troughers

Wow! Pigs do fly

Wonders will never cease, it seems the government has worked out that pigs really do fly.

Cities are emptying out for the school holidays and so is parliament in Wellington.

Parliament is in recess this week so several ministers are off overseas.

Prime Minister John Key is in China with officials hoping to improve the free trade agreement New Zealand already has with China, and a business delegation is travelling with him. He has two ministers with him — Nathan Guy and Todd McClay.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce is leading a delegation of exporters trying to get government contracts in the US and they’re heading to Washington DC for an event organised by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Climate Change Issues Minister Paula Bennett is also in the US to sign the Paris climate change agreement at the UN in New York. She’s also going to Washington DC.   Read more »

Oh dear, how sad, academic troughers get it wrong…again

sugartax

Looks like arts, travel & lifestyle blogger, David Farrar, has scored a direct hit against the troughers banging on about a sugar tax.

He’s calling out the sugar petition that’s being organised by well-known anti- sugar troughers as misleading. And he’s right.

A sugar tax petition states:

            New Zealand has a problem. We are the third fattest nation in the world.

This is not true.

The WHO database for Obesity is here.

We are 29th, not 3rd.

Outrageous that a petition has such a misleading “fact”.

Read more »

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Otago University really needs to get over itself

Oh boo hiss, those poor public health academics troughers from the University of Otago really do need to get over themselves.

Today’s ODT runs the article Challenging ‘big food’ can mean attacks, continuing the positioning of troughers as hard done by because they are apparently facing a dastardly foe called ‘big food’. This time the comments are from visiting Oxford University academic Professor David Stuckler, who says:

Taking on “big food” and other business interests can mean facing personal attacks and underhand tactics from powerful vested interests, a prominent Oxford University professor told health academics in Dunedin yesterday.

The “real politics” of the arena included attacks aimed at individual careers, and attempts to create arguments and division within the ranks of health advocates, Prof David Stuckler, a professor of political economy and sociology, said.

Tactics used by “big tobacco” appeared to be deployed by “big food” companies, too.

“We confront powerful vested interests who make and manufacture products that when used as intended cause grave harm.”

Read more »

$110,000 trough to research why Maori women are thought inferior

Where there is a trough there is someone wanting to swill about in it.

The way early settlers documented Māori women is disturbing and has had a damaging impact on how wahine are viewed today, an emerging health researcher says.

Ngahuia Murphy has received $110,000 from the Health Research Council to complete her PhD studies into Māori beliefs of the womb or whare tangata.

“I am looking at some of the pre-colonial ceremonies and ritual knowledge traditions around the whare tangata and I’m going to be tracing those ceremonial practices into the context of today.”

In order to complete her masters Ngahuia Murphy read texts from colonial ethnographers, who studied Māori in the early days.

“What they have written about Māori women and particularly Māori women’s reproductive body is that it is a source of inferiority in our culture, which completely contradicts our cultural paradigms about the significance of the whare tangata as the house of humanity.”   Read more »

Health Troughers blinded by plain packaging

It’s the beginning of the year and the troughers are back at it, moaning about wanting more action on Maori smoking.

It seems my good friend and exposed serial trougher Shane Kawenata Bradbrook is back out of his box, complaining about the Government not doing enough.

Shane Kawenata Bradbrook is well known to this blog, after being exposed for spending up large on the taxpayer with little observable results. After a Ministry of Health investigation into his Te Reo Marama rort, his overseas jaunts came to a spectacular end when their $250,000 annual funding was axed.

Now it seems he’s back, this time under a new guise of Te Ao Hurihuri. Let’s see how that works out for him.

One thing Shane Kawenata Bradbrook won’t be keen on Maori hearing or reading is a blog post titled ‘The Relentless Failure of Plain Packaging’.   Read more »

Trougher thinks we need more taxes

troughers

Over the weekend The Nation ran a story by Torben Akel about whether we needed more taxes to live longer.

While most would say ‘Yeah Right’, sadly there’s one person out there who seems to spend all day arguing the need for more taxes to save us from ourselves.

