When the current government was in opposition and criticised and vowed to change the food industry's labelling 'culture', it probably bit off a bit more than it could chew, similar to the KiwiBuild idea. For a bureaucrat to build a new system seems near impossible these days!
How long would it take to change legislation, requiring legibly large and concisely listed ingredients? How many bureaucratic hurdles and taskforces have to be circumnavigated to find a labelling method, which clearly states, in larger print, what's inside, how much salt, sugar, calories etc? Every day longer, that it takes the bureaucrats to bring us a new food conduct and labelling method, people are dying, unnecessarily from obesity and all other food related illnesses. Maybe people responsible for these changes could work a bit longer, harder and more driven, just like any business has to do from time to time. Come on, a bit of common sense, precise ingredient lists and gradually deleting seriously unhealthy and overly-processed foods can't be that hard, in my opinion.
The present secretive masking of ingredients in as small as possible type, with dubious ingredients, often only indicated by numbers or chemically-named molecular structures, seems deceptive at best.
When an arguably incapable government department hold hands with a 'Food Industry Taskforce', one has to wonder why there cannot be a non-conflicting body of unrelated scientists and practising (in-touch) health professionals in charge here, to put the brakes on this slow train of health destruction. No wonder the nation is getting fatter and fatter!
René Blezer, Taupo.
Why are governments so reluctant to do anything about the standard of foods sold? Are they afraid of the giant corporates and the breweries? With $20 million spent each year on extracting rotten teeth, with obesity on the rise, with millions of dollars spent on diabetes, heart attacks and cancer treatments in our hospitals and many early preventable deaths is he government not making food labelling mandatory? They eventually did it with tobacco products and changed the gun laws overnight.
This Coalition government is all about wellbeing but falls way behind on food regulations that support that promise.
Marie Kaire, Whangarei.
America's twitterer in chief has suggested that their green dollars could buy Greenland. Although only about 80 per cent of Greenland is covered in ice, the suggestion has been given a 100 per cent icy reception.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne.
Letters: Alan Jones, life, market garden land and Christians
Letters: Sue Carter, barges, economists, EV batteries and the All Blacks
Letters: Ihumātao, Shariah law, CEO salaries, alcohol in pregnancy and Brian Rudman
Eden Park concerns
As a near neighbour, not too near but near enough to hear the roar of the crowd for a try and the national anthems, I would like to put to bed once and for all the loud cry from some to allow concerts at Eden Park. We arrived in Mt Eden in 2003, fully aware of Eden Park as a sporting venue, not a concert venue. I would object very strongly to it now becoming a concert venue. Such a change would adversely affect many households . There are young children, elderly and ill people living in close proximity. To have Eden Park become a concert venue situated within such a high density residential area would be completely inappropriate.
In the longer term the high value Eden Park land needs to be used to firstly repay the ratepayer and then to help fund a new stadium downtown. This outcome should be the focus of the Auckland Council.
Alex Donald, Mt Eden.
Gun buyback scheme
I am not in favour of private ownership of military type firearms. However I question the utility of the current scheme to get them out of circulation. It is a sad commentary that due to inadequate regulation in the past we do not know what numbers of such weapons there are in the country, but it is accepted that the number is significant. Nor do we have a comprehensive register of firearm owners. The meetings held so far to hand in unwanted and illegal weapons have had only modest support. It is certain that those surrendering their firearms on these occasions are not potential terrorists. The scheme has already cost a substantial sum in compensation. One does not have to be a genius to realise that when the scheme winds up it will have siphoned up weapons which were not a danger from comparatively law abiding citizens
There will still be an unknown number in unknown hands. What are we to do about this?
Peter Clapshaw, Remuera.
Value of rail
National's finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith talks of the government giving a $1 billion "subsidy" to KiwiRail. Here is how it works. I have been travelling the road to Waiuku from Auckland, on a weekly basis for some time. Over the last 2-3 years about 80 per cent of the route from Paerata to Glenbrook has seriously degraded. The reason, I surmised, is that in that time Glenbrook steel mill has been trucking imported coal from Auckland Port and returning iron sands for export. Meanwhile Genesis Energy has been importing coal via the Port of Tauranga and has been railing this to the Huntly power station. The rebuilding of the Waiuku road will be done by NZTA using money from road user charges imposed on diesels and heavy vehicles, and the fuel excise tax paid by motorists.
The coal train from Tauranga has saved millions of dollars for NZTA maintenance on the adjacent road. For motorists, it reduced truck congestion and improved safety by removing the trucks. For the nation, it reduced our fuel import bill and produced less carbon emissions. Rail has considerable value which is not formally funded. I applaud the government investing in rail for these reasons, and Paul Goldsmith needs to understand the true value of rail investment.
Niall Robertson, Balmoral.
I read with interest Gary Hollis' letter ( 17 August ) about the ports. It would be great to get the cars off the wharf and return it to public access. But, I await a mayoral candidate's promise that the whole of the wharf area will become public space and not just a part. One only has to look at council's performance with the Northcote Shopping Centre, Takapuna Carpark, Chamberlain Park and other areas to see examples that only a small part is actually returned to the public. Most land gets developed into private apartments for the wealthy and the profits returned to developers and council's consolidated fund. Currently, 100 per cent of the wharf is owned by the public albeit not well used and of limited access. Before there is discussion about barges and carparks, we need a rock solid promise that any vacating by the Ports company will result in 100 per cent access by the public and not partially sold off.
Grant Gillon, Devonport.
Alcohol and pregnancy
Did Dr Bryan Frost ( Letters 16 August ) read Dr Johnston's letter to the Coroner?
At no time did she condone alcohol consumption in pregnancy and to suggest so is quite frankly insulting (to Dr Johnston and all the cosignatories). Quite the opposite, she reiterates that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption in pregnancy.
She does, however, challenge the coroner's recommendation as regards to alcohol consumption and breast feeding — particularly as it is based on an assumption that is not borne out by science.
The letter has nothing to do with fetal alcohol syndrome.
Dr Brigid Connor, Mt Eden.
The central purpose of imprisonment for crime is twofold: loss of freedom for the criminal and protection of society from wrong-doers. Incarceration satisfies both. Society's obligations in enlightened democracies also embrace ideas of rehabilitation, as the loss of freedom fulfils the punishment arm.
Within the purview of societal obligations lie broader aspects such as punishments and deprivations beyond incarceration. Loss of the freedom to vote would lie within this, as would the incendiary letter writing. Stuart Nash is right in that a law change is needed before other sanctions can be enacted.
As all Law students learn, the principles governing punishments are 'nullum crimen sine lege' (no crime without law) and 'nulla poena sine lege' (no penalty without law).
Any society's strength lies in its commitment to a humane system of criminal justice, where rights, obligations and safety are met.
Barbara Matthews, Onehunga.
It is deeply nauseating watching our political masters and so called celebrities jetting around the world taking photos of themselves while demanding action on climate change. Frank Bainimarama demands more action (or cash?) from Australia while receiving all China, the largest emitter by far, offers. At the same time he completely ignores that Fiji's economy is largely based on air travel. The inconvenient truth for climate alarmists is no more flights. I am not listening anymore to anti plastic bag warriors who jet off to enjoy the sun.
Mark McCluskey, Red Beach.