We don’t want to send the wrong message – John Key

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One morning, on Monday, 15 August, Radio NZ’s Guyon Espiner briefly interviewed our esteemed Dear Leader for the Checkpoint programme;

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TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

john key on cannabis - radio nz - checkpoint - 15.8.16

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Subject; a recent poll  showing that 64% supported possession of a small amount of cannabis for personal use should be  legal (33%) or decriminalised (31%). Only 34% of the 1,029 respondents  supported the current status quo of prohibition.

Espiner pointedly asked Key whether he thought cannabis should be decriminalised or legalised.

Key responded that he “was not a fan” of making cannabis legal.

Key referred to Parliament “sending a message” to society;

@ 0.38

“…Y’now, one of the things that Parliament does is send a message to people about, um, activity we want to see or not want to see. And, um, in the case of drugs, um, I think if we were, as Parliament, were to decriminalise then one of the messages we’d be sending is that increased drug use is ok.”

@ 1.20

“…We see longer sentences for instance for domestic violence because we’re, um, trying to send a message as a Parliament that we’re deeply opposed to the domestic violence statistics in New Zealand [and] we’re going to do something about it.”

Dear Leader stuck to his spin-doctored script, using the phrase, “sending a message”, three times.

So the National-dominated Parliament was “sending a message”?

Key’s rationale, as he stated at around 0.38 into the interview was “ were to decriminalise then one of the messages we’d be sending is that increased drug use is ok“.

Really?

Are “messages” from Parliament to the rest of New Zealand critically important?

The previous Labour Government also intended that a  “message” was sent from Parliament  to our children, back in 2008;

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As I wrote back in November 2015;

As with taxing tobacco products in New Zealand – a method proven to work – increasing the price of an unhealthy product reduces consumption. Especially amongst the poor, who are particularly susceptible to pernicious marketing and supply of cheap, unhealthy ‘foods’. A Parliamentary report here in New Zealand showed that obesity was especially prevalent in lower socio-economic areas;

In 2012/13, a Ministry of Health-led survey estimated that three out of ten New Zealand adults were obese (31.3%), an increase of 2.7% from 2011/12  and an increase of 18.6% in the 25 years since 1989   Obesity rates were highest amongst Pacific adults (68%) and Māori adults (48.3%).

The same survey found that after adjusting for age, sex, and ethnicity, adults living in the most socioeconomically deprived areas were 1.5 more times as likely to be obese as those living in the least deprived areas.

However, our esteemed ‘Health’ Minister, Dr (!) Jonathan Coleman was/is not convinced.

On 28 June, last year, speaking on TVNZ’s Q+A, Dr Coleman said;

Dr Jonathan Coleman: Not necessarily. No, the evidence doesn’t show that. If you look at the evidence for sugar tax, right, it shows actually it’s very low in terms of disability-adjusted life years lost, so that’s basically saying that, look, there’s no evidence that it’s going to end up with people living longer, healthier lives. What there is evidence for is actually eating less and exercising more, and so I’m focusing my efforts on education, getting people to actually live more healthy, active lifestyles. Sugar taxes get a lot of attention. No evidence that it works.

Four months later, in an interview with Dr Jonathan Coleman, on TV3’s The Nation, on 24 October;

Patrick Gower: Looking at a soft-drink tax –why not?

Dr Jonathan Coleman: Because, actually, there’s not the conclusive evidence, right? There might be a correlation in those Mexican studies, so they put a 9% tax on soft drinks.

Patrick Gower: And consumption dropped. That’s evidence, isn’t it?

Dr Jonathan Coleman: Sales decreased, but it’s not clear if that’s a correlation or a causative effect, so there were other things going on – a tanking Mexican economy, $30 billion drinking-water programme. It’s also not clear if there’s substitution to other beverages. So we’re saying, look, you know, there’s some evidence that’s being assessed – it’s going to be reported on in 2017 at Waikato University as well as the University of North Carolina – but there isn’t any direct evidence of causation that anyone can point to.

Patrick Gower: Well, the World Health Organization, which put out that major report recently, led by our own Sir Peter Gluckman, you know, that has said, and I will quote it for you, ‘The rationale and effectiveness of taxation measures to influence consumption are well supported by available evidence.’

Dr Jonathan Coleman: Well, they might be talking about a decrease in sales. But what we want to know about is – is there a link to obesity directly? So, for instance, there might be a decrease in consumption of soft drinks, but are people drinking more flavoured milk? Are they drinking beer as a substitution? What is says in that report is that, actually, there isn’t clear evidence. On balance, they recommend it, but, look, that’s the WHO, you know? You would expect that they would take a very purist view. And I met with the commissioners personally. I talked to Sir Peter Gluckman.

