What about the parents?

June 1st, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A young All Blacks fan needing several teeth removed arrived at hospital drinking Powerade “because Richie does”.

The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board has called for an end to sponsorship deals between sports teams and junk food giants as part of its submission on an Advertising Standards Authority review.

Board principal dental officer Dr Rob Beaglehole said it was inappropriate for the sporting heroes of children to be linked with fast food and sugary drink brands. 

“If children are worshipping these sports heroes, and sports heroes are associated with unhealthy products, it sends a very confusing message to children.” 

Beaglehole treated a 5-year-old boy last year who came to an appointment to have multiple teeth extracted under general anaesthetic holding a large bottle of energy drink. 

When Beaglehole asked him why he was drinking Powerade, the boy responded “because Richie does”, in reference to the former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw. 

Easier to blame Richie than blame the parents. The boy is five. His parents should be ensuring he has healthy food and drink. Nothing wrong with a kid having a coke occasionally, fish and chips occasionally, a burger occasionally. But not every day, and not enough to rot teeth. They’re called treats, not staple food and drink.

Sugary drinks were the number one source of sugar in the diets of New Zealand children, and contributed to multiple health problems including tooth decay, obesity and type 2 diabetes, Beaglehole said. 

I don’t know if kids differ much from adults but the National Nutrition Survey found only 16% of sugar in diets came from sugary drinks.

As the principal dental officer, Beaglehole said he had a clinical responsibility towards the 20,000 children who lived in the Nelson Marlborough region.

“It makes sense for me to turn the sugar tap off in order to save these kids’ teeth.

No it doesn’t. Parents have the responsibility, not you.

The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board submission on the review of the code for advertising to children also called for limits on junk food and sugary drink advertising within 500 metres of schools. 

Beaglehole said dairies, petrol stations and bus stops around schools often featured junk food advertising. 

“It’s very difficult for children to get to school without running the gauntlet of these dairies that are selling products which are harming kids.”

The submission also highlighted the prevalence of sugary drink multi-buy and discount deals at retailers close to school grounds.

Marlborough Boys’ College principal Wayne Hegarty said the main reason sugary drinks were popular with students was the convenience and cost of buying them. 

“A person that’s given $1 to buy their lunch is going to buy a can of fizzy.” 

He supported the idea of limiting the sale of sugary drinks and junk food around schools. 

This is particularly nuts. A ban on advertising within 800 metres of schools was mooted for Auckland. A map showed that these zones would cover almost the entire city.

Blenheim nutritionist Emily Hope said it was hard for children to make healthy choices when they were bombarded with advertising for unhealthy food and drink, particularly when those products were associated with role models. 

It made no sense for sports teams to be sponsored by fast food outlets, she said. 

“I don’t think it’s what the athletes themselves would eat.

“They wouldn’t fuel themselves with a [KFC] quarter pack before going out on the field.” 

You should meet the Tongan Rugby Team.

Activists demand gluten free zones!

October 19th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Betoota Advocate reports:

Inner-city residents of Sydney have today put forward a proposal to local council that enforce an official gluten-free zone in the main street of Surry Hills.

After months of petitions and meetings with barristers, local blogger Lynne Seede has officially met with Lord Mayor Clover Moore to discuss the plan, which has been gathering momentum for months.

“We aren’t asking for this. We are demanding it,” she said

“There are thousands of Surry Hills residents that recognise gluten can be harmful, and quite frankly, we don’t want it here,”

“Working with a local mothers group, I came to the idea after the Mosman city council banned cigarette smoking in the streets. Shortly after Barry O’Farrell imposed the lock-out on pubs in Kings Cross,”

“We thought ‘what is the biggest concern for our children and neighbours?’ – It became pretty clear that it was the excessive amount of gluten being served at our local restaurants and diners,”

This is nuts. Comparing gluten to tobacco. How long until academics here demand a gluten tax?

