The Green's food policy is here:
1. They're somewhat obsessive about the word healthy when referring to food. I have issues with that.
2. They buy into the moral panic over obesity, mentioning it as something to be avoided three times, without once arguing why.
3. "Prohibit the funding of health services by food companies that sell or promote unhealthy high fat, high sugar food." So they don't object to the privitisation of health services, they just want to moderate it a little bit.
4. Just like they have no problems with businesses on school grounds unless they're selling sugar.
5. To belabour a point they say that they only want food sold at sports functions to meet national guidelines to promote the health of children. But you need different food when you've run a marathon than when you've swum 100m freestyle or done a floor routine gymnastics - well I believe no food is often a pre-requisite for gymnastics, but that's a different matter. The idea that there is one set of healthy food for all people and circumstances is ridiculous.
6. They keep on talking about getting agreed nutritional guidelines - if you follow these sorts of things you know that most of the science is funded by someone, and that most people have an agenda. To think that you can get meaningful, helpful nutritional guidelines - even if people did all need to eat the same things at all times - is naieve at best.
7. They're funding it all by a consumer tax on soft drinks. Consumer taxes suck, consumer taxes are regressive and impact on poor people more than rich people.
8. They want to provide free fruit in schools, and create some kind of cross whatever working party to investigate the feasibility of the possibility of creating a report about implementing a pilot programme to research the advantages of providing free breakfast in schools. The single best things you could do to improve the diet of New Zealand children is provide breakfast and lunch free in schools - and get the government to do it directly, no sub-contracting to spotless - but no they care more about nuritional guidelines.
9. They want a red, orange, and green system to label food - doesn't that sound like a good way of communicating complete nutritional information and making sure people make choices based on knowledge.
10. My old school has instituted a policy banning regular soft drinks, but allowing diet coke and sprite zero.. This isn't, strictly speaking, the Greens fault, but what's the point of having a blog if you can't rant about everything that is making you grumpy.
11. Hospitals wouldn't be allowed to sell or provide high fat or high sugar foods. You know what, sometimes people need high fat or high sugar foods to recover and rebuild their bodies.
12. I still can't get over the fact that they thought soft-drinks in foods were one of the half a dozen most important issues facing New Zealand today. I don't think there should be vending machines in schools, because I don't actually think there should be any profit making businesses in schools, but it probably wouldn't make it into my top 50.
13. Their entire policy is based on the idea that problems with food and diet are individual problems, and if people had more information then it'd all be great. This is bullshit, the problems with our food and diet are created because food is made for profit, not for nutritional value - individual choices aren't going to change that.
14. LABELLNG ARGH
15. Of all the bullshit solutions based on privilege, that is by far the most annoying, stupid morons, why did I vote for them.
16. Sorry now I'm coherent again, the green party is obsessed with labelling food, as if it's knowledge that we lack, not choices. It only makes any difference if GE food is labelled if you can afford to choose the GE free.
So to summarise the green party food policy entrenches the reality that nutritious food is a privilege based on your financial situation, it has very little grasp of the scientific research in the area, is full of abstract good and bad things with no meaningful way of creating change, and ignores the concrete ways of that you could improve people's food and diets. I could curl up and die from not surprisedness.
There are a few points there I agree with - particularly in part 1 of their policy, about cleaning up food production, but that's because they take a much more structural approach. They say 'ban battery farming' not 'ensure all battery eggs are suitably labeled'.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
The Green's food policy is here: