make.

        Smoking makes you something like 14 times more likely than a non-smoker to get lung cancer. I think it is “outrageously false” to encourage people to think other, relatively trivial correlations are in the same league. When it comes to diet, there’s usually a couple of orders of magnitude difference in the level of risk.

    • Sacha 3.4

      Lifestyle factors" are fringe contributors at best. 

      You are on the losing side of that argument, to put it politely.

      • Dukeofurl 3.4.1

        You are only 'right' in a very minor  way.

         

        But with few exceptions, studies of human populations have not yet shown definitively that any dietary component causes or protects against cancer. Sometimes the results of epidemiologic studies that compare the diets of people with and without cancer have indicated that people with and without cancer differ in their intake of a particular dietary component.

        However, these results show only that the dietary component is associated with a change in cancer risk, not that the dietary component is responsible for, or causes, the change in risk. 

        https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet

         

        One of the big issues with research is 

        "for ethical reasons, randomized studies are not generally done when evidence emerges that a dietary component may be associated with an increased risk of cancer."

        Thats when tests on animals come in, but  they can be done in massive dosages and other approaches that arent really how human populations work.

         

        One of the ones is  do 'hair dyes' cause cancer ?  Apparently not. But hairdressers etc who use  dyes a lot 'may' have an increased risk of bladder cancer.

    • New view 3.5

      Am inclined to agree with you. The wave of so called confirmed causes of cancer are in my opinion links at best. In the case of smoking there has been plenty of data collected that would suggest it can cause cancer but when they start quoting percentages my eyes glaze over. Percentages come out of computers that are only as good as the information that goes into them, and the way information is interpreted. Did they ask the right questions to get the right answers. I’m 67 and can see a time when some ‘know it all twenty something’ will pass a law limiting the amount of alcohol I can buy because in their opinion I drink too much and am putting my health at risk. Obesity and sugar intake are huge issues because as we know they can lead to heart disease diabetes and some cancers, but once again when those in the know start quoting figures and percentages The red flag goes up. 

  4. Ankerrawshark) 4

    Let’s do both.  Go for trying to reduce incidence, early intervention etc + drugs…….I know of someone who got new treatment in the UK for an advanced form of deadly cancer and is now clear of cancer. It’s horrific to think that had she been in NZ she would be dead.

     

    btw it seems that drinking and smoking rates down in youth.   We need to regulate food though.  For sake of planet as well as health

    • lprent 4.1

      Let’s do both. 

      The really really weak point of simon's flash of stupidity was to take the money from elsewhere in the health system and to put it into a small group with low probability outcomes. He doesn't want to add extra money for this because it would require increasing taxes or cutting things outside of health.

      Sure, some of the newer drugs do appear to target and cure some specialised types of cancers with essentially miracles. The problem with those is that they don't target other very similar cancers. Most of the work that is ongoing at present is to get better and better pre-use indications. But those processes themselves take enormous amounts of resources – especially when you have a small population and low incidences of particular specific medical problems like NZ does. And in the end analysis it is only going to help a very few people.

      Personally I think that doing ever preventative medical scanning of the whole population is a far better use of resources. It not only deals with cancer, but also heart disease, diabetes, and just about everything else. Then look at the issues of simply being able to access specialised services like radiologists, oncologists, etc

      All of that takes money and usually exposes hidden demand. But in a simple Pareto 80:20 analysis doing preventative and early detection work will cost way less and benefit more people. 

      Once that is done, then perhaps we should get into the business of testing miracle drugs for drug companies to over charge on…

      • Andre 4.1.1

        Expanding screening programs should also come with more discussion and nuanced understanding of potential downsides of general screening programs. False positives, overdiagnosis and overtreatment being the main ones. PSA screening being an example of a program that may have done more harm than good through lack of consideration of potential downsides.

        https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2014/jan/03/patients-truth-health-screening-harm-good

        • Dukeofurl 4.1.1.1

          Thats a risk in US of 'overtreatment' due to their type of  medical care  based on making as much money from the part of the population that is insured.

          Not so much a problem here , where Im sure the idea of overtreatment in a public hospital would be met with gales of laughter

          Your example of PSA just doesnt match the facts here in NZ , where there are something like 3 separate clinical pathways that dont involve any surgery – a sort of ‘do nothing’ under medical oversight

          Yet 100s still die, so a simple blood test (PSA) could save a lot of lives each year for those whom a do nothing approach without any medical diagnosis means the cancer will spread.

          • Sacha 4.1.1.1.1

            The guy who invented the PSA test has verified it was never designed for screening.