Some people are gluten intolerant and/or have coeliac disease. Gluten is very harmful to them. That is why food labels carry details of gluten on them, and almost every restaurant now marks out gluten-free dishes. A family member is gluten intolerant, so I’m very aware on how harmful gluten can be to them.

But there is a world of difference between saying gluten is harmful to those who can’t tolerate it, and gluten is harmful to everyone – it isn’t. The idea of a gluten-free zone is activism at its worse.

Hat Tip: Tim Blair

UPDATE: Silly me. I missed the satire tag on Tim Blair’s page. My only excuse is the satire was believable!

Now they’re after the dairies!

May 20th, 2015 at 8:30 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Laws to limit how many dairies are allowed in one area are “over the top”.

In the fight against obesity, the Auckland Regional Public Health Service have put together a proposal to limit the amount of dairies in one area, as well as banning the sale of junk food to children.

So good bye to the corner dairy.

I there no end to the social meddling these taxpayer funded activists will propose?

He said there are about 3,900 dairies in New Zealand, and they provide thousands of jobs for their communities, including families working in the dairy as well as distributors who deliver to the dairies.

Dairies don’t just sell junk food, they sell newspapers, they sell bread, they sell fruit and vegetables, he said.

Labour health spokesperson, Annette King, agreed with Patel, saying that she thought the idea was “over the top”.

It would be “incredibly hard to police and I think we would get a backlash from the public,” she said.

While she admitted high sugar intake is a big issue for New Zealand, restricting dairies would not be the right approach.

Great to see some common sense from Labour.

King said an educative approach within the community was the best idea, where dairies and schools can work together to ensure healthy food is consumed.

“I don’t think restricting dairies would be the right approach. Why don’t we restrict supermarkets as well?”

I’m sure that is next on their agenda!

British MPs want tobacco style warnings on wine!

August 14th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Cigarette-style warnings should be placed on wine showing its health risks and the number of calories it contains, a group of British MPs has said.

Next will be plain packaging for wine!

The recommendations come after Public Health England said no one should drink alcohol two days running in order to minimise the risks to their health.


Professor Mark Bellis, an alcohol spokesman for the Faculty of Public Health, suggested labels could say that alcohol increases the risk of cancer and causes at least 15,000 deaths a year in the UK.

We should have the same warnings on pasta, lamb chops etc.

Campaigning against individual responsibility

February 17th, 2014 at 6:53 am by David Farrar

The health ****s are gathering today. Stuff reports:

Health advocates are drawing battle lines against “Big Food”, claiming drastic intervention is needed to stave off a diabetes crisis in New Zealand.

As adult obesity nears a third of the population, individual responsibility for diet and exercise is clearly not enough, said Dr Gabrielle Jenkin, an Otago University of Wellington health academic who is co-ordinating a seminar today in Wellington.

Government policymakers were reluctant to legislate against “Big Food” – industry powers such as Fonterra, Coca-Cola, Heinz Wattie’s, fast food chains and Foodstuffs and Progressive supermarkets, she said. Many so-called nutrition research bodies were sponsored by Big Food, she said. Dietitians New Zealand, for instance, stated on its website that it is backed by Unilever and Nestle.

How terrible. I’ve got a rule of thumb which is often correct. When so called researchers are more focused on the companies involved in an industry, than anything else, they’ve lost perspective. They just want to damage the companies they personally disapprove of.

Jenkin said “tainted” research was presented at select committees as unbiased fact. “They’re corrupting science.”

The translation here is that anything I disagree with is corrupt.

She claimed Big Food was more powerful than Big Tobacco, and likely to be more aggressive if policy turned against it.

The industry put the onus on individuals to fight obesity, so governments tended to promote diet and exercise rather than legislating against unhealthy food, she said.

Of course it fucking is, because there is nothing wrong with so called unhealthy food in moderation. I almost never eat chocolate due to its very high calorie and sugar count. But when I go tramping, then I buy some chocolate to make up scroggin for energy during the tramp.

I don’t want any fucking busy bodies legislating to tell me I can’t buy chocolate because it is unhealthy.