To regular readers the name of Nick Wilson will be familiar. He’s an old trougher from Otago University’s Department of Troughers in Wellington. The last time he was in the media he was banging on about his ‘new’ research looking at google street view images of smokefree signs on hospital doors.

Nick Wilson was also slammed by the Taxpayers’ Union for claiming a salt tax would reap $450 million. Wilson didn’t seem fazed by the research that showed a salt tax would result in a 2,500% increase in the price of salt for Kiwi consumers.    Read more »

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A bigger trough?

Richard Harman at Politik reveals that our MPs, mainly the opposition ones to be fair, are wanting a much bigger trough.

The Parliamentary Appropriations Commission is calling for an $8 million increase in spending on staff and facilities and MPs and political parties in Parliament.

Appropriations to MPs have not been increased since 2007 and there has been widespread complaints, particularly from the Opposition parties, that they are increasingly unable to afford the research and staff assistance they need to do their job.

The Commission chaired by accountant, Grant Taylor and comprising a former National Minister, John Carter and a former Labour Minister, Rick Barker, has also made a radical proposal for MP’s electorate offices.

It is proposing that these be owned by the parliamentary Services Commission and allocated to MPs.

It is a recommendation unlikely to be received well by many MPs.

Read more »

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REVEALED: The millionaire Legal Aid lawyers?

SIX FIRMS of solicitors were paid more than $1 million each in taxpayer-funded legal aid in a year while 20 others each raked in more than $500,000, startling new figures reveal.

In a graphic illustration of the legal aid gravy train, the Ministry of Justice figures show total payments to legal aid providers in the year to 30 June 2015 were up 4.5 per cent on the previous year to $130.216 million, from $124.58 million paid in the previous year.

Payments made in the latest year were just behind the total payments in the year to 30 June 2013 ($130.259 million) and a long way behind the total payments made in the year to 30 June 2012, when they totalled $148.3 million.

The payments – which are GST exclusive – include the fees of listed providers, including those claimed on behalf of other listed providers, and disbursements for general office costs, travel costs, and special disbursements, which include fees for agents, expert witnesses, forensic tests, interpreters and special reports, such as medical or valuation reports.

During the year to 30 June 2015, payments were made to 1224 listed providers – down slightly from the 1240 in the previous year. This meant the average payment per provider was $106,385.58, compared with $100,467.92 the previous year.

The median payment (received by the middle provider) was $68,147.22. Six providers received payments totaling over $1 million, and 20 received payments totaling between $500,000 and $1 million.

There were 793 providers – 65 per cent of the total – who received payments of less than $100,000, and 345 of these (28 per cent of all providers who received a payment) received payments of less than $30,000.

The highest payment was to Wellington firm Cooper Legal who received a staggering $1.373 million for the year to June.   Read more »

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Jane Kelsey scores $600k of government money to research opposition to our trade and economic policies

Jane Kelsey must be blessed. She has scored $600,000 of taxpayer money to study “Transcending embedded neoliberalism in international economic regulation: options and strategies”.

kelsey-marsden-fund

The government is paying her to research opposition to our trade and economic policies?

Why?

Note the word “international” in the title. You can do a lot of “international” air travel for $600k, and not in cattle class.

Perhaps the Taxpayers’ Union should get an academic onboard and then ask for $600,000 for research on international sugar taxes?

This is just an outrageous amount of money so this shrieking harpy can mount protests all over the country and get things massively wrong.   Read more »

Lancet golden obesity troughers

Boyd Swinbun - Golden Obesity Trougher

Boyd Swinburn – Golden Obesity Trougher

Speaking of the University of Auckland troughers, well known anti-sugar activist and Trougher of the Year Professor Boyd Swinburn has a new gig – co-chair of the Lancet Commission on Obesity.

But it gets even better. Lo and behold somehow cat-hater and North Korean fan Gareth Morgan has also managed to become one of the 22 Commissioners as well.

With the obesity racket becoming bigger than Ben Hur, there’s no stopping them now expanding their remit to solving other problems of the world, especially when you consider this comment from Boyd Swinburn;

“Obesity is likely to share common determinants and solutions with other major emergent problems that the world is facing, such as climate change and inequities,” he says.

So Boyd Swinburn is tackling climate change now as well?   Read more »