Carrick Graham

Dodgy petition secretly changed

Carrick Graham outlines how the organisers of an anti-sugar petition have quietly changed the wording of their petition after being busted for lying.

Late yesterday, the organisers of a sugar petition suddenly changed the wording of their online ?Petition for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages? at

This followed criticism on multiple blogs, including Kiwiblog, which called it ?A misleading petition?.

The sugar tax petition said that ?New Zealand has a problem. We are the third fattest nation in the world?. This is not true, and Kiwiblog provided reference to the WHO database for obesity by country that showed New Zealand ranked 29th, not third as claimed by the petition organisers.

Now some would say that changing the wording of the petition to be factually correct is a good thing. Perhaps, but one would have thought that an explanation would be required to the 4,000 odd people that signed this online petition about why the sudden change of wording was needed.

As a result of this change, you have a situation where the petition organisers have been misleading the signatories about the New Zealand?s place in worldwide obesity rankings.

Simply put, changing the wording of a petition three-quarters of the way through ? after being found to be inaccurate – reeks of ?oh well never mind, it?s all right, it doesn?t really matter?.

But it isn?t right. And it does matter.

Read more »

Otago Uni public health ‘expert’ blog gets it wrong

So much for the University of Otago?s positioning as so-called public health experts.

On Tuesday they raced out a blog post trying to shame Health Minister Jonathan Coleman into supporting a sugar tax on fizzy drinks here in NZ.


It?s written by the usual anti-sugar troughers. Lets? remind ourselves who some of them are.

Dr Wilma Waterlander is obviously the lead author. She and Dr Helen Eyles had a lovely time recently at the 5-star Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh with its exciting social programme.

Prof Nick Wilson is a well-known trougher from the Otago University?s Wellington Department of Public Health Troughers, who last year was exposed by the Taxpayers’ Union over his misleading claims over a salt tax.

Then there?s 11-million-dollar woman Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu, well known for calling for a 20% tax on fat, salt, dairy, meat etc.

But hang on a minute, what?s this? Looks like they?ve been caught out botching their references. ? Read more »

Precious little Kevvy Hague doesn’t like it up him

Kevin Hague likes to talk about?transparency, but he also likes to break value?6 of the Green party values,?which states:

Engage respectfully, without personal attacks

It is somewhat unbelievable that, given those values, he engages in such an appalling manner on Facebook, attacking Katherine Rich, Carrick Graham, David Farrar and me.

For anyone following the debate on whether or not we should impose a levy on sugary drinks. Something I found noteworthy (and predicted at the start of the day in fact) was that the voices raised in support of the Government position of doing nothing were first Katherine Rich, CEO of the Food and Grocery Council (ie the industry, second Carrick Graham, PR consultant to noxious industries, and thirdly blog posts on Kiwiblog and Whaleoil. Now where have I seen that alignment before? Sounds very familiar. For good measure there was also comment from Eric Crampton, economist for ‘the NZ Initiative’ (or as I prefer to still call it, to ensure transparency, the Business Roundtable)

Clear breaches of value 6. I’m not sure how calling industries noxious is engaging respectfully, without personal attacks. ? Read more »

INCITE: Politics launches today


Today is the day and shortly the first editions of INCITE: Politics will begin landing in people’s inboxes.

Little in trouble?-?David Farrar writes about the fundamental problem for Andrew Little, his negative approval rating, and contrasts it with the very popular John Key.

The Route to Victory?-?Simon Lusk considers the potential routes to victory and the relative institutional strengths of both the Labour and the National parties in the 2017 election.

Ten Questions?-?Winston Peters takes the time to give some thoughtful answers to some important political questions.

Politician of the Year?-?Review our choice for the inaugural INCITE: Politics Politician of the year.

The Advent of the Media Party?-?Cam Slater writes about why the media have moved from neutral, dispassionate observers to players in the political game, and why the public no longer trusts them.

Pundits & Media – ?Cam Slater?s view on the New Zealand media, with a counter view from Simon Lusk. ?? 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 »

Will David Parker now apologise after Police reject his vexatious complaint?

The police have cleared me of any wrong doing over David Parker’s vexatious complaint to Police.

A scumbag reporter at a newspaper reports:

Not so Dirty Politics after all.

That’s the message from police over a blogger accessing Labour Party computer systems to gather financial and membership details.

The country’s most senior detective Rodney Drew today told the Labour Party that “there is no evidence of criminal offending”.

“While the matter may raise privacy and ethical issues, these are not the domain of criminal law.”

It’s almost a year since details of the 2011 intrusion were described by journalist Nicky Hager in the controversial pre-election book Dirty Politics.

Hager wrote how Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater conspired with a staff member in the Prime Minister’s office, Jason Ede, to access Labour Party information through a hole in its website. He reported how Ede had avoided being identified by using a “dynamic IP address” which meant efforts to track him failed.

The details revealed in the book led to the Labour Party complaining it had been hacked, among other claims. The other matters were dismissed by police last year. The reason, in a letter from Mr Drew, was that the “only evidence being relied on was contents of Mr Hagar’s (sic) book and the entities and persons named did not want to pursue any action”. ? Read more »

Kids’ obesity all Richie McCaw’s fault, says doctor


Some anti-sugar lobbyists think they?re doing a great job in the battle to stop Kiwi kids getting fatter.

Then there are some like Dr Rob Beaglehole who sadly, start to believe their own kool-aid and lose perspective. Today we see such an example. ? Read more »

Nanny state troughers want more bans, restrictions and taxes on what you eat


This week we have seen a flurry of articles in MSM bleating on that the Government is not doing enough to counter the ?obesity epidemic?.

The noise is due to Health Minister Jonathan Coleman kicking the idea of a sugar tax into touch. The troughers are outraged a key plank of their lobbying has been rejected by Government.

No surprises who is driving this.

It?s Trougher of the Year Professor Boyd Swinburn and his travelling side-kick Senior Research Fellow Stefanie Vandevijvere. Must be a funding round somewhere.

A lot of the noise is repeated in the anonymous Facebook/Twitter group called ?Protect Our Kids NZ?.?Coincidentally? this group repeats the exact lines that Boyd Swinburn and Stefanie Vandevijvere bleat on about, yet they don?t have the guts to put their names to it.

Chaos & Mayhem member Carrick Graham is never shy to enter battle with troughers, lobbying the question: what they have actually delivered for the more than $16 million they?ve received from the taxpayer? It?s a very good question.

He recently caught them out running a #DirtyPolitics campaign against him, me and former HPA board member Katherine Rich, through taxpayer funded group Agencies for Nutrition Action.

It?s a front group being run by the troughers ? the very thing they accuse Big Business of doing. This one is called ?Protect Our Kids NZ?. ? Read more »

Govt needs to ask: “What happened to the $16m?” #dirtypolitics


It?s always interesting that the deeper people get into the taxpayer-funded trough the more they feel they have the right to determine how other people should live their lives.

Trougher of the Year and frequent jet-setter Boyd Swinburn is one such person. ? 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 »