However,some governments had stood up to Big Food. In Britain, manufacturers have been forced to reduce fat, sugar and salt, and New York’s governor attempted to restrict portion sizes and introduce nutritional information in restaurants.

Including nutritional information empowers choice. That is a good thing. But having the state try to regulate portion sizes and dictate food composition is barking mad. These researchers seem to think that individual choice and consequences have no role in society.

Over 20 years I became very large. This was not due to advertising, or sugar in fizzy drinks or anything like that. It was simply because I ate too much food. It wasn’t the type of food as much as the amount of food. And then a couple of years I lost most of it by simply eating less and exercising more. It is that simple. Not easy, but simple.

In New Zealand, politicians remained cowed by Big Food, she said. In deprived towns and suburbs, fast food outlets were so numerous as to be unavoidable.

So effing what? It isn’t compulsory to go in. And even if you do, one can actually get quite healthy food in them. It’s about balance, not about banning food.

Tax then ban

February 14th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A tax on sugary drinks could save lives and reduce New Zealand’s obesity burden, new research shows.

Research published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal shows a 20 per cent tax on sugary soft drinks would prevent 67 deaths from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and diet-related cancers per year.

Its author, Professor Tony Blakely, of the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, said a tax on sugary drinks would be a simple and smart move to fight obesity and related illnesses.

“If you’re thinking of one tax or subsidy on food, then this is [it],” Blakely said.

No it isn’t. The fax tax introduced in Denmark was a disaster and was scrapped.

3 News reports:

Should fizzy drinks be banned? And should there be a fizzy drink tax? Next week a conference of public health specialists in Auckland will meet to discuss these questions.

They claim it will save lives, curb obesity, diabetes, risk of stroke, cancers, and several other health issues.

The American Heart Association say that the upper limit of sugar we should get each day is three teaspoons for children, six for women and nine for men, but New Zealand data suggests we get three times that amount, ingesting 30 teaspoons a day.

Public health specialist Simon Thornley recently took a visit to Rangitoto College to see what was on the menu at the school canteen these days.

To Mr Thornley, this love affair with sugar is a full blown addiction, complete with binges, requiring increasing doses for satisfaction and finally withdrawal when we kick the habit.

He wants a sugar tax and restrictions on sale, just like tobacco, starting with a ban on sugary drinks and food in schools.

There is no end to the ambitions of these campaigners. It starts with tobacco, then it’s alcohol, then it is fast food, then it is soft drinks then it is probably chocolate – they want it taxed, restricted, not advertised and then banned. They do not think we should be allowed to make choices.

There is nothing wrong with having a coke, occassionally. Personally I almost exclusively drink the diet or zero versions because of the calories in the full versions – but that is my choice. Almost every food and drink has some calories in it. Apple juice does. No food is universally good or bad. It is all about frequency and portion size. Taxes and bans punish everyone.

Achtung – sugar must be banned

November 5th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Yeah I know I am Godwining myself, but I couldn’t help it.

Check out the website Fizz. They aim to ban all soft drinks in New Zealand with sugar in them!!

We are a group of researchers and public health doctors who have come together to advocate for ending the sale of sugar sweetened beverages (sugary drinks) from New Zealand.

I’m all for informing people that drinking 10 litres of Coke a day isn’t the best idea in the world. But when these lobbyists start trying to ban things, that’s when they become health n***s.  They just do not think we as adult individuals should be allowed to make choices for ourselves.

Personally I don’t drink many sugary beverages, but fuck it if I want to have a glass of fanta at a birthday party, then who the hell are they to say this should be banned.

Dr Sundborn is also planning a conference in which experts will share their views about the harm from excess sugar intake and propose strategies to eliminate the products from sale in New Zealand.

They just never stop. I can accept public health arguments over supply and marketing of tobacco as that is quite unique. But the problem is they use the precedents from tobacco, and then try to apply it to alcohol, then sugary drinks, and then no doubt chocolate easter eggs one day.

