Press urges Council to break the law

The Press editorial:

There is no escaping those increasingly tall, garish signs highlighting the location of fast-food chains now spreading across urban New Zealand.

Are they spreading? What is the growth in fast food chain outlets? Is it any greater than population growth, if at all?

When New Zealand is struggling, and largely failing, to maintain an acceptable level of national fitness, easy access to greasy and fatty takeaway foods does nothing to help.

The issue is portion size, not access to takeaways.

So when fast foods are being sold under the noses of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, it is time to do something about it.

Linwood is one example of where a busy junction is emblazoned with advertising signage for several fast-food restaurants. Linwood Avenue School lies directly opposite KFC and about 100-metres along from a McDonald’s and Burger King. Only about 500m down the road is Linwood College.

What the editorial doesn’t mention is these fast-food restaurants are part of a shopping mall. Of course you have food outlets in a shopping mall. Where else would they be?

This is not McDonald’s or Burger King planting a shop opposite a school, with no other shops there. That might look like targeting. This is The Press whining a shopping mall has fast food outlets.

However much these children spend at these outlets, their proximity is an unwelcome temptation and a bad influence. Little can be done about the area’s existing fast-food businesses, but they have become a catalyst for action among a growing group of locals, who quite rightly say the Christchurch City Council should step in.

The group has been lobbying the council to bring in a bylaw to stop any more fast-food outlets from setting up close to the city’s schools. But council staff have written a report for councillors which says the District Plan cannot be used for this purpose. Any such attempt might leave the council vulnerable to legal action, they suggest.

That might be worth it. The council needs to throw caution to the wind. It should be bold. The health of its citizens must be one of its top priorities. 

So The Press says ignore the legal advice.

Also as I have shown many times, almost every urban area in NZ is within 800 metres of a school. A ban based on proximity to a school is nonsense.

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