No officials shouldn’t decide where stores go

June 12th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Diabetes New Zealand chief executive Steve Crew said one in four New Zealanders were pre-diabetic and an estimated 40 people a day were diagnosed with diabetes.

The problem was a huge one for the health system, he said.

The study’s results were not surprising, as Asian, Maori and Pacific people all had higher rates of diabetes.

But there were several factors at play, such as being able to afford health care.

Diabetes was often picked up earlier in patients who were able to afford to visit the doctor for a check-up.

A tax on sugary drinks and processed sugar would help, while the placement of fast food outlets should also be more regulated, Crew said.

“In Auckland there are certain parts [where fast food outlets] seem to be congregated more than others.

“It’s a fine line between having a nanny state, if you want to go out and have a burger you can, but it’s about having these processes in place so officials can work together about where to put these stores.”

No officials shouldn’t decide where stores can go. They should be able to go wherever a location is zoned for business activity.

The proposal to ban dairies within 800 metres of schools, for example, would see almost no dairies in Auckland.

Say you think no McDonalds within 500 metres of a school or ECE centre. Well there was an ECE centre in the Reserve Bank, so that means McDonalds on Lamption Quay would be banned.

Now they want to ban dairies!

May 2nd, 2016 at 6:07 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

South Korea may seem an unusual pick for a role model, but researchers want policymakers to follow the Asian nation lead to better protect Kiwi kids from junk food.

As the ink dries on the Auckland University team’s study revealing the extent of unhealthy food choices outside the school gate, they urge a closer look at South Korea’s “green food zones”, which ban sales of unhealthy foods to children within 200m of schools.

Lead researcher Dr Stefanie Vandevijvere says the Special Act on Children’s Dietary Life Safety Management relies on a list of unhealthy foods and drinks that cannot be sold or advertised to children.

She wants New Zealand lawmakers to allow councils to limit new convenience stores and fast-food and takeaway outlets near schools after her group found a large majority have an unhealthy-food shop within 800m of their school. 

They found 68.5% of schools have a dairy or fast food outlet within 800 metres of the school.

So what?

800 metres is a pretty long distance. Are they saying that is a problem?

Dairies are pretty useful places.

Why stop at banning dairies near schools? Even worse there are some dairies near homes where children live. Maybe we should ban dairies from being within 200 metres of a child’s house also!


This map by Stephen Davis (HT Stats Chat) shows how almost all of Auckland is within 800 metres of a school. So basically the research is uselsss. I suspect it was of course funded by the taxpayer.

Nanny statists will want to ban this!

April 20th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

McDonald’s is opening a restaurant in America that’s unlike any other McDonald’s in the world.

The new 6500-square-foot location in Missouri will offer all-you-can-eat french fries, customisable desserts, sandwiches, and burgers, as well as table service, The St. Joseph News-Press reports.

How terrible. I expect the normal suspects will call for this to be banned.

I wonder how long until they demand hotels ban breakfast buffets also?

Australia jumps the shark

April 13th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Christopher Snowden highlights a bad trend in Australia:

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians has called for all women “of reproductive age” who consume more than two standard drinks a day to be subject to “interventions” on the basis that they might be pregnant, in a remarkable submission to a Senate inquiry.

I know a lot of women who need an intervention then!

Children’s toys should be subject to plain-packaging laws similar to cigarettes, an inter­national women’s group says. 


Alcohol packaging should carry warning labels, akin to cigarettes, under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code

Yes every bottle of wine should carry a photo of a corpse on it.

The Nanny State Index

April 4th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Christopher Snowden has constructed a European Nanny State Index showing which countries are the worst and best to be able to eat, drink, smoke and vape.

The seven most nanny state countries in Europe are:

  1. Finland
  2. Sweden
  3. UK
  4. Ireland
  5. Hungary
  6. Greece
  7. Lithuania

The least nanny state are:

  1. Czech Republic
  2. Germany
  3. Luxembourg
  4. Netherlands
  5. Slovakia
  6. Austria
  7. Bulgaria

I’d love someone to calculate where NZ would come on this index!

They have correlated the nanny state index to life expectancy and found that there is no correlation between nanny state policies and higher life expectancy. Likewise no correlation between heavy regulation of alcohol and lower rates of alcohol consumption.