            • Dukeofurl 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Lots of tests and drugs in medicine are used for things they 'werent invented for'

              Some amazing breakthroughs have happened that way, when very observant doctors come aware of other effects.

              Avastin used for macular degeneration  wasnt designed for that. The list is massive.

              Perfect testing is the enemy of good enough.

              • woodart

                viagra was intended for heart treatment and was originally to be sold for $2 each. rapidly increased to $25 when unintended side effects were found. pfizer still enjoying that mistake!would they give money back for un-needed research? yeah right!

              • Sacha

                To spell it out more clearly: PSA was not designed for another purpose and then found to be effective for this. It does not work for screening asymptomatic populations.

        • Jess NZ 4.1.1.2

          Yes, there has been a lot of important discussion around 'routine' scanning and the actual impact on people's lives. 

          The Cochrane Collaboration also addressed routine mammograms. 

          'If we assume that screening reduces breast cancer mortality by 15% and that overdiagnosis and overtreatment is at 30%, it means that for every 2000 women invited for screening throughout 10 years, one will avoid dying of breast cancer and 10 healthy women, who would not have been diagnosed if there had not been screening, will be treated unnecessarily. Furthermore, more than 200 women will experience important psychological distress including anxiety and uncertainty for years because of false positive findings….Recent observational studies show more overdiagnosis than in the trials and very little or no reduction in the incidence of advanced cancers with screening.'

          https://www.cochrane.org/CD001877/BREASTCA_screening-for-breast-cancer-with-mammography 

          My point overall is not to assume that medical interventions are the first line of defense but also to look to other scientific recommendations about preserving health.

          • Dukeofurl 4.1.1.2.1

            These sorts of  studies are often done by  researchers who dont have patients who they legally responsible for.

            Epidemiology is full of them

            • Jess NZ 4.1.1.2.1.1

              Internationally recognised independent medical evidence reviewers – what we should all be hoping our doctors use.

              ‘To produce high-quality, relevant, up-to-date systematic reviews and other synthesized research evidence to inform health decision making. There are now over 7,500 Cochrane Systematic Reviews which we publish in the Cochrane Library.’

              https://www.cochrane.org/about-us

      • Ankerrawshark) 4.1.2

        a little sensitive for me at the moment.  Someone very close to me is likely very sick and may benefit from such drugs.   But no one could argue with prevention.  Worth a pound of cure

  5. ianmac 5

    And it is clear that money that National is planning to rort for these drugs will be taken from other parts of the health system budget. In effect depriving other citizens from what they currently can expect from the already overstretched health budgets. This was avoided earlier in the interview by Simon.

    That is a major factor that MSM should be exploring deeply. So to pay for the formless plan expect Disability support, Mental Health projects etc to be underfunded to help pay.  

    And wasn't there a major back-down in UK from the Cancer Council? Unintended consequences and all that.

  6. michelle 6

    the more soimon talks the more votes walk maybe pull the benefit should give him a "zip it sweetie " 

  7. Adrian 7

    Be aware of claims such as 50% increased risk of such and such. Invariably these relate to the INCREASED risk. far too many people see this as a huge leap in risk for various things from smoking etc and also for new or different drugs which have an increased risk of side effects on mortality unrelated to that which is being treated. My doctor wanted to take me off a nsaid painkiller while I was waiting for a hip op. "40% increased risk "he told me. I did some research, the 40% was on a .006% mortality rate , i.e an .0082% risk, that's an increase of 2.8 people per 10,000 over normal death rate of those taking his preferred drug, which I didn't think worked particuly well. Give me my bloody Voltaren and stop being so risk averse I said, if I can't control this pain I'll shoot myself and that'll fuck up your stats.

    Those with an anti barrel to push on whatever from booze to meat to new drugs etc deliberately set out to confuse with the old statistical fog ploy. All increased risk is almost entirely within the margin of error.

    • Dukeofurl 7.1

      Good points. If the risk was more than insignificant it just wouldnt  get approved.

    • Jess NZ 7.2

      Are you really accusing the Cancer Society of fudging studies because they have an anti meat or anti booze barrel to push? Please elaborate. How do they benefit from having such a counter cultural stance?

      • Adrian 7.2.1

        The Cancer Society are doing great work but remember their very existence relies on mitigating a threat and raising funding so a bit of hyperbole on risk factors helps a lot.

