Pointless lawmaking from nanny-state National


You know a government is tried and in its third term when they start having light bulb and shower head moments. Nanny National just had one of theirs.

You are allowed to drive a car and you can have a baby, but apparently you now can’t get a suntan on a bed if you are under 18.  This kind of fiddling around the edges is exactly what you’d expect of a bunch of wet lefties. Apparently, people under 18 aren’t capable of making informed decisions.

Parliament has passed a bill that makes sunbeds R18 and changes the way serious infectious diseases are managed.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says there’s strong evidence that people who use sunbeds increase their risk of melanoma and other skin cancers.

“There is also evidence that children and adolescents are more sensitive to ultra violet,” he said after the bill had passed its final stage.

“This legislation seeks to protect this vulnerable group while balancing the rights of informed adults.”

If only that was true.

The Ministry of Health is looking into whether the licensing of premises and operators, and the introductions of mandatory standards, are appropriate.

The bill puts in place graduated measures for managing infectious diseases.

It adds new provisions for surveillance.

When voluntary co-operation does not work, the measures include directions applied by medical officers of health.

Prosecution for offences under the legislation is a last resort.

How many people have been injured and caught infectious diseases from sunbeds? I’d bet not many, if any, and this has all the hallmarks of health officials just wanting to regulate things despite there being almost no problems. It also has all the hallmarks of a lazy minister just believing his officials and not questioning their advice. I bet Tony Ryall would never have contemplated this nonsense.


– NZ Newswire


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  • Graham Pilgrim

    This is the third “hit” on National this morning. Prior to the last election, the Internet-Mana Party whipped up a frenzied crowd into chanting “F” John Key. I’m beginning to wonder if this blog has taken up the mantra!

    • TM

      I don’t think so – we just all want government out of our lives when it is not necessary. Only comment I would make is i get sick of hearing about “nanny state” as if it is a bad thing. In reality we have a nanny state that totally underwrites every aspect of our life choices – good and bad – so should have the right to dictate to fat people not to eat so much etc. The problem is that approach is deemed offensive so instead we have “an obesity epidemic” instead of actually analyzing the obese people who present to hospitals and finding the correlations – i.e. cultural background combined with welfare.

      • Graham Pilgrim

        I agree to a point that we don’t want or need excessive government interference. But the age restriction on sun bed applies in many civilised and democratic countries already. We’re just catching up.

    • Brian

      I agree with you. If it isn’t bad enuff the media being anti-National and the opposition finding fault in everything the Government does or tries to do I wasn’t expecting to find the same here

  • Jerseyman

    I think there is a wee bit of a stretch though linking changes to infectious disease management with sunbeds.

  • shykiwibloke

    Love to see a list of all nanny state rules that should be repealed put up to the candidates next year to see which ones they are prepared to assist with the removal of.
    Perhaps we could crowd-source them through this site and report the results…

  • Jude

    I remember seeing a very heart wrenching documentary by a young Australian girl who got melanoma from sunbed use. I have no problem with legislation that protects our young from putting themselves at risk.
    I do not think this is nanny state at all.
    Dictating shower head size is on a completely different level

    • Keeping Stock

      I agree completely Jude. Coleman pointed out this morning that National did not plan to ban their use outright, but would leave it to adults (over 18) to make their own decisions, knowing the possible risks. Isn’t that what we expect a government to do?

      • MaryLou

        You are right of course. Except that once upon a time it was a parents job to educate and safeguard their children. We’ve passed the buck to the government, so yes – you’re quite right, it is now their job. Our own fault for abrogating our responsibilities.

        • XCIA

          Some months ago the doctor checked me for abnormal moles etc. She said that melanoma was at epidemic proportions at the surgery and the worst was the number of young people presenting. Some people, well in fact a lot of people need saving from themselves.

          • MaryLou

            In New Zealand we do have a terrible melanoma rate, most of which occurs outside sunbeds. I know I sound harsh and don’t mean to, but if we keep making the government responsible, we can hardly complain when they get involved all the time.

            In terms of infectious diseases, there should be a cleaning process in place not unlike food handling laws – people sweat in those machines. The onus here needs to be on the business owner.