Blame parents not food companies

October 21st, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

David Shearer writes:

Here’s a “school lunch” bought from an Auckland dairy this morning. It has 8 teaspoons of sugar – about twice the recommended daily amount for a child, in one single meal.

Obesity is poised to overtake tobacco as New Zealand’s leading preventable health risk. As long as the government lacks the courage to regulate junk food, its plan to tackle obesity isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Time to stand up to the powerful food manufacturing lobby for the sake of our kids.

And the school lunch is:


I am staggered that David Shearer thinks that if school kids are eating this for lunch, the problem is food manufacturers, not parents.

On an individual level all four food items are fine as an occasional snack. Or is Labour saying that these food items must be banned or taxed extra?

The problem is if they are what a kid is having for lunch on a regular basis.

And I’ll be blunt – you’re a bad parent if that is what you are having your kids eat for lunch.

For a fraction of the cost you can make up a healthy lunch for your kids – sandwiches, fruit, sultanas etc. There is no excuse for the above to be a regular lunch item for kids.

Why do politicians of the left always look to blame companies, rather than blame individuals for poor choices?

No amount of tax or regulation short of banning all potato chips in NZ will stop a kid eating that for lunch, if their parents are not taking an interest in them having healthy food.

And don’t say this is all poor families can afford. That lunch would cost:

  • Calci yum $1.69
  • Grain waves $1.62
  • Bluebird $1.49
  • Minees $1.00

So around $5 for that.

Maybe David Shearer could tell us exactly what regulation he proposes that would stop that food being sold from a dairy?

Stuff reports Andrew Little is saying the same:

Labour leader Andrew Little says the Government should take a stick to junk food producers, rather than shying away from regulation as it tries to tackle rising obesity levels.

Yes how dare the food producers create potato chips. They must be beaten up for it.

There is nothing wrong with so called junk food, in moderation. I have potato chips around once a month. If someone has them every day and is obese, the answer is not regulating or banning potato chips.

Would the left support this in NZ?

October 10th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar reports:

IMAGINE a world where you are given a “citizen rating” based on your lifestyle, shopping habits, social behaviour and morals.

China is moving quickly towards just such a system, in a Big Brother-style plan that will see everyone given a grade between 350 and 950.

If you buy nappies or recycle, you get extra points for showing you are responsible. If you play video games and spend too much on clothes, you lose points. …

Harnessing our data from banks, retailers and social media, it’s the kind of all-encompassing surveillance system that would terrify us in the West. But the Chinese government’s State Council said in a plan released in June 2014 that the system was key to “building a harmonious Socialist society … strengthening the sincerity consciousness of the members of society, forging a desirable credit environment, raising the overall competitiveness of the country [and] stimulating the development of society and the progress of civilisation.”

By 2020, people with scores above a certain level will receive rewards, such as credit to start a business, while those with lower ratings could face ominous-sounding punishments.

I could see some left groups wanting this here.

If you use plastic bags, bang you get some demerits.

Buy your kids a soft drink, and there’s another black mark, and another if they ever have a pie from a dairy.

Fail to put out recycling, and there’s another black mark.

Be seen at a bar after 2 am, and further demerits.

This is the ultimate nanny state tool!

Set our drones free!

August 8th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Eric Crampton blogs:

Well, this is the dumbest thing I’ve heard in the past… half year?

Steve Moore, from the Civil Aviation Authority was on Morning Report describing the new rules on flying drones. Bottom line: unless your local government has said it’s ok to fly a remote control helicopter in your park, it’s forbidden. He claimed that it’s all about the safety.

Susie Ferguson, the Radio NZ host, had a few great questions, like why not also ban kids from playing cricket in parks since cricket balls are hard and also can hurt people. She also asked whether this wasn’t just killjoy stuff.

Look, National. You got elected in 2008 on an anti-nanny-state ticket. Now you’ve even got Radio New Zealand’s morning report surprised at what a bunch of killjoy plonkers you’ve turned into. What’s wrong with you?

To be fair, I’m not sure this is as a result of a Government decision, probably more the law not keeping up with technology.

But I agree with the sentiment – needing permission to fly a toy helicopter by remote control is ridiculous. You just need a general rule at best to say do it safely.

Nanny state defeated

May 5th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

There will be no outright ban on commercial sunbeds despite pleas from organisations including the Cancer Society and Consumer NZ.