        They are not lying as such but being selective in the info they use. On glyphosate for instance no link has been detected or confirmed so the word "possible "is used to cover the researchers arses and this becomes "possible link "to the worried well. And the Worried Well are invariably a bit dim and ironicly better off than most and generally  unquestioning and therefore a perfect target for the likes of Bridges and other unethical panic merchant agitators for their own political objectives. Bridges knows full well that he is bullshitting and has little intention of following through on his half baked ideas, he's only doing it because it was worth a few per cent for Key a few elections ago. 

    • Jess NZ 7.3

      Amazing how widespread those 'anti' people are. Even in the World Health Organisation!

      • 'Around one third of deaths from cancer are due to the 5 leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.
      • Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer and is responsible for approximately 22% of cancer deaths (2)….
      • Ageing is another fundamental factor for the development of cancer. The incidence of cancer rises dramatically with age, most likely due to a build-up of risks for specific cancers that increase with age. The overall risk accumulation is combined with the tendency for cellular repair mechanisms to be less effective as a person grows older.

      https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer

      • Dukeofurl 7.3.1

        Thats false to be so certain about lifestyle and diet especially.

        The trouble with identifying a risk factor  that increases the cancer chance, is that its unethical to study  that in detail  humans in a randomized trial.

        In reality in diet only a few things are really a 'cause' of cancer.

        Smoking as a risk factor was in the order of 30x more common for those with say lung cancer, so thats huge. And of course how the cigarette smoke compenents directly led to cancer is now well known

        Nowdays its very rare to find something up to 3x more likely and more common is 1.5x more likely.

  8. Excellent to see Tame talking about known prevention measures instead of just funding expensive and unpleasant treatments. Let’s save our resources to treat the illnesses when they really are unavoidable, which some always will be.

    This is an area where the government could do some real social good with its power – educating us that many cancers are not random bad luck what power we have over the odds of staying healthy.

  9. Maaaaaate. It beggars bloody belief that this fool was ever a prosecutor. 

  10. marty mars 10

    I think there should be an audit of EVERY case this dim ever had anything to do with – we must make sure that there are no major errors of judgment and miscarriages of justice created by this very small man.
    And I don’t care if his mob of supporters want to ad their support to him – good on them.

    • OnceWasTim 10.1

      On the upside @mm, at least Nafe has had the decency to retire. It's a shame he hasn't set an example – the pair of them could juggle for the next available CEO pozzie at Harcourts or Century 21. They could both compete 'on merit' and it'd do wonders for the housing crisis

      • marty mars 10.1.1

        I suspect they will need major heavy machinery to remove the boy from fortresssimon – should be fun – he's going to make julian look like a couch surfer I think…

  11. peterh 11

    PLEASE everyone leave Simon alone he is trying to get to 4%

    • greywarshark 11.1

      peterh   Has a good point.   We do not want to stop Simon's progress – horizontally or vertically – movement is necessary to keep our political process going.    Imagine if most things stopped, or slumped downward, why it would be just like the last nine years under National's well-soled (no-soul) shoes, or being spiked through vital organs by the female heels with their well-crafted stilettos.

  12. roy cartland 12

    The danger is that that ridiculous term 'part-time PM' might catch on, among the rabid RW – Simon and his base don't care whether it's untrue, or unfair, or unhelpful. Just like Boris, Donald and the slew of awful leaders, they speak to a group immune to reason.

    That's why they say explaining is losing, for god's sake!

    Would the left sink to that level? "Sad Simon"? No, that's mean about mental health. "Poor Simon"? No, that equates poverty with low status. "Simple Simon" has been described as being classist.

    Selfish Simon? He certainly doesn't represent 'the people'.

    • Enough is Enough 12.1

      I think you need to read some of the archives and make a call for yourself whether the left would sink to that level.

      • roy cartland 12.1.1

        Well, fair enough. I guess I'm asking whether it's worth doing or not. They've said themselves (NP) that explaining is losing, so that leaves cheap shots the only option.

    • Jess NZ 12.2

      I suggest '6% Simon'.

  13. Mark 13

    The point is though Mr Prentice, people are not getting the drugs in NZ or having to pay hundreds of thousands of them, sell off the family home, that they would get for free in Australia.

    And of course its hypocrisy and politicking.
    All political parties do it.

    However the political system we have supports this sort of behaviour, and in a sense because politicians have to vie for the favour of the public to get in, sometimes their own sense of self interest does align with the public good.

  14. Peter 14

    The idiot asked on RNZ this morning what New Zealanders want. We want him to let the PM carry out the job she's in, with all the big and little bits that entails.

