Jonathan Coleman

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 »

Hidden agenda behind fat taxes


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 »

Anti-sugar troughers resort to push polling

Most people take any sort of Horizon Research poll with a massive grain of salt.

So much so it’s safe to say that if you ever want research or a poll to give you exactly what you want it to say, you go to Horizon Research.

And that would therefore explain why anti-sugar trougher Professor Boyd Swinburn used Horizon Research to pimp out findings from a ‘survey’ to the Herald’s Martin Johnston under the emotive heading ‘we need to protect kids from junk food ads’.

As always the Herald is alarming and suggests the Government isn’t doing enough to stop kids getting fatter.

Ever since Health Minister Jonathan Coleman told the troughers to get knotted over their fat tax ideas, trougher Boyd Swinburn and his research cohorts have been pimping out ‘research’ after ‘research’ after ‘research’ trying to say they’re right and the Government is wrong.

Boyd Swinburn’s front group #ProtectOurKidsNZ clearly outlines their government relations strategy.


So let’s have a look at the type of Horizon Research questions signed off by Auckland University Professor Boyd Swinburn and used to attack the Government

  1. Would you be in favour or against the Government introducing stronger restrictions to reduce the amount of unhealthy food and drink advertising and promotion to children?
  1. Do you think the government should not regulate, should restrict, or should stop …using advertising on TV to market unhealthy foods and drinks to children?
  1. Do you think the government should not regulate, should restrict or should stop … featuring unhealthy food and drink brands in games and competitions on websites aimed at children?
  1. Do you think the government should not regulate, should restrict or should stop … sponsoring children’s sporting activities?

What’s even more telling is how Professor Boyd Swinburn is trying to say parents have no say over what their kids eat.  Here’s what he says about the research findings.

“This is finding is not surprising,” says Professor Swinburn. “Parents do not like having to say ‘no’ to their children all the time. The pester power that the marketing to children creates really undermines parents’ efforts to give their children a healthy diet.”

Not surprising? Really, come on.

And parents are obviously so useless that they are unable to say no to kids, so the only way to resolve that is to have Government introduce bans and taxes.

Maybe Professor Boyd Swinburn would like to start telling New Zealanders and the Government where the $16 million they’ve received has gone?


Or maybe Professor Boyd Swinburn would like to explain what has happened to the more than $317 million doled out by the Ministry of Health on obesity service providers over the past ten years has gone?


But that would be all too inconvenient.


– Martin Johnston, A Newspaper

Ahhhhhhh, there’s too much food!


Shock horror, the troughers have discovered, researched, come up with the novel fact that food production has increased since 1971.

Auckland University’s trougher, and Boyd Swinburn off-sider Dr Stefanie Vandevijvere, ‘new research’ says; Read more »

Doug Sellman…upset again

Well known prohibitionist Professor Doug Sellman seems to be having another bout of the dreaded #DirtyPolitics Derangement Syndrome.

So much so, that he and his off-sider Jennie Connor from Alcohol Action NZ sent out a press releases without any names attached to the comments.

Very strange.

This unquotable press release might have been issued by “Barry from accounts” for all we know.

They seem to have a real bee in their bonnet that Health Minister Jonathan Coleman mentioned in passing on TVNZ’s Q+A that Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich was, after three terms, not seeking a fourth term on the Board.

When Jonathan Coleman’s interview with Corin Dann was posted on the NZ Doctor website, Doug Sellman must have come across it.

Here’s the bit that upset the sensitive wee petal.

JONATHAN:     Katherine is not seeking reappointment.

CORIN:              Is there any reason for that? Has she given you any reason for that?

JONATHAN:     Oh, look, she will have a range of reasons, but the point is industry, actually, is an important part of the answer overall. It’s important, actually, to have them at the table in these discussions. Katherine actually did a very good job. She’s a person of very high integrity, but she’s decided she’s not going to seek reappointment.   Read more »

Anti-sugar troughers told to get back in their box


Over the weekend Health Minister Jonathan Coleman ensured common sense prevailed.

Despite the noise of the taxpayer-funded troughers, who like nothing more than whipping off overseas to grandiose conferences where they talk to each other saying how disappointed they are that kids are getting fatter, Coleman has rebuffed their advocacy lobbying.

Tackling obesity tops the Government’s priority list – but it says punishing sugar lovers with a tax is not the answer.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said on Sunday there was no evidence a sugar tax worked and further regulation was not the answer to New Zealand’s obesity problem. He conceded, however, that action was needed on the way sugar-loaded products were marketed to consumers but the Government believed voluntary action by the food industry was the answer.

Read more »

EXPOSED: Ministry of Health funded group running #dirtypolitics


State-funded group Agencies for Nutrition Action can now be exposed for running a campaign straight from the playbook of dirtypolitics.

Under the guise of reducing childhood obesity under the banner of #protectourkidsnz this trougher group has pulled together “a group of motivated people” a group of other troughers to lobby for:

  1. Healthy food polices in all schools and early childhood services (‘getting the tuckshop to match the classroom teaching’)
  2. Restrictions on junk food marketing to kids (‘it is unethical to allow junk food ads targeting kids in the middle of a childhood obesity epidemic’)
  3. Taxes on sugary drinks (‘to reduce consumption and provide funding for childhood obesity prevention programs’)

Some would say if that is what it takes to reduce obesity in kids, then that’s a good thing.

But that’s not the point.

It’s their covert lobbying strategy specifically designed to put heat on the Government and their paymasters at the Ministry of Health and the Health Research Council which will be their undoing.

Let’s break this down and see what they’re really pushing for: Read more »

Headlines you won’t see at the NZ Herald: Operations up massive 37% since 2008

If I provide data to a newspaper (and they’ve even won awards off of the back of that info) it is dirty politics, but when a politician does it the Herald journalist takes it and runs a negative hit job on the government and it is business as usual.

Despite figures showing a massive increase in elective surgery since National took over the NZ Herald decides to put NZ First’s negative spin on the headline and the article.

And don’t you just love the weaselly way they introduce the fact that it was NZ First who slipped them the numbers.

The Government’s much-publicised increase in hip, knee and other elective operations has been questioned in light of data which appeared to show the proportion of people missing out on treatment was growing.

But officials say growing waiting lists and a rising number of patients leaving hospital untreated do not tell the whole story.

The number of patients getting elective surgery has steadily increased over the past decade – especially after it was made a national health target in 2007. Since National came to power in 2008, the number of operations has lifted from 118,000 to 162,000 a year.

However, data released under the Official Information Act shows the proportion of patients on waiting lists who were leaving hospital untreated was also rising over the same period. As many as 30 per cent on waiting lists in some regions had their operation delayed or cancelled.

At Auckland District Health Board, there was a waiting list of 27,200 people for elective surgery last year. Of that number, 4558 patients – nearly 20 per cent – were admitted but left hospital without treatment. Last year up to November, 3822 patients out of 22,346 left untreated.

Read more »

Troughers gathering in Wellington, Hague excited


Well that didn’t take long.

A bunch of tax-payer funded troughers are rolling into Wellington and to Parliament tomorrow for the so-called 10 year ‘anniversary’ of the Smokefree laws.

No doubt Shane Kawenata Bradbrook will be there waving the flag, alongside Smokefree Coalition’s Prudence Stone, who may be looking for some action.

There’s just slight problem with this. Helen Clark introduced the Smokefree Environments Act in 1990, and by my reckoning that’s more than 10 years ago.     Read more »