Fat tax

Hidden agenda behind fat taxes

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If there is one constant, it is the usual bleating from the Otago University’s Wellington Department of Troughers for more government regulation and taxes.

Take their regular moan in their Otago University Public Health Expert blog.

They’re so hot under the collar over Health Minister Jonathan Coleman rejecting their lobbying of seeing taxes introduced on products they don’t like, they’ll find any excuse to re-interview their own research.

This latest blog post from the troughers, including $11 million dollar woman Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu, together with anti-tobacco experts Associate Professor Nick Wilson and Professor Tony Blakely, is yet another insight into their insular little world of academia.   Read more »

Karl du Fresne on the health troughers

Karl du Fresne isn’t enamoured with recent prognostications from the health troughers about how we need sugar, fat, and carbon taxes to prevent us all turning into a nation of Jabba the Huts.

New Zealanders are under siege, bombarded almost weekly with warnings that we’re killing ourselves, either by drinking too much, eating the wrong food or being too fond of sugar.

Last week a coterie of academics from Otago, Auckland and Oxford universities called for special taxes on fatty and salty foods and government subsidies on fruit and vegetables.

Luckily for them, they wouldn’t have to work out the nightmarish regulatory details such a proposal would entail, nor pay for the army of public servants that would be required to administer it. Not their problem.

A couple of weeks earlier, at a conference in Wellington, the head of preventive and social medicine at Otago University, who also happens to be a campaigner for stringent liquor controls, recited a slew of scary statistics linking alcohol consumption with cancer.

Professor Jennie Connor said that for women, cancer was the most common fatal consequence of drinking, accounting for 44 per cent of all alcohol-related deaths. In 2007, according to her figures, 243 cancer deaths were attributed to drinking.

And just to frighten people more, she said that about one-third of alcohol-related cancer deaths occurred among women who had fewer than two drinks a day.

In other words, forget all that reassuring stuff about drinking in moderation. There’s no “safe” level of consumption.

Now I admit I’m just a dumb layman, but loose phrases such as “attributed to drinking” and “related to drinking” arouse my journalist’s scepticism. They seem to fall short of a definitive statement that these women got cancer and died specifically as a result of drinking.

Besides, I wondered how doctors could be so sure that it was alcohol that caused these fatal cancers and not some other factor – or, more likely, combination of factors. How can they so confidently rule out genes, for example, or general diet and lifestyle?

And why don’t academic researchers also mention, just to prove they’re not ideologically biased, that many people drink in moderation throughout their lives and are still healthy in their 80s and 90s? That might present a slightly more balanced picture.

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Tough luck Fatties: You’re doomed

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The chances of an obese person achieving normal body weight are very low, a British study has found.

Losing five to 10 percent body weight is often recommended as a weight loss target. But researchers also found the chance of this being achieved was just one in 12 for men and one in 10 for women.

For those who did manage five percent weight loss, more than half (53 percent) regained it within two years and nearly four in five (78 percent) put it on again within five years. Read more »

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Health troughers not even hiding their dirty tactics

I warned food industry players two years ago that a war was coming and they were the targets of that war.

The health troughers, funded with millions of dollars of taxpayer funding, were going to target them and use brutal tactics like those used against the tobacco industry. Two years on I have been proved right and the attack is massive with calls now for fat, sugar and salt taxes and covering almost every primary food producer in New Zealand.

The health troughers aren’t even coy anymore about where they get their inspiration for their draconian efforts to control the New Zealand population.

Report co-author, Cliona Ni Mhurchu, said taxation would lead to behavioural change.

We know from previous research around tobacco, and a lot of the work that’s been done, that price is a really big lever in terms of driving behaviour change, and also there are an increasing number of studies coming out overseas, as well, that suggest that food pricing is important too.”

She said the proposed tax increase was affordable.

Except the health troughers forget that tobacco initiatives only ever affect consumers of the product…not every single person in the country. If people didn’t want to pay tobacco taxes then they simply stopped smoking.

Avoiding sugar, fat and salt taxes will be unavoidable for everyone, including those with bean-pole and half sucked throatie body types.    Read more »

$11 million researcher pimps tax increases

Both the Herald and Stuff are pimping the lines of Cliona Ni Mhurchu calling for 20% taxes on fat, salt, essentially all foods including dairy, meat and poultry.

Let’s take a look at this, particularly as Cliona Ni Mhurchu has tucked into more than $11 million dollars of funding for her research projects.

First there’s the usual academic charade of the study’s authors to make it sound more authoritative.

“A flat tax of 20 per cent on major dietary sources of saturated fat alone could prevent up to 1500 early deaths, the research – resulting from a joint study between Auckland, Otago and Oxford Universities – finds.

Here’s what happens. One academic comes up with an idea and drafts a report presenting their work. To make it more credible among fellow academics, they need to get more academic names attached to it. So the lead author pimps out the paper to known associates within the academic world who, in turn, are more than happy to put their names to it (and the universities they’re working at) thereby giving the effect that the research looks as though it’s backed by lots of academics/universities.

In turn these other academics then pimp out the paper as one of their own and as being ‘published’ and add it to their bios to puff themselves up even more full of self importance.

But back to this “new research”.    Read more »

Nanny state troughers want more bans, restrictions and taxes on what you eat

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This week we have seen a flurry of articles in MSM bleating on that the Government is not doing enough to counter the “obesity epidemic”.

The noise is due to Health Minister Jonathan Coleman kicking the idea of a sugar tax into touch. The troughers are outraged a key plank of their lobbying has been rejected by Government.

No surprises who is driving this.

It’s Trougher of the Year Professor Boyd Swinburn and his travelling side-kick Senior Research Fellow Stefanie Vandevijvere. Must be a funding round somewhere.

A lot of the noise is repeated in the anonymous Facebook/Twitter group called ‘Protect Our Kids NZ’. Coincidentally  this group repeats the exact lines that Boyd Swinburn and Stefanie Vandevijvere bleat on about, yet they don’t have the guts to put their names to it.

Chaos & Mayhem member Carrick Graham is never shy to enter battle with troughers, lobbying the question: what they have actually delivered for the more than $16 million they’ve received from the taxpayer? It’s a very good question.

He recently caught them out running a #DirtyPolitics campaign against him, me and former HPA board member Katherine Rich, through taxpayer funded group Agencies for Nutrition Action.

It’s a front group being run by the troughers – the very thing they accuse Big Business of doing. This one is called ‘Protect Our Kids NZ’.   Read more »

Fattism is a legitimate form of discrimination

James Delingpole gets stuck into fat bastards.

Breitbart London’s Executive Editor, James Delingpole, has appeared on the BBC Daily Politics to attack moves to award fat people minority status. He said that he hoped fat people would be “stigmatised” rather than government stepping in.

Delingpole claimed some of his greatest idols were fat, including Eric Pickles and Jabba The Hut but they were still a burden on the taxpayer.

CAUTION:  Video Auto Starts (we try to normally not do that, but… there you go)   Read more »

Plain packaging, tax sugar and fat. Labour policies… all around the world

UKIP’s Nigel Farage writes

So utterly devoid of real policy solutions, and so helplessly out of touch with what the British public are concerned about, the Labour Party are now turning their hands to banning what they call “high levels of fat, sugar, and salt” in food. Apparently, they launched the policy at an event where they served sugary fruit juice, chocolate brioche, and buttery croissants. You couldn’t make it up.
But beyond Labour’s rank hypocrisy and lack of focus on the key issues of the day, we have to acknowledge that before one vote has been cast in the General Election, Mr Miliband is already planning on a major resurgence of the nanny-state ideals that we saw flourish under Mr Blair and Mr Brown.

“Children will need better protection from the pressures of modern living,” the Labour Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has said. I agree, we shouldn’t shovel sweets and fizzy drinks into the mouths of kids – but here I was thinking this was a matter for parents, rather than one for government.

Correct me if I’m wrong, and I’m sure I’ll be lectured on this by some interventionist “do-gooder” – but it’s not really for government to decide what is available to adults on supermarket shelves.

Unless you are the type of person to decide how sucky your vacuum cleaner should be, what type of light bulb you are allowed to use, or how nice your shower actual works (or not).   The left of politics are a miserable lot, and they don’t trust anyone to make good decisions for themselves.   Read more »

Healthy fat people are a mirage

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Some big people are fat but don’t have any of the obesity markers such as diabetes or high blood pressure.  These people are held up as “proof” that you can be “healthy obese”.

Not so.

Scientists at University College London tracked more than 2500 people for 20 years – the longest study of its kind – and found that obese people became progressively less healthy over time.

The research supported previous findings that showed as time passes, overweight people face a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, and some types of cancer compared to thin people. Read more »

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Public Health Activists Playing #Dirtypolitics [UPDATED]

Well, well, well, looks like all the crying from academic activists in the field of public health is just a big fat smokescreen.

They just don’t like anyone taking a look at what they’re really up to.

WOBH has highlighted over the years various troughers gouging the public just so they can travel the world to fancy conferences. It started with tobacco troughers, but has quickly spread to troughers looking at alcohol restrictions and obesity/fat taxes.

Now we see the real agenda of the public health activists. Global taxes on products they don’t like.

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance has an alarming blog UN Health Conference Bans Media Day After Kicking out Public and Then Passes Massive Global Tobacco Tax in Secret.

After booting the public from its meetings on Monday, the World Health Organization’s tobacco control convention ramped up its assault on transparency on Tuesday when the press was also banned from the Moscow conference.

Shortly after the media was removed from the convention, the United Nations’ health agency secretly passed the world’s first ever global tax – an outrageous scheme requiring nearly 180 countries to apply a minimum tax on tobacco products.

All indications were that the global tobacco tax would not pass until Thursday or Friday, if at all. Without the public and the media there to watch, delegates ratified the tax almost immediately.

When I, and a handful of other accredited journalists, showed up for a Tuesday morning press briefing, we were told that the briefing was cancelled and the press was no longer allowed to attend any convention events at all.

The rest of the convention, which cost world taxpayers nearly $20 million, will now take place in secret, behind closed doors. It’s a chilling and disturbing attack on the freedom of the press – especially given the impact decisions made at the convention will have on people throughout the world.

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