We believe that sugary drinks are likely to be addictive, like coffee, alcohol and cigarettes

Coffee will be next on their hit list!

Their about section on the website is blank, but I bet you bottom dollar that 95% of them are on the taxpayer payroll, and our taxes are paying for this little lobby group – directly or indirectly. Their symposium appears to be funded by Auckland and Otago universities.

I have no problem with research into the ill effects of too much sugar. Don’t even have a problem with some educational programmes. But when they advocate for the banning of foods and drinks they disagree with, that is when the taxpayer should say we’re not paying the bill. Looks like the Health Research Council is also funding this symposium which aims to ban soft drinks from New Zealand. Outrageous.


Treating sugar like tobacco

September 22nd, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Sugar-sweetened beverages should be regulated like tobacco as a first step to combating New Zealand’s obesity epidemic, the Public Health Association Conference was told today in New Plymouth.

Gerhard Sundborn, from Auckland University, has proposed an ‘end-game’ strategy for sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in New Zealand.

There seems no end to the desire of some people to remove all choice in people’s lives. Now they want to eliminate soda drinks.

Can you just imagine it as their ideas get hold. You bring a small bottle of coke to work and you’re told that you can’t drink it inside. Then in a few years you’re having a coke in a park, and you get told you can’t drink coke in a park as it may get seen by a kid and influence them.

Eventually they ban the consumption of soda drinks in bars and restaurants, and of course all soda drinks are sold in plain packaging and advertising has long been banned of them.

All this to because the master class know what is good for us, and must protect us from our own choices.

Nanny state charging ahead

March 12th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

A terrifying op ed in the NY Daily News by a Marion Nestle:

Barring any late legal surprises, Mayor Bloomberg’s 16-ounce cap on sugary sodas goes into effect on Tuesday, March 12. After that, restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and food carts will not be permitted to sell extra-large portions of sugar-packed drinks.

Stay calm. This does not signal the end of democracy in America. This is not the nanny state gone out of control.

Actually is is the precise definition of nanny state out of control.

If we want Americans to be healthy, we are going to have to take actions like this – and many more – and do so soon. It’s long past time to tax sugar soda, crack down further on what gets sold in our schools, tackle abusive marketing practices, demand a redesign of labels – and extend the soda cap, no matter how controversial it may seem. This must be the beginning, not the end, of efforts toward a healthier America.

Be scared, be very scared

I’m amazed she doesn’t just advocate making soda drinks illegal.

The soda size cap is a nudge in that direction. You will still be able to drink all the soda, and down all the sugar, that you want. The cap on soda size makes it just a tiny bit harder for you to do so.

That “tiny bit harder” is its point. If you have to order two sodas instead of one, maybe you won’t. If you have to add sugar to your coffee drink yourself, maybe you will only add one or two teaspoons instead of the 10 or more someone else put in there for you.

Oh, so she also wants it to be illegal to sell coffee with sugar in it?

So-called “nanny-state” measures – like bans on driving while drunk, smoking in public places and, now, selling absurdly large sugary drinks – help to level the playing field. Such measures are about giving everyone an equal opportunity to live a safer and healthier life.

Again, she can’t see any difference between measures about preventing harm to others (killing people while drink driving, passive smoking effects) and measures to control how people live their own lives.

Fix the price differential. A 7.5-ounce can of soda costs twice as much per ounce as a two-liter bottle, and you can’t buy just one; it comes in an 8-pack. Price determines sales. If a 16-ounce soda costs a dollar, a 32-ounce soda should cost two dollars.

They should also abolish large chocolate bars being not the same price per kg as small chocolate bars. In fact let’s just regulate all food pricing. No volume discounts for any food except broccoli.

Actions like these will evoke ferocious opposition from the soda industry, and it will spare no expense to make sure such things never happen. We would surely hear more and more howls of “nanny-state” from those who insist Bloomberg has led us to the brink of a public health police state. Polls say that many New Yorkers oppose the 16-ounce cap and would oppose measures like this, too.

