Photo Of The Day

Copyright: Tom Samuelson/National Geographic

Copyright: Tom Samuelson/National Geographic

Impending Doom

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Photo Of The Day

Switzer has been documenting different tribes of the lower Omo Valley that are under severe threat because of the Ethiopian Governments construction of the Gibe III dam up river from this ethnically diverse corner of Africa.

Photo: Maynard Switzer: Switzer has been documenting different tribes of the lower Omo Valley that are under severe threat because of the Ethiopian Governments construction of the Gibe III dam up river from this ethnically diverse corner of Africa.

Vanishing Culture

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The majority of NZs want to pay more for their food? Really?

The NZ Herald has a poll result today where the headline claims that Kiwi want a ‘fat tax’.


Except that was not was originally asked in the poll.


The question is rather clumsy. Imagine the result if they had asked “Do you think it is a good idea to tax ALL Kiwis with a sugar tax, increasing food and drink prices across the board, when it is only fat bastards who should be taxed?”.  Read more »

Mana’s Menu is Pie in the Sky

Mana News

Mana News

I found this image on Mana’s Facebook page

It was fascinating to get some insights into both Mana and the people who vote for it. Based on that News page alone I have come to the following conclusions:

Mana is all about giving low income people rental housing at a ridiculously low rent.

Mana is about feeding ALL children, not just the ones that actually need it.

Mana is not about personal responsibility but about Aunty Government taking care of your responsibilities ie feeding your children.

Mana is not about addressing the core problems by giving a person a fishing rod but is about giving a person a fish, day after day after day that they took off those who made the effort to go fishing.

Mana is not concerned with responsible government such as balancing the books. They want to spend with out considering at all whether

a) It is an asset

b) It is is a liability.

Lets start with their housing policy. ‘Homes for every Kiwi family ‘ such a lovely feel good policy but one that has to be paid for. I have been a Landlord and I can tell you now that 25% of a beneficiaries ‘ income ‘ is not going to cover the mortgage let alone make me any profit. Wait you say, this is about socially responsible housing for the poor. Profit is evil. The government should provide safe and affordable housing. Okay, lets forget about the profit then. I still have to pay rates and insurance and a minimum of 6% of the rent to a Property Manager if the property is to be managed properly and the law followed for both the Landlord and the tenant. Again, 25% of the beneficiaries income is not going to cut it. I seriously doubt that any Property Manager will want 6% of 25% of a beneficiaries income so that will have to be subsidised as well. Another liability. Then there is still that mortgage to service.

Private Landlords already do a good job providing housing. It makes more sense financially, to let them do it and have laws to ensure that the homes meet basic health and safety requirements.If Mana are determined to throw tax payers money at the problem then it would be cheaper to subsidise rents rather than provide the housing themselves.

If the government is to be a landlord renting at such ridiculously low rentals then they are going to get further and further into debt. The debt will grow, it will never be paid off. This is what is called a liability. To make matters worse the cost of a state house in Auckland is going to be 5 or 6 times the cost of one in Opotiki yet the rent will be based on income not area.

Now lets talk about motivation and incentive. Currently if I am on a low income my incentive to improve my situation is that I need more money in order to live in a bigger home in a better suburb. If as my income grows I now pay more for the exact same home in the exact same suburb that already meets my needs am I going to be enthusiastic about increasing my income? Wouldn’t I be silly if I already have a nice warm, dry, new state house ( in a great suburb that others need two jobs to afford the rent in) to increase my income in order to have to pay more?

These policies have not been thought out. Why should beneficiaries ( and lets not kid our selves that this policy is for working people) get a home for life for 25% of their benefit when others have to scrimp and save and work to achieve the same.

What about feeding the kids? No one wants to see children go hungry yet some do. The government has already provided money to pay for their food but if their parents/ caregivers choose to neglect them and spend the money on alcohol, cigarettes and weed then they do go to school hungry.

Yes, this needs to be addressed but do we need to feed all school children in order to help these neglected children? No of course not. This policy is like saying some children need glasses and cannot afford them so the state will provide glasses for all children regardless of whether or not they have poor vision because something must be done! It would be a huge liability and it would take away the responsibility of caregivers to look after their children.

The money is already there for food in most cases. The problem is how the money is spent. Food stamps is one solution but they can be sold for cash and the food still may not make it to those who need it. How about schools identifying children who are arriving without lunch and the government then intervening in a number of ways.

1. Take the money for school provided lunches BEFORE the benefit hits their account unless they mend their ways. Then provide the food to those children. If the caregivers are working then forcibly deduct it from their wages. Bottom line is, feed your children or we will feed them for you with your money.

2. The government simply feeds the children but the family are given a warning. If after a certain amount of warnings and possibly after they have been given budget help they still do not feed their children they are prosecuted or the children are taken off them.This may seem harsh but before benefits poor people did feed their children. My Father didn’t have shoes but his Mum made him lard sandwiches for school. They weren’t Jam like the rich kids had but he did not go hungry. Everyone can afford to make a sandwich for their children even if it is just a butter or a marmite or peanut butter sandwich.

There is no excuse for neglecting your children.

A simple lunch

A simple lunch

Photo Of The Day

Philadelphia Inquirer staff photographer Tom Gralish won a Pulitzer Prize for feature photographer for his April 7, 1985, photo essay on Philadelphia street people.  This is Walter.

Philadelphia Inquirer staff photographer Tom Gralish won a Pulitzer Prize for feature photographer for his April 7, 1985, photo essay on Philadelphia street people.
This is Walter.

