The HoS has come out in support of the Public Health Bill, and says people should not refer to it as nanny state.
Health authorities already have widespread powers – including the power to detain people and require them to take medication – to contain the spread of communicable disease. The cheap argument against extending it to non-communicable disease is that it is not the business of the state to protect people from themselves.
I despair at such an attitude. An inability to see a significance difference between a communicable disease and something which isn’t even a disease at all. Communicable disease management requires regulation and management because it can travel from person to person. That is massively different to issues such as obesity which is caused as much by lack of exercise as by food.
The Government says relax, no codes will be binding – well until three years are up. After that you may have a legion of inspectors going from dairy to dairy. Oh sorry Madam, you are within 500 metres of a school so you can’t sell that. Sorry Sir, but you need to hide those items and put your healthier items up the front.
You think it won’t happen? Look at the explosion in health bureaucrats in the last few years?
Rather than try to regulate unhealthy foods out of existence, why not have an extra hours PE every day at school, or have DHBs provide free or subsidised gym memberships. Because if they really think making shop keepers move certain foods to the back of the store will have any effect, they are dreaming.
Bill Ralston writes on the same issue:
The Public Health Bill is the latest example. … considering giving the Government power to control where and how supermarkets display unhealthy food.
It is a small clause in the bill and the Greens’ healthy food campaigner Sue Kedgley is adamant it would be unlikely to be used. Much.
In my experience, however, if you give Governments an inch they tend to take a mile.
Absolutely, and all our experience of Government backs this up.
People know the ugly truth of what unhealthy foods can do but some choose to gobble that Moro bar anyway. They have made a reasonably informed choice. It may not be the right choice or one that Matron Kedgley would advocate, but it is their choice.
The Government can try to control the sale of foods it dislikes but people will go on eating it. All this bill will do is create still more bureaucrats to administer it.
Yep, watch for a massive increase in public health officials.Tags: Bill Ralston, Herald on Sunday, Nanny State, obesity, public health act