Parliament’s health committee has recommended a ban on UV tanning services be limited to those under 18.

“We are satisfied that the bill as introduced would protect the vulnerable under-18 age group and allow adults to make informed decisions about sunbed use in an environment of improved operator compliance,” the committee’s report on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill stated.

People can buy cigarettes and tobacco at 18, the committee noted, a recognition that it is an age at which people are capable of making their own choices.

Labour, NZ First and the Green Party argued in a minority view that tanning beds “are not safe and offer no health benefits” and their use before 35 increases the risk of melanoma every year.

I think people who use sunbeds are vain idiots who are risking melanoma, in order to appear more attractive.

But you know what.

That’s their right.

It is not the role of Labour, NZ First and Green MPs to dictate to the peasants what they can or can’t do.

Why stop there?

Let’s have sun police who walk around checking that people sunbathing on a beach have not exceeded their statutory time.

Pupil power

September 2nd, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The ODT reports:

Who said school rules can’t be changed?

The Waikouaiti School board of trustees has thrown out one of its longstanding school rules after two of its pupils presented a convincing case to the board.

Tamati Sagar and Aaron Jones (both 10) love climbing trees, but the practice is banned for safety reasons.

The duo surveyed all the school’s parents and found about 90% of them were in favour of allowing their children to climb trees during break times.

The boys prepared a pie chart on their findings and presented it to the board of trustees and school staff.

Board members were so impressed they relaxed the school rule three weeks ago, and children are now enjoying the freedom to climb trees in the playground.

Great to see aspiring pollsters doing well!

But also great to see a little less nanny state applying at a school. Kids have accidents as part of having fun. The risk should not prevent them having fun.

I recall there was a little fort in a tree at Island Bay Primary School. One of the 4x2s fell off and landed on my head. It hurt and there was a fair bit of blood, but no one said we should ban tree forts. The answer was just to make them more secure!

A cheaper way to increase cycling

August 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Jamie Whyte announced:

“The National party yesterday announced a $100 million cycle-way that just happens to go through the marginal seat of Hutt South,” said ACT Leader Dr Jamie Whyte.

“The Greens want to spend many hundreds of millions on cycle-ways. ACT’s contribution to this bidding war for the cyclist vote would double cycle use and cost nothing,” said Dr Whyte.

“We need only abolish the law that makes wearing a cycle helmet compulsory. Since 1994, when Parliament established an instant fine of $150 for failing to wear a helmet, cycling has declined by over 50%. Overseas experience also indicates that laws making it compulsory to wear a helmet dramatically reduce cycling.

In fact a study from The Netherlands found that not having a compulsory helmet law has led to much higher levels of bike use.

“This nanny state law does not even save lives,” said Dr Whyte.

“On the contrary, it costs lives. Before the legislation, few people died from cycling accidents and, of those who did, only 20% died from head injuries alone.”

“Research reported in the New Zealand Medical Journal (see shows that, over a 10 year period, only 20 Aucklanders were killed in cycle accidents and only 4 might have been saved by wearing cycle helmets. This same New Zealand Medical Journal article concluded that life years gained from the health benefits of cycling outweighed life years lost in accidents by 20 times” said Dr Whyte.

This is what The Netherlands study found also.

“The diminished health resulting from the reduced cycling caused by compulsory helmet-wearing costs 53 premature deaths a year. ACT would simply abolish the $150 fine for not wearing a helmet. That would save $100 million on cycle-ways in marginal seats, double cycle use and save 53 lives a year,”  said Dr Whyte.

I’d do both.

Note there is a huge difference between saying helmets should not be compulsory, and saying that people should not wear them.

One day I suspect someone will try and mae helmets compulsory for skiing!

Prohibition in Bhutan

June 28th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Christoper Snowden writes how in 2005 Bhutan banned tobacco sales:

Bhutan’s government enforced the tobacco ban with remorseless vigour using the full apparatus of a despotic state. Nevertheless, a 2011 study found a thriving black market and widespread tobacco use in all its forms.

Prohibition failed with alcohol. It has failed with drugs. It has failed for several thousand years with prostitution. Yet some people think prohibition will succeed with tobacco!

The PM of Bhutan said in 2012:

the simple fact that prohibition has never worked and will not work. That’s why a black market quickly (and effectively) established itself in spite of the draconian provisions of the existing Act. That’s why, in the year since the Tobacco Control Act came into effect, many people took their chances despite the stiff sentences in it. Of the many, 84 people got caught. And of them, 39 people have already been sent to jail. 