            In terms of melanoma and damage from the machines, well, it’s been known for decades that they are damaging and can cause melanoma. If a parent is going to allow their children to use it – well, why would you??

          • Miss McGerkinshaw

            ‘..but if we keep making the government responsible, we can hardly complain when they do.’
            Whilst I agree with you I am beginning to wonder if this is almost a chicken/egg type situation.
            Do we make the government responsible because we don’t do whatever or does the fact that the government seems to dictate so much of our lives cause us to leave it up to them?
            Can’t help thinking of the saying ‘Why have a dog and bark yourself’.

          • MaryLou

            I think it’s both. But more and more it is becoming demanded of the government to fix every damned thing in our lives, and less and less onus on both personal responsibility, responsibility for our families, and responsibility in our communities. As a consequence, the government jumps on every issue no matter how small and legislates. Sometimes they’re good legislative moves, and oftentimes they restrict the rights and movements of the majority because of the few. But that equation doesn’t seem to enter the decision-making process.

      • Can we do that for tobacco too…and alcohol… and sugar…if so that would be a refreshing change.

  • MaryLou

    Maybe we should have taken a bit more notice of the Libertarian Party whilst we had the chance. What gets me, is the choice of subjects these politicians are focusing on – and that’s both parties. It’s just that you can ignore Labour, they really don’t count.

    Is everything else in the state of the Nations health just so rosy that we’re focusing on THIS? I’ve no problems with them multitasking as a govt agency, but I’m quite sure there are more pressing matters to be attended to.

  • Abdullah

    What happen to my earlier comment?

    These are two separate laws.
    1. Sunbed restriction for under 18.
    2. More power for infectious disease control – court can order someone to undertake medical take and better contact tracing power for HIV syphillis and Gonorrhea.

    I remember reading this bill a few years back.

  • Gladwin

    I don’t agree with this point of view. If indeed sunbeds cause melanomas the state should be restricted, even banned. Why generate more melanomas when the state has to pick up the VERY expensive tab to fix the problem?

    • andrewo

      It’s in line with children smoking, drinking & driving cars.

  • Wheninrome

    Nail bars are another area of danger, this is not tongue in cheek, I have seen the results when someone gets an infection in the nailbed, loss of a joint in the finger. The infection is hard to eradicate. I think rules regarding hygiene in these beauty, body type areas are important. The other day I was in the hairdresser, she was talking to another client whose young daughter was in for a haircut, she said she couldn’t get the nit eggs out of her hair, I felt immediately nervous and itchy. I thought if there was a chance of nits the hairdresser would not do the hair, well she kept right on cutting this girls hair debating the whys and wherefores of lice control in the hair.

  • Sally

    Remember folks we have to cater for the lowest common denominator so personal responsibility flies out the window.
    The government has stepped in to save people from themselves.
    Most sensible people know about the damage sunbeds can to but we are not talking about sensible people here.
    I wish there was less government interference in our lives but unfortunately that is not going to be the case.

    • Miss McGerkinshaw

      But surely the logical extension of that is to make slip, slap, slop a legal requirement not just a suggestion as the sun, especially the NZ one it seems, also is really bad for us?

      • Tiger

        But the sun is also good for us. The nanny state should legislate that we get at least 4 hours of sun every day! Problem solved.

  • cows4me

    It’s easier to look busy attacking the thousands of little things in life rather than dealing to the real issues, like housing, immigration, TOW, welfare etc. When you run out of ideas, saving the peasants from themselves fills in the gaps.

    • axeman

      Dead right Cows, Mind you I think they should ban entering any form of water like rivers, lakes, swimming & spa pools and the sea. This has been proven to be without doubt the most likely place to drown

  • jaundiced

    I’ve never quite understood the fervent reaction to ‘light bulbs and shower heads’.
    We have building standards requiring new buildings to be energy efficient, insulated etc. Not too much of a stretch to have minimum standards for energy light bulbs, water efficient showerheads etc. The criteria is, is this for the benefit of the user, or for just some mindless money making bureaucracy?
    There are more significant ‘nanny state’ things to get upset about, such as local council consents, speed cameras etc.