Patrick Gower: What about this for evidence? If a tax doesn’t work or there’s no evidence for it, what about with cigarettes? Because your own government’s putting up the price of cigarettes and saying that that is working to stop smoking.

Dr Jonathan Coleman: Well, that’s a different issue. So, yes, if you put a tax on something, it will decrease consumption, but what I’m interested in is – will that decrease obesity? So say, for instance, we tax something. You might drink less Coke, but are you drinking beer or flavoured milk instead?

This was an interesting exchange between Gower and Coleman. Note that his first contention is that sugar taxes do not work;

“Because, actually, there’s not the conclusive evidence, right? There might be a correlation in those Mexican studies, so they put a 9% tax on soft drinks […]  Sales decreased, but it’s not clear if that’s a correlation or a causative effect […] but there isn’t any direct evidence of causation that anyone can point to…

But only a few seconds later, Coleman makes this startling admission;

“So, yes, if you put a tax on something, it will decrease consumption…”

That was a slip on his part. The National Party politician in Dr Jonathan Coleman was instructed to parrot the official line: ‘there is no evidence that sugar taxes work‘ (even though that is precisely the same mechanism used to reduce tobacco consumption).

As I then asked;

What could be wrong with providing healthy food options for our children? Who could possibly object to fighting obesity in our youngest citizens, who are vulnerable to the highly-processed, addictive, sugary and fatty foods that are a plague on Western (and increasingly developing) contries?

Who indeed…

Need we ask? And are we surprised?

It was 2009, and National was in power;

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Two and a half years later, the consequences were predictable, dire, and costly;

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By April 2016 – seven years after National scrapped Labour’s healthy-foods-in-schools legislation, the cost of weight-loss surgery has continued to escalate;

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Dollars up as pounds go down for funded weight loss surgery

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Which raises the fairly obvious question; what message was Parliament (ie; National) sending to our children in March 2009, when it abandoned the campaign to implement healthy food options in our schools?

What “message” was Parliament (ie; National) sending to all New Zealanders?

To paraphrase John Key’s statement to Guyon Espiner on 15 August;

“…Y’now, one of the things that Parliament does is send a message to people about, um, activity we want to see or not want to see. And, um, in the case of unhealthy, disease-causing foods, um, I think if we were, as Parliament, were to permit unhealthy foods in schools then one of the messages we’d be sending is that increased obesity use is ok.”

That would be a good message to send.

I look forward to it.

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References

Radio NZ: Morning Report – Is there appetite for change on legalising cannabis?

Radio NZ: Majority back decriminalisation of cannabis use, poll suggests

NZ Herald: Greasy school tuckshop food on way out

NZ Treasury: Increase in Tobacco Excise and Equivalent Duties

Parliament: Research papers – Obesity and diabetes in New Zealand

Fight the Obesity Epidemic (FOE): NZ: National reversal on healthy food in schools “incredible”

TVNZ Q+A: Coleman – We’ll tackle obesity but no tax or legislation

TV3 The Nation: Health Minister Jonathan Coleman

World Health Organisation: Healthy diet

Fairfax media: Schools’ healthy food rule scrapped

Radio NZ: More weight loss surgery funded

Sunday Star Times: Dollars up as pounds go down for funded weight loss surgery

Other Blogs

Politically Corrected NZ: Keywi integrity at it’s finest

Previous related blogposts

Can we afford to have “a chat on food in schools”?

10 August: Unhealthy Health Cuts

When is ‘Nanny State’ not a ‘Nanny State’?

From “Nanny” State to “Natzi” State?

You’ll have a free market – even if it KILLS you!

Why did the fat kiwi cross the road?

Weekend Revelations #1 – Dr Jonathan Coleman

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bad food government nz

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= fs =

27 COMMENTS

  1. So they want to send a message. What message ? That it’s okay to lie, and cheat. To drink to excess Greed is good. But you are not allowed to have a little weed??? Some message.

  2. The mission of the government is to promote the short-term agendas of banks, corporations and opportunists. That mission requires the government to ignore ALL scientific and social evidence relating to the enormous harm caused immediately, and to ignore ALL the various ‘time bombs’ being fuelled by short-termism (everything from burgeoning atmospheric CO2 and the ensuing planetary meltdown which is underway to rapidly depleting fossil fuels, everything from obesity and diabetes to mental illness and suicide). It’s been that way for decades and is certainly not going to change now.

