New Zealand Labour Party

No more sweet talk on obesity

The Government should be looking at broader measures to combat obesity rather than re-hashing pre-announced initiatives, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. 

“While it is encouraging to see the Government finally waking from its slumber and restoring a focus on obesity let’s see some new ideas, such as reducing sugar in processed food. Manufacturers did it with salt, there’s no reason they can’t do the same with the sweet stuff.

“The latest health promotion push is not new, with Prime Minister John Key declaring it would adopt the Australian anti-obesity programme months before last year’s budget.

“Call me cynical but once again we have National congratulating itself on a re-hashed announcement.

“It is ironic that it has taken so long for Government wake up to the fact something needs to be done about the growing problem of obesity.

“One of the first things National did when it was elected to Government seven years ago was dump two successful Labour initiatives - the Healthy Eating-Healthy Action programme, aimed at achieving a healthy weight for all New Zealanders, and guidelines around school tuck shops.

“Talk about political stupidity.

“It’s also disappointing the Government is using an Australian programme as its template when  we have an incredibly successful home-grown one, Project Energize, that has been running in the Waikato since 2005.

“More than a million Kiwis are now considered to be obese. Turning that around will take more than one community-based initiative,” Annette King says.