Philadelphia‘s Homeless

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Green Taliban will increase cost of food


There are some that believe Green Taliban MP Kevin Hague will one day make a great Health Minister.

There are others that don’t share this enthusiasm, particularly as his reputation of not listening to anyone that doesn’t share his view of the world continues to grow.

Recently, I’ve been posting about how Big Sugar is the target of health troughers, all desperate to move on after spending years attacking the tobacco industry.   Read more »

Now the doctors union is advocating for taxes on sugar

The pressure is ramping up on food producers as the doctors union gets involved in suggesting taxes for sugary foods, especially drinks.

New Zealand is fat, getting fatter, and doctors say urgent action needs to be taken.

The New Zealand Medical Association, which represents thousands of doctors, says the soaring obesity rate is now a “public health crisis”.

In a report published today, the association calls for drastic cures for the bulge, including taxing or minimum prices for sugary drinks, restricting food advertising aimed at children, and taking fast food out of schools.

Tackling obesity should be embedded in everything from new building developments to school curriculums, the report says. Despite overwhelming evidence of the massive cost of obesity, the official response had been “piecemeal and largely ineffectual”, lagging behind many other countries.

The current Government’s move, when first elected, to scrap healthy food in schools, was singled out as a particularly troubling decision.

Reliance on self-regulation of the food industry was not working, the report says. “A prevailing ideology of individual responsibility and vested commercial interests have combined to thwart, dilute and undermine previous attempts at effective policies to counter the challenge of obesity.”

Association chairman Mark Peterson said more needed to be done to make healthy choices easier. “It is killing us and it is also costing us a lot of money.”

New Zealand was the fourth fattest country in the OECD, behind only the United States, Mexico and Hungary.

Otago University health researcher Professor Jim Mann said he supported the report’s recommendations, particularly a fizzy drink tax. Kiwis were becoming so big that they were almost blind to obesity. “Parents can’t even identify when their children are overweight or obese. Obesity is fast becoming normal.”

New Zealand’s poverty rates, particularly among children, and cheap access to fatty tasty foods were largely to blame, as was a lack of political will. “There is this obsession with the nanny state, that we shouldn’t be telling people what to do.”

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Charge the parents, don’t tax the drinks

I have long held the position that it is fat bastards who should pay for their health concerns as a result of their poor self control. Introduce a Fat bastard Tax not what the health busybodies want which is a tax on all products containing sugar or fat…or whatever ingredient they will hate on next.

In the case of children then tax the parents who let their kids become fat bastards.

Christina Odone blogs at The Telegraph:

“What do we hate? The Nanny state!” might be a suitable marching song for conservatives — until, that is, children’s well-being is compromised. When parents abuse their role as their child’s protectors the state is right to intervene. Which is why the couple in Norfolk, arrested for allowing their son’s weight to reach 15 stone, should face court.

Imagine parents who regularly gave their son heroin; or a bottle of vodka. Anyone observing such behaviour would instinctively call the police to save the child. The same now has to be true of a child whose parents are feeding him too many of the wrong things. We now know that food — junk food, fatty food, sugar, additives – can prove as damaging to a child’s health as heroin or alcohol. Indeed, sugar is so toxic that experts claim it is as bad as tobacco: it leads not only to obesity, but to diabetes too.

Parents who ignore these facts and ply their children with excess food (or just really bad food) are abusing their children as clearly as those who let them take drugs. In the case of the couple in Norfolk, their son suffers from autism: he is all the more at the mercy of his parents’ care. They defend his weight by claiming that it is down to bad genes. Wrong: it’s down to the parents.

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Plain packaging call for Coca-Cola now in NZ


I have spoken many times about this, directly to producers and suppliers as well. I have told them that even though they hate tobacco and tobacco companies, they need to join in the fight against plain packaging because if they don’t they will be next.

Things are moving pretty fast on them now…and there are calls for plain packaging on products containing sugar now. This shows how emboldened the health jihadists have become and they believe that despite the legislation still before the house they can and will start lobbying against “Big Sugar”.

An unflattering report into the soaring rate of obesity around the world has sparked debate over whether sugary foods should have plain packaging in New Zealand.

The report, which analysed data from 188 countries, revealed that the proportion of men classified as obese in this country has increased more than anywhere else – rising from 13% to 28% between 1980 and 2013.

The overall proportion of New Zealand adults considered overweight or obese rose from 50% to 66% – an estimated 2.2 million people, including 960,000 who were obese.

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.

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Anti-Sugar jihadists make hospital more miserable than it already is

The anti-sugar jihadists have moved to make Waikato hospital less appealing for sick people by banning sweets from vending machines inside the hospital.

There is to be no spoonful of sugar with the medicine at Waikato Hospital.

Sweets will be banned from its vending machines around the campus from July 1.

The Waikato District Health Board approved more stringent guidelines for the machines at its meeting on Wednesday.

It is a move that is hoped will help in the battle against obesity.

Half of the food in each machine needs to be stocked with “healthier choices” such as nuts and dried fruit. The other half of the device will be filled with small snacks such as biscuits.

Riiight, that’ll appeal to loads of people…NOT. Watch the biscuits run out and the nuts and dried fruit sit around past their expiry date.

Meanwhile, all of the drink vending machines will only stock water, artificially sweetened drink and “small sized juices”.

The board heard the new guidelines had been pioneered by the Waitemata District Health Board, where they were proving a success.  Read more »