So they jailed people for selling tobacco, yet it still didn’t work.

Bhutan’s second parliament is likely to set the history of ‘ban lift’ as it takes steps to do so one after another. Very recently the country lifted ban on import of furniture [!!! – CJS] and alcohol.
Now the country’s Upper House resolves that ban on import of tobacco must end. In a majority resolution on Monday (3 February 2014), the house said ban on import and sale of tobacco products must end to control the black market.
They tried prohibition. It failed. yet in NZ public health advocates say we should ban sugar, ban pies, ban sodas over a certain size, ban RTDs etc.

Now they want plain packaging for fizzy drinks

May 31st, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

TVNZ reports:

The statistics have sparked debate on whether plain packaging for sugary food products should be introduced, like that being argued for tobacco products.

Speaking to TVNZ’s Breakfast, Auckland University marketing expert Dr Mike Lee says plain packaging for sugary drinks could come into play over the next ten years.

The proposal for plain packaging for tobacco products has caused an uproar with concerns it could spill over into fast food and alcohol products, says Mr Lee.

“There is the worry from companies that we are going to become more and more of a nanny state,” he told the programme.

That is the game plan. Anything they disapprove of will be banned, or plain packaged.

Why does Labour think gambling is bad?

February 5th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Trevor Mallard has said:

New Zealanders are the fourth biggest gamblers per head of population in the world – a shameful figure that Peter Dunne must take action to remedy, says Labour’s Internal Affairs spokesperson Trevor Mallard.

Why is that shameful?

If we were the 4th biggest spenders on coffee in the world, would that be shameful?

Around 0.3% to 1.8% of the population are problem gamblers. But that doesn’t mean all gambling is harmful, and that NZers spending a lot of money on gambling is bad.

80% of the population do enjoy buying a lotto ticket, taking part in raffles, the odd bet at the TAB, a night out at a casino, playing some pokies at a pub, sports betting at the TAB etc, and are not problem gamblers

Does Labour now regard all the enjoyment several million NZers get from gambling as shameful?

It is quite legitimate to say we should reduce the level of gambling harm. It is nanny state paternalism to however condemn all gambling as shameful and claim that NZers overall should be spending less.

Ryall says no to nanny state

December 16th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand is getting fatter – with three in every 10 adults now regarded as obese.

A leading diabetes researcher has called the new figures alarming and has accused the Government of failing to take the problem seriously.

However, Health Minister Tony Ryall has rejected “nanny state” measures, instead arguing that providing information and support to people is enough.

“In the end, the Government can pass all the laws it likes but unless people eat less and exercise more, things won’t change,” Mr Ryall said yesterday in response to the new figures.

Exactly. The Government’s role is to inform and support, not dictate and ban.

The Government focus for new nutrition programmes has been on mothers and babies. It is also spending more on screening for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and on providing more “green prescriptions”, in which GPs and nurses encourage patients to get more exercise and improve their diet. Some health advocates have called for more radical action, including taxing sugary drinks and fatty foods.

The one and only fat tax implemented in the world was a disaster that was scrapped after barely a year. But that doesn’t stop the advocates.

Beware the regulation

December 2nd, 2013 at 7:43 am by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

In themselves, the Government’s proposed amendments to the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act contain a reasonable degree of common sense. What can be wrong with changes that aim to reduce the risk of children drowning? And if the new law would mean even portable or inflatable pools need to be fenced off, isn’t it right to encourage parents to adopt best practice and empty them after each use?

The only problem is that the proposal is a further sign of a Government regulatory itch that is now of eczematous proportion.

A fair point.

Regulation appeals to governments because it is the easiest response to a problem. But each affects people’s freedom in some way. At their worst, regulations can also skew patterns of investment and the use of economic resources. That is why any government is right to question whether a planned restriction is strictly necessary. And if one is implemented, it should watch it in practice, not least for unintended consequences, and continue to ask if it is justified.

The Government should, therefore, be asking if changes to the swimming pool legislation are necessary when the most stringent fencing will not save young children from all potential water hazards. Many pools are, after all, not far from beaches or lakes, which cannot be barricaded in the way that private pools are meant to be.

