troughers

#Nannystate back-pedals after threatening dairies

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What a fiasco. Auckland Regional Public Health Service’s (ARPHS) Dr Julia Peters is now back-pedaling faster than a duck on heat.

Yesterday Julia Peters was front and centre blaming dairies for the obesity problem in Auckland and said they shouldn’t be allowed to sell unhealthy foods.

What a difference 24 hours can make.

Following a backlash from near on everyone, Julia Peters had to go back on air trying to defend her calls. But did she?

No. Instead she’s now saying

She says the dairy idea was one of many in the ARHPS paper, and has been overblown.

“We’re not looking at a ban on dairies – in fact, that’s not even in the paper.

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Troughers hate supermarkets – Because they won’t work with them

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Another post from the so-called ‘Public Health Expert’ blog by the troughers at the University of Otago, this time called “the allure of a Virtual Supermarket for public health nutrition research’.

Academics have never had much luck working with people in the real world, so instead they’ve gone and created a virtual supermarket  to ensure they don’t actually have to to speak to anyone.

Maybe the best place to start answering this question is the original reason as why we built the Virtual Supermarket: to test food pricing strategies. Most people will have heard of this public health intervention in the form of fat tax, sugar tax, soft drink tax or similar policy. The idea behind these taxes is simple and goes back to one of the fundamentals of economic theory – if you increase the price of a good, demand will decrease and vice versa. So, if we want people to eat less unhealthy foods, we increase the price, “problem solved”.

If only it was that simple.

Apart from any practical concerns, the effectiveness of food taxes is highly uncertain. The biggest issue being so-called cross price elasticity effects. Let me explain – if you increase the price of sugary drinks, we expect people will buy less sugary drinks. But, maybe, people like their sugary drinks so much that they keep buying them, leaving them with less money to spend on other foods (no money left for broccoli!). The same applies to subsidies. If you make fruit and vegetables cheaper, people might buy more of them. But, chances are, they spend the money they saved from the cheap produce on other (unhealthier) products (I can have chocolate after I eat my broccoli).

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Otago Uni’s Department of Arse Clowns

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The other day academics troughers from the University of Otago’s Department of Public Health Troughers pimped out a claim that a salt tax could reap in $450 million.

The Taxpayers thought the claim was a pile of goat poo and looked into this wild claim.

As a result of their investigations they’re now calling out Otago University to pull in their researchers.

Research by the Taxpayers’ Union indicates that the $450 million tax revenue suggested by Otago University Associate Professor Nick Wilson from a salt tax would result in a 2,500% increase in the price of salt for Kiwi consumers.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“The vast majority of the salt manufactured in New Zealand is used for pharmaceutical and agricultural purposes, with only around 30,000 tonnes being used for food products.Professor Wilson’s $450 million over 30,000 tonnes is $15,000 in tax per tonne. A tonne of food grade salt is currently worth around $600 in the wholesale market.”

“Unless Professor Wilson is wanting to tax the salt consumed by cows and the saline solution used by hospitals, his numbers mean consumers will be paying 25 times the current price for salt.”*   Read more »

Another excuse for the fatties

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Here we go again. Nothing like giving more excuses to people who can’t be bothered getting off their back-sides and going for a walk.

Apparently Australians are tapping their way to becoming fatter, faster.   Read more »

Anti-sugar troughers desperate for attention

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Yesterday we saw Radio New Zealand run the headline ‘Sugar hit is no GDP sweetener’ and the usual use of alarming statistics to try and scare politicians into supporting a sugar tax/fat tax.

According to a report from Morgan Stanley ‘high sugar consumption is set to slash New Zealand’s future economic growth by more than 20% over 20 years’.

They also trotted out the other alarming pearl that ‘when it comes to waistlines, New Zealand…is the third fattest country in the developed world’.

The qualifier of course is to say ‘in the developed world’, so no mention of our Pacific neighbours who would send New Zealand’s obesity ranking tumbling down the list. Country comparisons is like matching apples with walnuts.    Read more »

Len Brown backs his Auckland ’embassy’ staffer

Len Brown is a fool, firstly he comes up with a lamer excuse than John Key and Jami-lee Ross and pretends he didn’t know about his own council spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for a staff member in London.

Now just 12 hours later he is telling an incredulous Bernard Orsman that he is fine with it all.

Auckland’s Mayor, Len Brown, today came out in support of the city council having its very own man in London, at a cost to ratepayers of more than $230,000.

Auckland Council’s economic development arm has created a special contract in London for one of its senior executives, Grant Jenkins, who has moved his family to England.

