Are they going to enforce bag checks too?

The wowsers want to wreck Pasifika Festival by banning and enforcing a soft drink ban:

The country’s biggest celebration of Pacific culture will be held at Western Springs this weekend.

Fighting Sugar in Soft Drinks (FIZZ) founder Gerhard Sundborn, who called for the ban, said 25 percent of a child’s sugar intake was from sugary drinks. ? Read more »

Remarkable: The Royal Society goes anti-sugar

The Royal Society is a scientific body. ?To see it enter advocacy is a real problem to me.

New Zealand should look at making it mandatory for food labels to include the amount of added sugar, the Royal Society says.

The society, which represents top scholars and scientists, has just put out a fact sheet with the latest evidence about the sweetener’s health risks.

It said the issue was urgent, given a third of adults and 11 percent of children aged between two to 14 are obese.

Society president Richard Bedford said it was difficult for people to know how much sugar they were consuming.

“With a typical can of sugar-sweetened fizzy drink containing nine teaspoons of sugar, and sugar added to a wide range of food products in New Zealand … it is likely that many New Zealanders are exceeding World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines regularly, if not every day.”

89% of children are just fine. ? And of the 11% remaining, all 11% are due to sugar? ?Not fat? ?Not lack of exercise? ?Not shit parenting? ? This problem – and it is one – is not solved by hitting 89% of the kids over the head for something they’re not doing in the first place, and placing compliance costs and other overheads onto industry when there is absolutely zero indication that it actually makes a practical difference.? Read more »


Food producers need to learn lessons from Big Tobacco

I’ve given speeches around this topic, I’ve written before about it.

Sugar is now being demonised like tobacco, and the same tactics are being used against producers as those used against Big Tobacco.

Two years ago at a food conference I told the packed room that they were next in the health battle. Food manufacturers giggled as I explained how they were next in the firing line. The only people in the room who weren’t giggling were the tobacco companies.

It turns out that I was right and they were wrong. They are now in a fight for the life of their business.

If sugar is the new smoking, then the makers of fizzy drinks and fattening cakes need to learn some lessons from big tobacco.

Big food companies have achieved?pariah status, with sugar taxes already implemented in Mexico and France and a levy planned for the U.K. in two years’ time. Last week, sugar producer Associated British Foods accused the government of trying to demonize the product and questioned whether that strategy?would help reduce obesity rates.

But it is just that outsider status that has helped lift?tobacco companies’ performance. Over the past five years, big tobacco has handed investors a?101 percent total return, according to Bloomberg Intelligence’s Global Tobacco Product Manufacturing index, well ahead of the MSCI World Index’s 42 percent.?That is a phenomenal performance?for a class of securities shunned by some investors on ethical grounds.

Slapping taxes on cigarettes has?hurt the volume of sales. But it also made it easier for tobacco companies to slip through price increases. Food companies need to use emerging sugar taxes to take control of pricing. Big tobacco has traditionally been reluctant to engage in price wars. Not so the food sector, which often gets dragged into supermarket price skirmishes.

And while the initial going will be tough for food companies, the inevitable industry turmoil that will arise from tough regulation will?pick off weaker players and make for a stronger group of survivors.?That has worked for big tobacco.

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The lunacy of an effective Sugar Tax that would mean wine is cheaper than Coke

The health troughers pushing for sugar taxes are cutting their own throats with dopey thinking.

Their silly statements are easily picked apart as Robin Grieve shows.

The Government has for now turned down the opportunity to increase its revenue and tax us when we buy a sugary drink, despite persistent calls for it to do so and quite strong public support for a tax.

This public support will mean it is an issue that will not go away.

Yeah and given John Key’s penchant for political somersaults this one is fraught with danger.

It is the opinions of those in the middle, who are not strongly liberal or socialist that are more likely to influence a government. It is presumed that their views are considered and informed and reflect the merits of a particular idea rather than a philosophical bent. The problem I see is that for their views to be considered and informed they need information which so far has not been forthcoming.

Tax proponents seem to think none of this matters because they argue that taxing something automatically reduces consumption, but is that really the case?

The tobacco tax is used as an example of where tax has reduced consumption. A packet of cigarettes has a $16 tax put on it raising the price from $4 to $20 and it certainly has had a chilling effect on consumption. Taking a 600ml bottle of fizzy, which at my service station is currently $4.10, to $20.10 would definitely reduce consumption of that drink and at the same time add fizzy drink to the list of things only rich kids can enjoy, thereby increasing inequality. I don’t see how that is even remotely fair and just.

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Is Fair Go actually fair?


Last night Mark Crysell had a piece on Fair Go called Sweet Bitterness.

You only had to watch the first 25 seconds and hear sugar being described as ??sweet, seductive, and deadly, sugar is the big mac-daddy bad boy food of our generation? to know how the programme was going to be framed.

As usual, it started out with Mark Crysell putting teaspoons of sugar into a glass saying that New Zealanders? on average are consuming between 20-30 teaspoons of sugar per day when the WHO says we should only be consuming 12 teaspoons per day.

Maybe I?m just being picky, but is that 20-30 heaped teaspoons or should it have been 20-30 level teaspoons of sugar? ? Read more »


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.

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Will this put an end to silly talk of a Sugar Tax?

The health troughers are busily ramping up for a sugar tax after the UK implemented one.

The big problem with such a tax is the lack of information or research into such a tax. There just seems to be this abiding belief that if taxes worked for tobacco then they should work for sugar.

What is astonishing is that the health troughers have essentially been lying about how effective such a tax would be and arts, travel &?lifestyle blogger David Farrar has busted their claims wide open.

In their report on the sugar tax, the Taxpayers? Union stated that only 1.6% of average calories came from sugary soft drinks.

Now I?m on their board, but I don?t normally get into the details of research publications. I referred to the 1.6% figure, but I?started to think that it must be wrong.

Surely no sensible group or person would advocate a tax on soft drinks, if they represent just 1.6% of calories? Could anyone (apart from those who just hate soft drink companies) really think a tax on products that produce just 1.6% of calories would achieve anything, while ignoring the other 98.4% of calories? So I started to doubt the 1.6% figure.

Hence?I asked the NZTU staff if they could provide the data to back up the 1.6% claim. And they did.?It is from the 2008/09 NZ National Nutrition Study of 4,721 NZers.

The NNS found that 9.9% of total energy intake (calories) comes from sucrose (added sugar). Of total sucrose intake 16% comes from non-alcoholic beverages.

Multiply 9.9% by 16% and you get 1.6%. So the figure comes from the official Ministry of Health nutrition survey.

So the proponents of a sugar tax want to tax something that represents 1.6% of the average calories consumed by NZers. They think this will make a material difference to obesity.

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


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?.

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If sugar is the enemy, then juices and smoothies are to be banned too

The smug bastards amongst us will be telling us, in their best po-faced look, that they support a sugar tax and they don’t care because they don’t drink soft-drinks. No, they are all pure and only drink smoothies.

Well, I’ve got bad news for them.

New UK research shows natural fruit juices contain unacceptably high levels of sugar, with smoothies the worst offenders.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, looked at juice drinks, fruit juices and smoothies which were specifically targeted at children. ? 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 »