Kids can drown in baths. Maybe we should require baths to be fenced off. Also maybe Councils should have to fence off all streams, rivers and lakes. And kids have been known to fall down drains, so perhaps we need to fence off all drains as well.

Now paddling pools need to be fenced off!!

November 28th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Parents with inflatable paddling pools could face $500 fines if they ignore council orders to fence them off or empty them after use under proposed rules to be unveiled today.

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson will announce changes to the 1987 Fencing of Swimming Pools Act which, if passed next year, will introduce a new enforcement regime, including $500 fines for those who don’t fence off their pools properly.

The new law will mean any pool where the water is more than 30cm deep – even portable and inflatable – will need to be fenced off.

I can understand fences for permanent pools. But do you have to construct a fence when you have the paddling pool out for a couple of days? Ridiculous.

Officials estimate there are about 60,000 portable pools that will be affected. The Government hopes the changes will encourage parents to adopt “best practice” and empty and store portable pools after each use.

It will encourage 60,000 parents to get rid of their paddling pools.

Paddling pool nuttiness

November 28th, 2013 at 10:30 am by Jadis

The Herald reports that homeowners may be fined $500 for no fencing around paddling pools of a depth of 30cm or more.

As a parent I have a few questions about this interesting new development:

To meet the fencing requirements what is the cost to fence versus the cost of a paddling pool?  I bought a pool last week for $30.  It now requires a fence and a gate.  The fence will cost more than the pool.  Water is one of life’s cheapest toys.  We also run the risk of water shortages if people choose instead to empty the pool each time it is used – but I am guessing that unintended consequence was never assessed.

Why isn’t a full perimeter fence around a home enough?  Surely I get to decide which children get to come into my property.  They have parents too who can decide whether it is OK to come into my property.

What happened to personal and parental responsibility? I choose to supervise my children (and their friends) when they are in the pool.  Good parents and responsible adults do that – as do those who are responsible parents at the public swimming pool, the river or the beach.

Should we fence off the sea and our rivers and lakes too?

Of the six children who die each decade, how many die because of poor supervision? And how many die in paddling pools versus permanent pools, lakes, ponds, buckets etc?

Yes, it is important we keep our children safe but there needs to be a bit of reality in our policy making.  I don’t want children to die but I do believe we need balance in policy making.

There is another option – we could educate our own children on the dangers of water, teach them to swim and recognise that good parents generally supervise their children in all circumstances and assess the dangers of all situations?  What’s next?  All dishwashing powder must be in a special lock box because children can ingest and get very very ill?  I had better not give them too many ideas.

*Yep, another post by Jadis so don’t all freak out that DPF could be a parent.



$5 million to tell us kids see lots of adverts

November 9th, 2013 at 11:31 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand children will wear cameras in a world-first study to monitor the daily advertising bombardment of junk food and other unhealthy products.

More than 200 schoolchildren will be equipped with tiny video cameras that they will carry for a year.

The study follows a pilot survey that revealed an assault of promotions on billboards, shelters, dairies and the back of buses.

Researchers hope the results will be used to help formulate health policy in a country where the obesity rate among children aged between 5 and 11 jumped from 8 to 11 per cent in just six years.

With 99.9% confidence I can predict the proposed policy will be to ban advertising of foods that our health overlords deem bad for us.

Part of a $5 million collaborative programme between Otago University and Victoria University researchers, the study will produce millions of images to be analysed using a computer algorithm.

$5 million to produce shock horror headlines that kids see 27,526 advertisements a year for food, and the inevitable conclusion than advertising of non-approved foods must be banned.

Now they want plain packaging for food!

July 17th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Australian reports:

GRAPHIC images and plain packaging for junk food may be forced on consumers, as food industry heavyweights debate tough measures to combat obesity.

A panel of food science, nutrition and manufacturing experts will tackle whether tobacco’s plain packaging approach would help curb the state’s growing obesity epidemic at the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology convention today.

This is my concern over proposed plain packaging for tobacco. It sets a precedent that will be used in other areas such as alcohol and then food.

In New Zealand, Otago University professor of marketing Janet Hoek said tobacco use there had halved since the introduction of policies to restrict the way plain packaging was marketed.

But we don’t have plain packaging for tobacco implemented in NZ, so crediting it for a halving of the smoking rate is preposterous.