    We want to see a hint from him that he's considered that the members of the public who are not not his supporters have IQs above the magic number he reached in the latest popularity poll and it's only his supporters who aren't at those heights. That slight recognition might indicate the possibility of him growing up.

    • Mark 14.1

      Actually Bridges is smarter than Ardern and has far more professional and academic accomplishments. That's does not mean I would vote for his party, but hes far more interesting than the vapid Ardern

      • left_forward 14.1.1

        Haha – yeah right!

      • Cinny 14.1.2

        LMFAO !!!!!!!!  mark are you sure?  They are polls apart, literally.

      • Nick 14.1.3

        Yep Mark your right, I'd definitely have Simon on my team for 'the Chase' most definitely, his brilliance knows no bounds…..Wait …..Cancer Society estimates that $50 Million will help 2 or 3 treatments, but intellectual genius political leader in waiting Simon guessed it would help thousands…..hmmm, I wonder ? who did actual research and who just plucked a figure out of the air or some other dark orifice and thought….that sounds good, I will use that on my TV interview. But yes your right he's brilliant….for fucks sake mate.

      • rod 14.1.4

        I think Mark is a part time tory troll. 

      • Dukeofurl 14.1.5

        "has far more professional and academic accomplishments."

        Don Brash was the one that filled that slot at a higher level than Bridges … sort of proves you are barking up the wrong tree.

        Key just had an average academic results  but he could lie out of both sides of his mouth and still have the media lap it up

    • gsays 14.2

      As loathe as I am to spin it this way..

      I see a way for Simon to turn this around.

      Offer a bi-partisan approach to Pharmac funding/Cancer agency. Reach out to the 'clearly struggling' government and help.

      Agree to raise Pharmac funding by x% a year, have x% ringfenced for cancer medications, increase tax incentives for R&D…

      Surely this is an issue that is above politicising.

      • Rapunzel 14.2.1

        Well don;t spin it, why spin it? Simon Bridges is immaterial in every way, why is so much time being given to it being about him, despite what he says he's only interested in fulfilling his ambition and he does not care "about you" or non-National voting NZers for that matter.

        • gsays 14.2.1.1

          The reason for spinning it is getting the result.

          A unilateral commitment to improving the lives of more people.

          • Rapunzel 14.2.1.1.1

            I'm pretty sure though that there are very few questions to which "Simon" is the answer.

  15. NZJester 15

    I like how he tried to call the top members of the Government Part-Timers. No, Simon, they are trying to get stuff done and could not be bothered sparing with you again as they are sick of the easy wins or your stupid babbling. They want a real challenge and to fix up all the many problems the previous National government left.

  16. Professor Longhair 16

     It beggars belief that this fool is a politician.

    We could not have put it better, Mr. Prent. This Bridges to Nowhere (geddit?) is an embarrassment to all hardworking and level-headed politicians, everywhere, both retired and presently serving.

    Sincerely,

    Tau Henare 

    Jamie Whyte 

    David Seymour

    David Garrett

    Scott Morrison 

    Pauline Hanson

    Michael Laws

    Tom Watson

    Dame Yenta Hodge

    Boris Johnson

    Binyamin Netanyahu

    John "Hone" Carter

    Donald J. Trump

    Jonathan Aitken

    Rod Blagojevich

    Neil Hamilton

    David Cameron

    Tony Blair

    Aaron Gilmore

    Nick Smith

    Pansy Wong

    John Banks

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/10/neil-hamilton-disgraced-mp-celebrity-political-comeback-ukip

  17. bwaghorn 17

    It seems simple.  Fund cancer drugs by putting levy on alchohol and fast food and ring fence it.

    • "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

      In this case, why levy alcohol and fast food rather than any other food items?  Are the people who end up needing these drugs excessive consumers of alcohol and fast food? 

      • bwaghorn 17.1.1

        A higher likelyhood if cancer if you drink and eat rubbish s proven . I'd gladly pay small levy on my guilty pleasure to have a good safety net for things wrong.  We need to shift health funding to an acc type system . 

        • Psycho Milt 17.1.1.1

          A higher likelyhood if cancer if you drink and eat rubbish s proven .

          True in the case of alcohol, but that already has a substantial excise on it to cover associated health costs.  Not true in the case of fast food.

  18. Ad 18

    They need to give Simon more set-piece speeches, and let his spokespeople shadow ministers do the interviews.

    Only wets care about prevention.

    IMHO if this policyDHB  starts to unwind regionalised health through more national disciplines it's a good outcome.

