Here's an idea as we go into election year. Instead of part-privatisation of state-owned assets, especially those which generate essentials such as energy, why not nationalise the food outlets?
It's such a ripper, I can't imagine why no party has cottoned on to it. I mean, last night when TVNZ covered the story on selling shares in Meridian and Mighty River Power, to whom did the reporter turn for comment? Why, Molly Melhuish, of course, the go-to person for rising power prices (to be fair, we got Sue Chetwin, consumer advocate as well).
Electricity is so vital to households, it simply cannot be privately owned, the collectivists tell us. But what about food? No one would argue that food is more important – you can have food without power. So I don't understand why those on the left of the political divide, the anti-capitalists, the anti-private property holders, aren't out there campaigning against the private ownership of all food retail outlets.
Should not all supermarkets be owned by the state?
This week we saw a call for new laws restricting the sale of so-called junk food near schools. I quote: "The high number of outlets near schools is thought to be a factor in the childhood obesity epidemic sweeping the Western world."
The Secondary Principals' Association of New Zealand (Spanz) – no less – wants restrictions on what dairies near schools can sell during certain hours.
We're talking about food here, folks – possibly fizzy drinks, chippies, pies, lollies, ice creams. Stuff that, if eaten sensibly, in moderation, will not do you any harm at all.
Not alcohol. Not cigarettes. Not valium, prozac, heroin, speed, marijuana.
Am I the only person who finds this very disturbing, this call by researcher Peter Day, of Canterbury University's GeoHealth laboratory, to give councils more power to consider what dairies and fast-food outlets are contributing to the obesity rates among children?
Dairies and fast-food outlets?
Excuse me, can we pause for one moment and consider who is really responsible for the obesity rate among children? Who is responsible for what they eat, and when they eat it?
Peter Day's research found fast-food outlets (and I presume from this article dairies are included in this) are five-and-a-half times more likely to be sited near schools, than in other areas. They are three times more likely to be in poorer areas.
Not so poor, though, that they can't afford to buy the odd pie or ten.
Children need to have money to buy this stuff. How about this idea? Parents take some responsibility for their offsprings' health. They don't give them any money and instead, put two pieces of bread together with some vegemite in between? That's novel. Add an apple, a bottle of water, and make them walk to school.
The little darlings might not like that lunch and biff it in the bin. Tough, they can suck it up.
Then when they're at school, Spanz could force them to do some PhysEd, just like the bad old days. Oh, sorry, I forgot, we can't hurt or humiliate them anymore can we, if they're not good at running, or jumping, and come last, or fall over. In these post-modern days of child-centred learning, it's the self-esteem which is paramount.
We're only allowed to humiliate smokers, because they're a drain on the health system. Hang on, aren't obese people a drain on the health system too....?
Oh, never mind, do keep up, Deborah.
Why are we paying academics good money to come up with this research?
The tragedy is there's nothing funny about this. It's only a matter of time before some politician grabs hold of this with both meddling paws, semi-nationalises the food retail industry, then wonders why the CPI steadily rises.
Next stop on the gravy train to Whingeville: ever-widening gap between so-called rich and poor.