Obese legislation


There is something comical (tragically comical admittedly) about the New Zealand government's proposed legislation to combat obesity amongst the population. There are moves afoot to grant the government the same kind of power over non-communicable diseases as it has to control communicable disease.

This seems odd when the government pimps cigarettes and alcohol and receives a substantial share of the profits. I hope you can see the absurdity of permitting deadly products to to sold, then taxing them in order to create advertising messages to discourage their use. Of course political reality is the key to understanding. No New Zealand government would ever have the cojones to outlaw cigarettes (in particular) even though there is no communicable social benefit for nicotine products. Booze and fags are the kiwi equivalent of the right to bear arms in the US Constitution. There is no logic to it but the convention is enshrined.

It is easier for a government to compel the population to wear helmets when they cycle, not break the window of the prime minister's electoral office and not to physically discipline their children than to tax themselves with important but unpopular issues.

Of course obesity isn't confined to the population at large. The Labour government of New Zealand has become the Mr Creosote of political world - tragically corpulent, the kind of morbid fat that makes getting out of bed an major effort. The bigger the bureaucracy becomes the hungrier it gets - new rules become the cream cakes of power "Perhaps just a one more…" And a depart swells a little to facilitate the new weight of law.

Obesity is a problem in New Zealand. Let's begin with the legislature and not the legislation. We should lead the world in lean, efficient governance.

Let's make it an election issue. The New Zealand electorate should demand Wellington gets a stomach bypass.

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