What have we got for $317.5 million?

Readers will know I?m no fan of nanny-state troughers trying to tell us how to live our lives.

Over the last few years we?ve seen the gradual shift in the focus of the troughers from smoking to obesity, and this blog has exposed examples of public funds being used to travel the world troughing it up.

Over at Kiwiblog, there?s a guest post ?TEN YEARS AND $317.5 MILLION LATER?AND STILL GETTING FATTER? by my mate Carrick Graham, who knows a thing or two about who is tucking into large amounts of taxpayer money.

?For the last decade I have been tracking the funding streams of public money spent by the Ministry of Health on obesity related services via contracts with non-government organisations/service providers.

Collectively over this period the?Government has spent approximately?$317,565,118?to address obesity concerns in New Zealand. This figure was obtained from official data provided by the Ministry of Health and released under the Official Information Act 1986.

This $317.5 million figure does not include research grants or other funding for academic research on obesity. Research grants identified by my company Facilitate Communications, to just a few well-known researchers in the field total more than $16 million and represents the tip of the iceberg of government and other funding sources for obesity related research.?

Shows the $16 million being tucked into by obesity troughers like Boyd Swinburn, Cliona Ni Mhurchu, and others, is a mere drop in the ocean. ?

But Graham has a point in questioning the success of spending over $300 million, especially when you see numerous reports saying obesity rates are increasing in New Zealand.

?In light of the significant amount of public funding that has been spent with no apparent success in reducing the level of obesity in New Zealand, a reprioritisation or reapportioning of funding to more community-focused initiatives for real New Zealanders seems highly appropriate.?

I asked Graham if he thought this would change. His comments weren?t encouraging. He told me about Ministry of Health advice on interventions he?d seen on how to deal with obesity. It included;

The key is changing people?s environments, particularly via social norms, so that people?s default settings are healthier choices, which removes reliance on individuals making conscious choices.

Sounds like they don?t like individuals making conscious choices.

If this is the type of advice being given to Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, the country has no hope.

What is needed is a Fat Bastard Tax (FBT).