ACT Dear Greg, I have received your email requesting information on the ACT Party’s position on dietary advice. ACT believes in markets and freedom. It is not a natural position for us that political parties should have a view on this other than ensuring any Government involvement in the process is sound. Here we differ from other parties because we would like people to be able to access a health service that is private and therefore accountable to its clients. The Government does have a role in the provision of funding but that is directly to the patient to buy the health service they wish and not to the provider to then give the health service or in this case dietary advice. People should be able to access the advice they want and so the question is does the Government have a role in deciding what that advice is? If the advice is provided by the Ministry of Health then it does but we would prefer the Ministry to not have that role, and that it is provided privately by health professionals who will need to establish credibility in order to compete. Credibility will be important for them and the advice we anticipate will be more credible than it is now and therefore the concerns you have will be addressed. Kind Regards Robin Grieve ACT Whangarei Auckland North Board Member
Democrats for Social Credit Thanks for your inquiry, and I fully understand the huge mistake about diet we've been suffering under. More and more people are going back to butter and other natural fats and oils, no matter what the Health Department policy is. It may take a groundswell of public opinion before the rigid diet rules of yesterday are changed. One of my favourite ironies, seen in a US supermarket: 'Oreo cookies Lite - 99% fat-free!' Never mind the processed ingredients and sugar content! And the biggest 'healthfood' scam ever is muesli. Cheaper to produce than a cow or sheep, less processing than cornflakes, and yet gram for gram, the public pays more for it! The grains may be whole and marginally more nutritious, but as you say, only birds eat grain in nature. As omnivores we can digest it if necessary, but it shouldn't be our main source of food. While DSC doesn't have specific policy on diet, we do know that the poorer a family is, the less good food they eat, and often the less knowledge they have about diet essentials. And a growing number of NZ families are very poor. Our core policy is a fundamental reform of the economic system, beginning with our sovereign bank creating our money supply rather than private banks, when they lend money and then charge us for it. Our money will be managed and distributed for the public good and not for private profit. One of the ways we'd like to redistribute the nation's wealth is through a guaranteed basic income to every legal resident regardless of age. NZ once had a small universal income before, called family benefit, paid to parents or caregivers on behalf of children. We have a less universal one now, for people over 65, although it discriminates against married couples, de facto relationships and co-living arrangements. When families have enough income to live in health and dignity, they have more choices about diet. They may have more time to grow some of their food, and to find out about the best things to eat. They'll be able to afford better food, too. The cheapest foods are the least nutritious: white bread, potatoes, fizzy drink. Sugar stems hunger pangs but is the long-term culprit in diabetes, obesity and other diseases that are driven by poverty and malnutrition. Another of our policies for distributing wealth is the full funding of health care and education as a 'social wage'. Families won't need to choose between food on the table and seeing a doctor. Children won't miss out on activities at school when their parents can't afford the 'donation'. Well-fed children learn better and fall sick less often. I realise none of this directly relates to your issue, but I maintain that people who are well-fed and healthy are better able to think for themselves, and once we bring those families out of poverty, they will be able to make better choices for their children. If you'd like to know more about Democrats for Social Credit policies, go to www.democrats.org.nz
Green Party Hi Gregg,
Your email has been forwarded to me for response. I am the Green Party's Health spokesperson.
The points you make are very familiar from the debate that's been going on over the past couple of years and my reading of the scientific literature suggests that there is significant support for your point of view.
However, what Government should be doing is implementing policy based on the best possible evidence, as assessed by experts. There is now a very clear consensus of those experts that the sugar content of the average diet needs to be radically reduced, and so Government policy should reflect this (we favour a levy on sugar-sweetened drinks for example), but there is not a consensus that saturated fats are not also harmful. Instead the existing majority opinion from experts is that we should aim to minimise saturated fat consumption. While that is perhaps starting to shift Government should not lead any change, but rather follow it.
Hence focus needs to be on the scientific debate and accumulation of evidence. Cheers, Kevin Authorized by Kevin Hague, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.
Labour Dear Greg, Many thanks for raising these important issues with us. I have forwarded to our policy team and spokesperson Annette King for response, Best wishes, Tim -- Tim Barnett General Secretary New Zealand Labour Party Head Office | 1st Floor Fraser House | 160-162 Willis Street | P O Box 784 | Wellington | Ph 04-3847649 | 021 260 4298 | Fax 04-3848060| www.labour.org.nz Authorised by Tim Barnett, 160 Willis Street, Wellington
National Dear Mr Sheehan On behalf of Hon Tony Ryall, Minister of Health, thank you for your email of 2 August about Public Health & Nutrition. The Minister has noted your comments and received confirmation from the Ministry of Health that they will respond directly to you. Thank you for taking the time to write. Yours sincerely
Bridget Madar Private Secretary – Health Office of Hon Ryall
New Zealand Independent Coalition Thank you for your email. I suggest you look at our website http://www.nzindependent.org.nz/ to see our core values. We have core values and issues that we will support legislation to alter. We are not a party that has a party line. Rather we are a coalition that will take proposed legislation to our members and ask for their votes. That is how our MPs’ will vote. We represent the voice of the people. Regards Helen Anderson Secretary 07 575 9533 NZ Independent Coalition www.nzindependent.org.nz