  19. Rob 19

    When Key was campaigning to be PM he decided that Herceptin should be funded for 12/12 even though it wasn’t totally the absolutely proven time it would give the best results there is still some debate but Roche the company that produces this drug still are happy to promote this time course.

    that decision was at a cost of $50.00 million per year

    im sure it would cost a similar amount for the other newer biological drugs used for treating other cancers so his $50.00 mill for each year will not go very far.

    not sure what his colleague Bishop would say as his former role  as a cigaopusher must be seen as a real conflict!

  20. Oh goodness…

    I can only hope,.. that when I reach the age, I can retire with the same sense of irony and comedic and nonsensical commentary as this guy… this world gets a little old at times…

    Rowley Birkin QC -NO!!!!! – YouTube



  21. Late at night, reading about the damage caused by the minee' ball as opposed to the full metal jacket introduced by the Europeans in the 1880;s… the destruction of that slower moving, heavier lead ball made for civil war ammunition, and its mushrooming effect, was even greater than modern ammunition… to the reconstruction era of the south ,… I can hear the lament of the lovely Joan Baez rendition …

    I had a son who, as many here would know of, died of cancer. He was the pinup poster boy of survival , up until the Oncologist took a holiday in Fiji and Jack Hendrick was left at the mercy of Waikato Hospital … where they let that boy die of a commonly known microorganism called Pneumocystis Carinii ,… 6 weeks before he died he was helping me lift sheep over a fence ,… they gave every excuse and repeatedly did the same lab tests again and again… saying he and his mother were ' non- compliant' , that he had a 'viral infection', that he wouldnt 'take his asthma medication' when he had no asthma…

     

    I, my sister who was a nurse all her life pursued that case after he died, as did my mother. All I ever got back from the Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Patterson at the time was a mealy mouthed bullshit 'apology' in letter form from some ficticious nurse saying they were sorry. I never opened and read that final letter from them and have not to this day. That was back in 2005 Jack died. But I've still got every letter from them they ever sent.

    I'm gonna tell you that , along with those children's cancer wards being filled with family's and children's just like mine , … one primary reason Jack Hendrick was so robust , … of the 8 years he had cancer out of the 11 years and 11 months of his life,  was that I did a Science and Technology Dip at age 45. And at that time the internet was a thing and I took to it like a library starved bookworm.

    And I looked up every damn holistic and experimental method you could imagine, weighing it with pragmatism for us. That included Royal Rife , Ozone treatment, the Hallelujah diet , – and what I consistently found?

    It was diet. 

    The Mediterranean, the Indian , the Hallelujah diet.

    Vegetables.

    The vegetable based diet and a slow moving lifestyle. 

    Brocolli, grapes, pineapple, papaya,.. the list is endless . Its vegetables. And fish like tuna ( canned even ! ) instead of beef, – lamb if you have to which is what Jack Hendrick loved. Its all there for any of us to read up on in the interweb. There's sweets made of vegetable extract you can even get now.  Great for children's sweet tooth tendencies . God gave us all the good things to counter that cancer crap. He didn't give us drugs made by a profiteering company to cure our ills. And He didnt give us politicians or man made laws to counter it either.

    And we had those medico's bamboozled and dumfounded ,- they just could not work out just why he was so robust after every damn cancer treatment they ever threw at him. Yeah he suffered and yeah he struggled hard,… but he was a strong boy, and the idol of his younger brother Finn Isaiah.

    Proud of you , Finn.

    Now ,… what has Joan Baez and the Dixie song got in common with all of the above? Well , it was one song back in the 1970's that as a kid made me feel tearful and pensive, I vaguely knew it was about the civil war and about the South, but was only decades later that I could read and learn just what it was to lose family,… a lifestyle, a security. I learnt it was called the ' reconstruction era'.

    Young men lost their lives.

    And I know how that feels.

    And my young man was even younger.

    Now I don't mind choppin' wood
    And I don't care if the money's no good

    Ya take what ya need and ya leave the rest
    But they should never have taken the very best

    I love this song.

    Joan Baez – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down – YouTube



  22. JustMe 22

    Simon Bridges is probably the ONLY bottom feeder of a very dirty and shallow(minded) NZ National Party.

    Looking at Bridges rantings and ravings he certainly paints the NZ National Party in a very poor light.  With him in charge no-one in their right minded thoughts would want to vote for National.

    But then there are many who think the bottom feeder Bridges is the best thing since bottom feeders were created.  I wonder if Collins, Bennett etc would be all that impressed with being compared to being a bottom feeder in a cesspool that is National.

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