    Expect everything that matters to continue to be made rapidly worse by politicians. That way you won’t be disappointed.

    Expect to see more people living in cars, more urbanisation of the landscape -with the ‘mandatory’ drive-through fast-food outlets. Expect to see worsening obesity rates, worsening diabetes rates, worsening suicide rates etc. And expect an ever bigger gap between the rich and the poor. And expect a generation of young people with no hope for the future, working as shelf-refillers in supermarkets or shop assistants if they a lucky, and aimlessly wandering the streets with a digital device for comfort if they are less lucky.

    Needless to say, the system is now so rotten and so unsustainable it can only be held together by forcing down interest rates, ultimately leading to ZIRP and then NIRP. Therefore, expect to see interest rates in NZ lowered and anyone with savings to get slowly crushed while local government bureaucrats increase rates (local taxes) at rates (speeds) far exceeding inflation, progressively crushing most of populace.

    And the amazing aspect is that people will actually vote for candidates who will orchestrate all of the above.

    • It’s been that way for decades and is certainly not going to change now.

      And it’s that way every time we have capitalism in place. It’s when capitalism fails and society collapses that we get back to the ethics and principles that allow a society to build again that such short-termism and support for the psychopathic rich is forgone.

      Therefore, expect to see interest rates in NZ lowered and anyone with savings to get slowly crushed while local government bureaucrats increase rates (local taxes) at rates (speeds) far exceeding inflation, progressively crushing most of populace.

      Although you’re right about the effect the reason rates are going up is because of sprawl. The cost of sprawl increases exponentially the further our from the CDB that a city expands. That’s why cities have, prior to the last century, built upwards rather than outwards.

    • Oh no it isn’t, AFKTT. The mission of the government is to have an easy life, undisturbed by resentful outcry from their under-informed, and occasionally self-serving, supporters.

      Hyperbole is the handmaiden of refutation.

      • In order to ‘have an easy life’ politicians must implement the agendas of international bankers, corporations and opportunists. Failing to do so results in removal from office or actual physical assassination.

        ‘undisturbed by resentful outcry from their under-informed, and occasionally self-serving, supporters’ is a symptom, not a fundamental: political supporters are maintained in a state of ignorance by the entire political-media system (Internet blogs aside). Maintaining the state of ignorance of the general populace is achieved very easily: compliant ‘newspaper’ editors fill the pages of their rags with trivia and disinformation, and prevent anything of significance being mentioned; it’s the same with TV, radio and magazines. (If they didn’t they’d be out of a job within a month). Business-as-usual is promoted incessantly (serving both local opportunists and bankers).

        We go over this day after day, week after week, year after year, because it’s unstoppable at this stage. There will only be change when a lot of people are suffering much more than they are at the moment. That day WILL come fairly soon.

    • Well said and I agree ! ! Wish more understood what you have written.
      Anyone with money still in banks instead of buying gold bars, needs to have their heads examined.

      How duped and semi-brain dead are most ==>> New Zealanders.

      How sad that these idiot politicians and the N.W.O. corporate and banker criminals remain in control. Its all a sad/sick drama; a greedy unhealthy game and I drop out, for the most part, and feel much happier and saner. I’m tuning out TV ; politics and TDB more and more these days. Need more positive and creative energy and am swimming in it now. Try a fast from all the intensity for awhile and watch doors open and new experiences flourish.

      But then again, if we do nothing and expect the worst, that is what we will get. Catch 22 and just hoping for the — ‘ HUNDREDTH MONKEY THEORY ‘ TO TAKE FORM AND HATCH SOME GOODNESS.

  3. Actually Key doesn’t fear sending the wrong message, what he fears most is sending the RIGHT message.
    The right message being that he is a complete charlatan and that his government is the most corrupt bunch of mediocre third-rate political hacks that has ever held the treasury benches of New Zealand.
    Wouldn’t want New Zealanders to know that would he?

  4. And Key has come out stating “do you want to have a tinny house in your street? Well some people do already, idiot PM and what effect does this have? You don’t know do you, you are just a fear monger, putting ad lib comments out there to scare the populace.
    We all need to “send a message”, rid N.Z. of the scum that is National.

  5. Back in the 1970s the anti-establishment amongst us used to say “never trust a straight”. That remains true to this day. John Key is the perfect example of the type of person this saying referred to.

  6. Key’s rationale, as he stated at around 0.38 into the interview was “ were to decriminalise then one of the messages we’d be sending is that increased drug use is ok“.

    What message was it sending when parliament dropped the legal drinking age to 18?
    What message when it allowed alcohol to be sold in dairies and supermarkets?