  • kayaker

    I see this as much like the drinking age law. The sunbed industry needs regulating even more than what it is. There have been some tragic results from using sunbeds. I used to use them off and on (usually before a summer holiday) knowing what I know now I wouldn’t go near them. They should be banned. Some skin specialists use them for their patients for skin conditions, but they are strictly monitored.

  • SFB

    Keytruda looks like it is going to be funded by the government so I have no problem them putting in a few common sense rules at the same time.

  • sheppy

    I’m confused, why do we need sunbeds in NZ at all? Its simple isn’t it, wait until it stops raining, open door, apply lotion, enjoy sun.
    Sure they may make sense in somewhere like the UK where winter daylight hours are short and the weather is bad, but in NZ??

    • Jackie

      Most people Nelson and south do not have high enough Vit D levels.

      • sheppy

        Oh, I thought Nelson had the most sunshine hours, or is that a fallacy spread by my mate down there?

        • Jackie

          Yes Nelson has had that honour on the odd occasion……..my understanding of Vit D is that you need to be out in the sun not behind the glass which is like UVA during the winter rather than UVB. The Vit D blood levels from Nelson down are all lower than what they should be.

  • Jackie

    Hang on a moment sunbeds have two types of tubes….UVA and UVB and the latter ones are used for those suffering from auto-immune conditions like psoriasis!! NZ’ers also suffer from Vit D deficiency and Vit D absorption issues so a sunbed is good for these people! There are many studies that link low levels of Vit D to cancers. This seems to be all about the Ministry being able to license the operators so really will just be another revenue gathering exercise…….Could someone please ban the Ministry as I am in the vulnerable group who are losing all their rights..


    Low levels of Vit D and melanoma


    “Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says there’s strong evidence that
    people who use sunbeds increase their risk of melanoma and other skin
    cancers”…….well could he provide his evidence?…..for him to say there is strong evidence then surely that evidence is reliant on a study? He is I hope referring to study information and not hearsay?!? Who gave the Minister the evidence/study information?


    • Second time around

      The articles you cite are on the murky issue of whether Vitamin D will stop the progression or maybe the development of certain types of cancer. The fact that improper sunbed use can cause melanoma is not disputed. It would be a lot safer and just as beneficial to take Vitamin D orally, and save yourself a lot of anxiety in later life.

  • Second time around

    Melanoma kills, Vitamin D deficiency can be resolved by taking it orally, and indeed milk, margarine and or breakfast cereals are fortified with it in the United States and Canada. Sunbeds are associated with melanoma occurrence, so the only question is why you would permit them except on prescription for people aged 18 years and above. The government is bending over backwards to not appear to be “nanny state” and politically correct, but sometimes regulations do need to be made to protect the public, and to protect the taxpayer from the horrendous implications of unnecessary disease. Coleman should grow a spine instead of trying to appease the libertarian factions.

    • Jackie

      There is no doubt that melanoma kills and no one is arguing with that……but why is a species like humans struggling with DNA damage from UV in the first place……don’t go thinking that regulating sunbeds is going to fix this problem as you’re only fooling yourself and people who listen to you.

      Melanoma is said to be an environmental disease……so how about looking at environmental changes like the one below and lets put some light on the fact melanoma can occur in places where the sun doesn’t shine!

      By the way Vitamins D is really a hormone and guess what disrupts hormones……..

      “The observed elevated levels of unconjugated bilirubin and alanine
      aminotransferase (ALT) are indicative of cholestasis, likely in part a
      consequence of impaired CYP enzyme function. Melanoma is one of the
      types of cancer that have been linked to glyphosate exposure in
      agriculture. An age-adjusted analysis revealed an 80 percent increased
      risk of melanoma associated with glyphosate use in a study on pesticide
      applicators in Iowa and North Carolina.[187]”


      • Second time around

        Vitamin D does have some chemical features in common with hormones, but that offers no special insight into its physiological functions. A number of alternative health publications associate melanoma and glyphosate, but it is much easier to claim and repeat the claim of an association than to prove it. Melanoma has been positively identified in prehistoric Peruvian mummies so is certainly not a post-industrial disease.