She called on the NZ Government to do the same for junk food, telling the New Zealand Herald“it makes sense to examine the potential these policies could have in reducing consumption of foods associated with obesity”.

Why not just have the state decide what foods we’re allowed to buy, what portion size is acceptable and have them deliver the approved foods to us every week?

UPDATE: The Australian it seems misreported Professor Hoek, and their article now says “tobacco use there had halved since the introduction of policies to restrict the way it was marketed”.

Labour’s next policy after the man ban?

July 8th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Jewish News reports:

The Left Party, a political party made up of socialists and feminists, in the County Sormland, Sweden, is pushing for making standing urination for men, illegal, for those who use public restrooms of the Provincial Government.

Why you wonder?

Party officials are pushing for the installation of sitting only toilets in men’s restrooms.

Local supporters of the proposal said they feel that sitting only urination is more hygienic and promotes male health. This will help eliminate the problem of puddles on the floor and spray stains in toilets. They also argue that urinating while sitting will help promote men’s health because it allows men to empty the bladder more effectively. Sitting urination according to advocates reduce prostate problems in men.

Men must not use urinals! They are bad for you!

I await this policy being adopted in New Zealand.

Mandatory scooter helmets

June 13th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Press reports:

A ten-fold increase in the number of children seriously injuring themselves on push scooters has sparked a call for a law change that would see youngsters made to wear helmets while riding.

Push scooters have become increasingly popular with school-age children over the past two years but the rise has seen a corresponding increase in the number of scooter-related injury claims for children up to 14 years old.

ACC figures show the number of claims has risen from 697 in 2008 to 6474 last year.

The increase has alarmed child safety group Safekids, which is campaigning for the introduction of a compulsory helmet law for scooter users.

That would be a good way to kill off scooter use all together.

Why stop there. Let’s pass a law saying it is illegal to allow kids to go outdoors unless they are wearing a full body suit to protect them from dogs, falls etc?

Ministry of Transport land transport safety manager Leo Mortimer said it was unlikely that legislation would be changed.

“In the same way that we have not considered compulsory helmets for skateboarders.

Don’t give them ideas!

“Scooter riders must comply with all the rules applying to other road users, however, unlike cyclists, they don’t need to wear a helmet or use a light at night.”

No lights? Scooters must be fitted with lights. Also we must ban using a cellphone on a scooter. And eating lollipops whil scooting.


Kid’s play

May 25th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A misguided health and safety culture is threatening to render children’s play meaningless, early childhood providers are to be warned.

The United Kingdom-based founder of Outdoor Play and Learning (Opal), Michael Follett, says a “policy of fear” has reshaped play to the extent that children are losing out on vital learning.

“You are taking away their ability to learn through primary, first-hand experience, which is how children actually learn.

“They need to fall over, they need to cut themselves, have bumps and bruises.

“If you over-protect, they don’t learn resilience.”

So very true.

Mr Follett, who is a board member of advocacy group Play England, said the situation in the UK had become ridiculous.

“People are saying tree roots are dangerous … “

As a father of three, he said, he understood nobody wanted to see children hurt.

“Some of the health and safety stuff came from a genuine response to children getting killed and seriously hurt, and that is very sensible. But what’s not sensible is the idea that you can eliminate risk.”

The focus should be on the high end stuff. I think you need a resource consent today to build a tree hut!

They want the soda size limit here also

March 15th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Martin Johnston at NZ Herald reports:

Obesity experts in New Zealand are dismayed at the legal clamp slapped on New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s law to ban super-sized sugary soft drinks in restaurants.

They should have a large soda to drown their sorrows.

His law would have limited cups of sugary soft drinks sold at restaurants, cinemas and other food service establishments to 453ml.

That is approaching close to two standard measuring cups (500ml) and is well short of the large and super-sized sugar drinks sold in New Zealand fast-food shops.

McDonald’s “large” soft drinks contain 651ml and the biggest offering at Wendy’s is around 1200ml, although Wendy’s says it doesn’t sell many of these mega-drinks.

How evil. They must be banned, along with large easter eggs.

Fight the Obesity Epidemic spokeswoman Dr Robyn Toomath said it was a great shame the mayor’s bid to help halt the growth of New Yorkers’ waistlines had been thwarted.

Yes it is a great shame that human beings have been allowed to choose for themselves what size drink they want. We must protect them from themselves.


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.