    To me that message was that increased drug use is ok. The new message is that increased drug use is ok as long as the people who benefit from increased drug use have donated largely to National and have direct connections to National – as the alcohol industry does.

  7. The message from the Nats is that the kids of the poor proles are ok to kill themselves with toxic “food” (no purchasing power ). But we can’t let the kids of the Middle Classes (future consumers) fry their brains with weed.

    Ok. Got it. Message received.

  8. Yes – Key is always sending the wrong message.
    Most of his messages have to do with money, not people.

  9. This is what happens when you are stupid. You cannot be the food police but support cannabis.

    [John/Dave, please use only one user-name on this forum. – ScarletMod]

    • How can you support the sale of alcohol while also supporting the ban on the sale of marijuana?

    • John, what skool you went ?
      A bit fuzzy around the edges.
      Bring on more logic from the dark side of the moon – funny guy.
      Head in the sand – swimming in right wing nonsense.

  10. We can have a binding referendumb on changing the flag, which affects no-one (except corporate mates of John Key), but costs $26 million? WTF?

    We can’t have a referendum on medicinal cannabis, which will make the final days, months or years of someone’s lives more bearable. Key is a vain, arrogant corporate stooge, who is more worried about polls, than people.

    Next he’ll be wanting a referendumb, asking if making hair-pulling can be made ‘morally acceptable’ for Prime Ministers (even though they have been asked not to do it several times by the victim).

    Just a joke of politician, a clown on the world stage as Letterman and John Oliver have shown. Mincing down the corridor of power like he did in his volunteer uniform on stage, bend down and lasciviously pick up a piece of soap as if he were in a Serco Shower.

    Resign now Key, before the ignominy of a thrashing in the election that National will not recover from for another 9 years. Hawaii is nice this time of year and you know you will leave while National is still ahead of LabGreen bloc……. for now.

  11. Whats the Maori party doing? during their reign of power with national party, homelessness has gone thru the roof, the number of children in poverty has increased radically, and as for the healthy food debacle and obesity that NZ is struggling with…and these are the Maori parties own constituents that are bearing the brunt of nationals policies.. wtf. Marama Fox and Te Ururoa Flavell + Peter Sharples have a lot to answer for.

    • Yes, conspicuous by their silence. The Maori party yearned for such an allegiance, so by association are also responsible for the myriad of N.Z. problems.

  12. Again classic misdirection. Government should set policy, laws, rules. Those rules do not have the effect of removing a taxpayers sovereign rights, which in this case is the right to choose what we put into our own bodies. There can be age limits (based on science and social contracts) but after you can vote and die for your country, you should be allowed to enjoy a herb which makes you act silly while reducing anxiety (and fights cancer and depression, etc etc – all proven). Don’t argue the merits vs food, alcohol or anything else. That’s playing his argument and muddying it up. Should we have the right too choose, as adults, to use weed, in whatever form, as long as we don’t put others at risk? Yes, we should.

  13. Our kids are paying with their lives for National’s free market individualism. The phrase “lwet them eat cake” has become a literal truth.

  14. There is just so much information missing.

    A ‘sugar tax’ targets, maybe, all the various forms of sugars added to foods.

    It doesn’t target all the forms of fats added to make foods palatable.

    Nor does it target the instant carbs such as white ground grains which happily convert to sugars in the body. Brain food.

    Coleman could be right. A sugar tax will lower purchase and consumption of fizz and lollies and other treat foods. There is NO guarantee that it will lead to slimmer people. Nor will the infliction of ‘more sport in schools’ lead to skinnier kids. There are some hulking folk playing rugby or league, aren’t there.

    A sugar tax may be part of the solution – but not necessarily the greatest part. And, given the effete nature of this government, it is unlikely they’ll have either the will or the rigour to put together a solid comprehensive response that has all-party agreement, so it won’t be trashed by the next pack.

  15. The biggest drug of them all “cigarettes” and the biggest killer yet the government is still happy to take the taxes from them.

  16. I listened to this on Nine to Noon on RNZ today, for a change Kathryn Ryan got a good interview going, and this is about stuff that should concern us all, it is a must listen to, as we may be living or working in high risk steel structures here in NZ:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201812813/fears-over-substandard-steel-imports

    For sure, New Zealand has been sending the wrong message in regards to necessary standards for steel products, and has allowed a too lenient testing regime, which is highly irresponsible.

    Nick (the Dick) Smith reacted in a rush, as usual, and promised further testing:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/201812899/tougher-testing-of-steel-reinforcing-mesh-proposed

    Oh really, now?

Comments are closed.