His English-born wife, Kate, was homesick and had been longing to return home for several years, according to a former council staffer.

The Jenkins have set up home with their two children outside London in the village of Bourne End in Buckinghamshire.

As well as paying about $196,000 for a 12-month contract, ratepayers are picking up Mr Jenkins’ work expenses and office costs at New Zealand Tourism’s headquarters in New Zealand House near Trafalgar Square.

Ratepayers have paid an administration fee of about $15,000 for his contract and contributed $19,841 to the family’s relocation costs.

Last night, a spokeswoman for the mayor said Mr Brown had been unaware of Mr Jenkins’ job in London.

However, Mr Brown came out in support of the contract after being briefed today by officials at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed).   Read more »

Steve Joyce is on a tax payer money giveaway rampage

Far from being a careful steward with our money, Joyce is being exposed as a bit of a spendthrift

Taxpayers will pay $1.9 million to bankroll the next two New Zealand Open golf tournaments despite the predicted economic return falling well short of the requirement for such a large investment of public money.

The Major Events Development Fund investment requires a return of $4.50 for each dollar handed out. The 2012 and 2013 golf tournaments, which received taxpayer contributions totalling $1.15 million, returned $2.55 for each dollar received, documents obtained by the Herald under the Official Information Act show.

The projected returns for the 2015 and 2016 events are in a briefing for Minister of Economic Development Steven Joyce.

But the figures have been blacked out in the version given to the Herald. The report does state that the expected returns “are lower than those that would be expected at the requested level of investment”.

Mr Joyce said the projected return was “just one of the things that is taken into consideration”.

Tax payers shouldn’t be propping up rich people.   What is it with the Government and sports like the America’s Cup and the NZ Golf Open?  Both of these attract extremely wealthy players, syndicates, companies and individuals, yet they think nothing of coming to the tax payer money trough and helping themselves. Read more »

Doug Sellman teams up with discredited troughers

Professor J. Douglas Sellman

Professor J. Douglas Sellman

While on the topic of prohibitionist and supermarket hater Doug Sellman, his organisation Alcohol Action NZ is gearing up for a big fight with the Government over the report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship.

Travel and lifestyle blogger and pinko David Farrar commented on all the bans the forum recommended the other day, saying it was all a bit depressing, and that it will eventually end up with plain packaging for drinks and food.

Farrar’s post would have incensed Doug Sellman, who is now saying that Alcohol Action NZ is ‘sponsoring an independent expert committee on alcohol advertising and sponsorship (IECAAS), which is monitoring the work of the Ministerial Forum’. From this an ‘independent report’ will be produced. It’s worth a look to see who is on this so called ‘expert committee” that will produce an ‘independent report’.

Oh dear look who we have here. Read more »

Trougher of the Year Tries to Protect Patch

2013 TROUGHER OF THE YEAR Boyd Swinburn aka Boyd Swingeburn has emerged from the trough and is now complaining to all and sundry that scientists (i.e. him) are under attack.

He’s saying that ‘scientists that represent the voice of the public in policy making are being shouted down by large commercial interests and their views suppressed by attack campaigns”.

Nice to see that Boyd Swingeburn thinks he’s the “voice of the public”.

Maybe it’s the rarified air he’s sucked into his lungs at Lake Como, Italy that instilled in him the view that he’s the voice of the people.

He then bangs on about “a blanket of suppression is insidiously descending on the voices for public health”.

Maybe those voices are actually calling for accountability of the millions and millions of taxpayer dollars being hoovered up sending Boyd Swingeburn and his troughing mates on flash overseas holidays junkets conferences.

Now as the “voice of the people” Boyd Swingeburn is attacking the Government, saying Tony Ryall dismissed a letter from so-called public health experts upset that there’s an industry representative – former MP and head of the Food & Grocery Council Katherine Rich, on the Health Promotion Agency (HPA).    Read more »

Cry me a River

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While most people were out enjoying the sun, there’s a few troughers all upset over a new board game.

And guess where these troughers are from… oh that’s right, the bastion of trougherland Otago University’s Wellington health promotion and policy research unit.

Moira Smith, who is very interested in research in the area of policy development, popped up on WOBH’s Trougher Radar in 2013 when she, alongside ex Ministry of Health trougher Louise Signal wanted to ban McDonald’s vouchers for kids and give them a stick of celery instead as a prize for player of the day.

Moira Smith is also very keen on advertising and marketing restrictions and for zoning by-laws around schools for products she doesn’t like.

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