But I can’t tell whether the opposition comes from genuine concern about limits on personal choice or because soda companies have spent millions of dollars to protect their interests and gin up histrionic, misinformed opposition.

That’s easy. Its is genuine concern about personal choice – something that the author seems to regard as having no weight at all.

Hat Tip: Eric Crampton

UPDATE: Great news. A Judge has invalidated the ban on large soda drinks. The NY Post reports:

“[The city] is enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations,” New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling ruled.

The judge said Bloomberg and the Board of Health overstepped their bounds, to enforce rules that should be established by the legislative bodies.

“The rule would not only violate the separation of powers doctrine, it would eviscerate it,” Tingling wrote. “Such an evisceration has the potential to be more troubling than sugar sweetened drinks.”

“It is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city, it excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories on suspect grounds, and the loopholes inherent in the rule, including but not limited to no limitations on refills, defeat and/or serve to gut the purpose of the rule,” Tingling wrote.

The regulations are “fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences,” the judge wrote.

A defeat for the nanny statists. But they will try again and again.

A total advertising ban!

February 12th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Martin Johnston at NZ Herald reports:

The liquor industry must be shut out of alcohol policy-making and implementation, to prevent manufacturers from undermining efforts to reduce the harms of alcohol, says an international grouping of public health specialists.

I’ve observed there tend to be two types of public health lobbyists. The zealots tend to regard their work as a holy crusade and the industry they specialise in as the enemy. They get focused more on attacking the industry rather than the merits of specific initiatives.

Do not engage commercial or vested interest groups, or their representatives, in discussion on the development of alcohol policy.

yes the zealots think Governments should not even talk to or engage with businesses that will be impacted by Government decisions. They are saying the only people the Government should listen to are themselves. And you know what – I guarantee you they are all being funded by taxpayers so they can lobby Governments with their own money!

The authors of the statement of concern say voluntary codes were often violated and a complete ban on alcohol promotion was preferable.

Nice to have the agenda out there. This means no happy hours, no Tui billboards, no online Wine retailers, no sports sponsorships, no advertising etc.

Health N***s keep trying

August 9th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

David Fisher reports:

Health officials worried about an obesity epidemic want fast-food advertising dropped from public property, including bus shelters, and are questioning fast-food and soft-drink sponsorship of public events.

They have also raised concerns over the lack of political power to stop fast-food restaurants being built near schools and in poor areas.

The moves by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service are a return to the healthy-eating principles which drove the national ban on pies in school tuck shops.

I’m sorry but fuck off and leave us alone. Jesus Christ I am sick of these people trying to control our lives, and what we can see or do.

No food is entirely bad, it is all about moderation.  It sounds like they want to ban chinese takeaways in some areas. Will sushi bars be allowed though? FFS.

I know the Auckland Regional Public Health Service is not under the direct control of the Minister of Health, but could he please cut their funding or something.

Auckland health board clinical director Robyn Toomath said the over-turning of the tuck shop rules marked the beginning of a struggle to change behaviour through Parliament.

“I’ve spent a lot of time trying to persuade central government to take responsibility for these things. At the moment, that’s not happening. So either we give up and say nothing can be done, or do you say, ‘Hang on, is there another level where we can influence the environment?’, and that’s the tier we’re talking about now.”

The translation is “Oh never mind the people voted for a different Government that doesn’t believe in banning pies from tuckshops, we’ll just carry on regardless and use our taxpaayer funded jobs to ignore the Government”.

“Obesity is a genetically, biologic-ally based state. If you inherit genes that make you a food seeker, and you put that person in an environment where food is being promoted and it’s 24/7 and it’s cheap and palatable, that person will respond to that stimulus.”

God forbid, free choice be recognised as a factor. Why doesn’t Dr Toomath just call for all food outlets to be closed down and replaced by government cafetarias that will serve appropriate meals only?

