Sunday, March 16, 2008

Nanny State in the supermarket

Bill Ralston reports in the NZ Herald how the Public Health Bill has, courtesy of Sue Kedgley and her fascination with banning things, the power for the state to tell supermarkets where and how they display "unhealthy" food.
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Kedgley says it is "unlikely to be used", which of course makes it ok to have the power to direct how the internal layout of a shop might be. The word fascist clearly applies here, how DARE they!
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Set aside the technical problems of administering this, when supermarkets are all sorts of sizes and layouts, think of what "unhealthy" food is. Is it butter? After all, it is high in saturated fat, has virtually no fibre, low vitamin and mineral content and can be used for frying and baking, both arguably "unhealthy" forms of food preparation. How about sugar? A bag of sugar can cause all sorts of mischief when combined with butter, flour and eggs. Then there is red meat. The evidence linking high consumption of red meat with heart disease and bowel cancer is overwhelming. Potatoes too. After all, cut them up and deep fry them and you're in trouble. Cheese too is closely linked to heart disease due to high saturated fat content. Bacon and other cured meats are high in nitrites and nitrates which are implicated in digestive system cancers as well.
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I'm sure nanny knows what is unhealthy, but it is telling that Labour and the Greens are championing this fascist piece of legislation - with the philosophy that supermarkets can't decide how they organise their own business, but more importantly that New Zealanders can't be relied upon to decide for themselves what they should eat.
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Is there no limit to the powers that those on the left seek to impose themselves upon businesses and consumers "for our own good"?

Meanwhile, since it is election year, would National and ACT repeal it?

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