Jonathan Coleman

Politicians should stay out of operational matters for cheap point scoring

The Herald editorial is unusually sensible today

Contrary to widespread belief, it appears Pharmac does not have a formula such as the “quality adjusted life year” (QALY) used in Britain. That system enables the benefit of a drug to be measured by the extra years of life it offers, adjusted for the level of health the patient has for those additional years, and the cost of the drug can be divided by the QALY to see how it compares to all other medicines that may be provided from public funds. Britain has decided to fund Keytruda, as has Australia and others.

Pharmac’s system is not simply a cost-benefit evaluation, says its chief executive, Steffan Crausaz. He explains that it uses nine criteria such as “the health needs of all eligible people in New Zealand” and “such other criteria as Pharmac thinks fit”. That probably includes discretion to reject a new drug if the price demanded by the manufacturer seems out of all proportion to the costs of its discovery, development and clinical trials. While those costs can be high, and it is reasonable for manufacturers to use their successful drugs to also cover the costs of their unsuccessful research, price gouging is too easy for some of their products. Read more »

The duplicity of Labour and Annette King

Annette King has made a big song and dance, along with her Media party pals, about pain threshold for patients needing surgery.

She has claimed it has increased, but the DHBs have busted her by revealing her researchers asked separate questions which they then conflated to allegedly mislead the house.

Shots have been fired over surgical figures, with the Health Minister accusing Labour’s Annette King of misleading Parliament by claiming Auckland DHB had raised its pain threshold for patients needing surgery.

Auckland DHB has hit back saying it has not, and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has accused King of deliberately “fudging the facts’.

Misleading the house is a serious offence, which in some situations is dealt with by the privileges committee and the House has the ability to punish someone for contempt if that person is found to have deliberately misled it.

Read more »

Candy, soda and fast food are not driving the rising obesity trend in the US


Well here’s a headline obesity troughers wouldn’t want you to see, but it’s the latest research findings from Cornell University.

Remember here in NZ, well known obesity troughers like Professor Boyd Swinburn, Stefanie Vandevijvere, $11 million dollar woman Cliona Ni Mhurchu and those anti fizzy drink activists FIZZ all believe sugar taxes are the answer to Kiwi kids getting fatter.   Read more »

And the Media Party thinks this person should be deputy leader of Labour?

The Media Party are pushing for Jacinda Ardern to be deputy leader of the Labour party.

It really is a push with little or no merit, and yesterday’s performance in the house suggests that Ardern is not yet ready.

The National Party ministers and backbench had a feast as Ardern asked dopey questions about pies.

During parliamentary question time, Green Party MP Kevin Hague asked Health Minister Jonathan Coleman why the plan did not include a sugary drinks tax.

But Dr Coleman said again that there was not enough evidence to justify a tax.

“I know the member would love to tax all sorts of things… All I know is that if we have a Labour-Greens government, the price of everything is going to go up – it won’t be just soft drinks.”    Read more »

Will New Zealand parents with fat kids be charged with child abuse?


Feeding your kids up so much they are junior fat bastards is child abuse.

Perhaps a Fat Bastard Tax should be levied against the parents.

The Government aims to have nearly all obese children referred to a doctor by the end of 2017.

The target is central to a new plan to reduce childhood obesity, announced today by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.

Alongside it are public information and physical activity programmes, but there are no plans to put a tax on fatty foods.

The Government isn’t going to try to regulate the amount of sugar in food and Dr Coleman says evidence that taxing fizzy drinks reduces obesity is inconclusive.   Read more »

Obesity Troughers cop blame – “Education not poverty behind kids’ obesity”

wwwWell blow me down and shiver me timbers – a headline that is actually right.

Today we have Fairfax running an article ‘Education not poverty behind kids’ obesity’ with an Auckland University researcher Nichola Shackleton saying ‘children’s weight does not fluctuate with parents’ incomes’ and ‘parental education might be a key driver in obesity’.

“We need to look at changing families’ values and attitudes around food and healthy diets. Education and social class, those are the things that form your opinions and buying habits. If you gave me extra money, it doesn’t change who I am.”

While Shackleton’s results were based on UK families, she questioned whether similar misconceptions about factors behind obesity could also occur in New Zealand. Read more »

E tu Part 3: Are Unions friends or enemies of Labour?


The dwindling union membership of private sector workers has meant that the two biggest private sector unions, the EPMU and the SFWU have merged.

Both the EPMU and the SFWU were affiliates of the Labour Party, and there was a strong anti-Government feeling at [yesterday]’s launch, fuelled by acting leader Annette King.

“Ministers like Minister Jonathan Coleman say unions are our political enemy… they should be our political allies,” she said.

“We were born out of the union movement and when you have organised labour and a strong political movement in parliament, you’ve got a far better country.”

Lets stop and consider whether the union movement is actually good for Labour.   Read more »


E tu Part 2: Jonathan Coleman comes good


The launch of the new E Tu union showed us that at least one member of the National Cabinet actually gets it.

Both the EPMU and the SFWU were affiliates of the Labour Party, and there was a strong anti-Government feeling at today’s launch, fuelled by acting leader Annette King.
“Ministers like Minister Jonathan Coleman say unions are our political enemy… they should be our political allies,” she said.

Yes Annette, Jonathan Coleman is right. The unions are the political enemy, they have absolutely failed to provide you with candidates who can win seats from National, or the money required to win elections. They demand Labour oppose all sorts of things that the New Zealand voter does not care enough about to change their vote on, handicapping Labour as much as they do when they send people like Sue Moroney or Carol Beaumont to Parliament to represent their interests.  Read more »


Half a mil to assist depressed farmers


Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today announced the increased training measures as part of the one-off $500,000 funding boost for mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities, announced by the Ministers at Fieldays.

The Ministers said that The Ministry of Health would work with RHĀNZ to provide the increased training.

RHĀNZ chairperson, Dr Jo Scott-Jones, said improving mental health outcomes and minimising suicide risk for rural populations was a top priority for all 34 members of RHĀNZ. Read more »

What have we got for $317.5 million?

Readers will know I’m no fan of nanny-state troughers trying to tell us how to live our lives.

Over the last few years we’ve seen the gradual shift in the focus of the troughers from smoking to obesity, and this blog has exposed examples of public funds being used to travel the world troughing it up.

Over at Kiwiblog, there’s a guest post ‘TEN YEARS AND $317.5 MILLION LATER…AND STILL GETTING FATTER’ by my mate Carrick Graham, who knows a thing or two about who is tucking into large amounts of taxpayer money.

“For the last decade I have been tracking the funding streams of public money spent by the Ministry of Health on obesity related services via contracts with non-government organisations/service providers.

Collectively over this period the Government has spent approximately $317,565,118 to address obesity concerns in New Zealand. This figure was obtained from official data provided by the Ministry of Health and released under the Official Information Act 1986.

This $317.5 million figure does not include research grants or other funding for academic research on obesity. Research grants identified by my company Facilitate Communications, to just a few well-known researchers in the field total more than $16 million and represents the tip of the iceberg of government and other funding sources for obesity related research.”

Shows the $16 million being tucked into by obesity troughers like Boyd Swinburn, Cliona Ni Mhurchu, and others, is a mere drop in the ocean.   Read more »