Dr Toomath: “I don’t have a bone to pick with the fast-food industry. They’re a business, they have shareholders … and they’re clever at what they do. The people I do have a bone to pick with are the regulators who’ve just taken their hand off and said ‘Go for it, do what you like’.”

The bone I have is with taxpayer funded lobbyists.

Fast food is not compulsory

February 7th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Jessica Tasman-Jones reports at Stuff:

Health authorities are calling on the council to stop the spread of fast food outlets in some of Auckland’s poorest suburbs in an effort to fight obesity.

According to the Auckland Regional Public Heath Service (ARPHS), there are more fast food outlets and less grocers and supermarkets in poor neighbourhoods.

The opposite is true for Auckland’s more affluent suburbs.

According to the ARPHS submission to the draft Auckland Plan, around 70 per cent of the city’s homes are within 1km of a takeaway shop.

That climbs to at least 90 per cent in wards like Otara-Papatoetoe and Mangere-Otahuhu.

ARPHS says it wants to see council restrict new fast food outlets across Auckland while seeking ways to increase food outlets with healthy food like supermarkets and grocers.

Those evil fish and chip shops, chinese takeaways, subways, hell pizza outlets etc must be stopped. We must not allow people to choose for themselves what food to eat, and suffer the consequences of bad choices.

Fast Food near schools

January 25th, 2011 at 6:44 am by David Farrar

Rebecca Todd in The Press reports:

Kiwi children are running the gauntlet of fast-food restaurants every day – with outlets five times more likely to be clustered around schools, research shows.

Who would have thought – fast food outlets are situated near customers. Shock horror. This must be stopped. Who would have thought that a shop would locate near 1,000 customers, rather than on remote rural roads.

The high number of burger joints and chip shops close to schools is thought to be a factor in the childhood-obesity epidemic sweeping the Western world.

Or a lack of exercise, plus a failure of parents to provide school lunches. I was provided with a healthy lunch by my Mum almost every day, and was skinny as a rake at school (things changed alas later on). We did have a fish and chips shop opposite the school, and maybe every few weeks would buy from it – very useful on freezing cold days.

The problem has prompted the Secondary Principals Association to call for restrictions on what dairies near schools can sell during certain hours.

Oh yes. And let us have a legion of inspectors to swoop on dairy owners and arrest them for selling some wine gums at 11 am.

Mr Day studied the clustering of fast-food and convenience stores around schools in Lower Hutt, Wellington, Christchurch, North Shore and Waitakere. In poor areas, there were 24.5 fast-food and convenience stores per 1000 pupils within 800 metres of a school, compared with 9.7 in richer areas.

Now this is interesting. You would expect there to be more stores in richer areas, because there is more money available to be spent. You would think terribly expensive fast food would do badly in poorer areas, as families would be saving money by making their lunches at home.

If this is not the case, then target the real problem – bad parenting.

Secondary Principals Association president Patrick Walsh said many principals were concerned about the prevalence of fatty-food outlets near their schools.

“They work very hard to ensure that their canteens sell healthy food, but they know the dairy down the road is prepared to sell a can of Coke and pie for $2,” he said.

More like $4 I would say. And again, the cheapest lunch is one prepared at home.

The Tasmanian zealots

December 30th, 2010 at 10:59 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Despite the island’s clean, green image, one person in four lights up each day, compared with a national average of 17 per cent.

Those smokers are becoming increasingly marginalised: the state capital, Hobart, banned cigarettes from the city centre four months ago, and the second-biggest city, Launceston, recently decided to do the same.

Other councils are considering following suit, and there are also calls for smoking to be prohibited on the island’s beaches. But if Burnie City Council gets its way, the sale, possession and consumption of tobacco would be outlawed state-wide. Even back gardens would be smoke-free.

Smokers would be forced to go cold turkey – or perhaps emigrate to the mainland.

Forced emigration is so 1930s. I am sure the Burnie City Council could be far more efficient and just proscribe anyone caught smoking – making it legal for them to be killed by vigilantes.

Or they could do the Iranian way. Chop their hands off. Damn hard to smoke without hands.