Christchurch woman bemused after cafe denies request to butter takeaway scone for 'health and safety' reasons

At Fair Go, we say no problem too big or too small. Little things count.

“It’s health and safety gone mad," said Judy from Christchurch, adding she was “gobsmacked” and “p’d off”. 

We couldn’t resist.

The source of Judy’s dismay was a humble scone she bought at the Christchurch Hospital cafe and the trouble she had getting it buttered to go.

“I said look, would you mind buttering it for me please? I'm going to be eating on the run. Her words were, ‘I'm sorry this is a health and safety issue, we cannot butter your scone’, and I was gobsmacked.”

Judy didn’t want to make a fuss so she did what most of us do - took her purchase and her simmering resentment and left.

“My mouth must've dropped and I was so stunned at being turned down to have my scone buttered. What kind of service is that?”

Judy has spent 30 years making and selling food to the public. She knows the value of goodwill. She also knows how many scones you need to sell to pay the wages of the person serving you.

“It's all about customer service. Where has the customer service gone?” 

Judy didn’t take to Twitter, or phone the hospital to leave a testy complaint.  She could see the funny side. But this did bug her and she called TVNZ’s consumer champion and Fair Go put it to the test.

When we called at the cafe our modest request for a buttered muffin was also rebuffed. 

What could possibly be the problem? Knife handling hazards?  A rampant superbug? A fatwa on saturated fat? 

Was the Canterbury District Health Board trying to send a subtle cue that it would sell butter but not enable it, by refusing to spread the habit? 

What next? Would hospitals be designated a no-spreading zone, and butter lovers forced to huddle outside on the street in the cold, next to the smokers and vapers, clutching plastic knives and balancing cold scones and butter pats?

The truth is always simpler. 

Canterbury DHB had a scone policy that was out of date (but not out of dates, thankfully).

A helpful spokesperson took time away from matters of life, death, sickness and health, to explain:

“The staff member may have meant 'food safety' as I understand the previous food providers at Christchurch Hospital had a policy whereby staff serving unwrapped food to the public should not touch it with their hands.”


“However, staff can, and do assist people who need a hand buttering their scones and muffins, and we’re sorry this wasn’t Judy’s experience on the day.”


The DHB wants to butter Judy up a scone and shout her a cuppa.


Thanks Canterbury DHB. We know you have a lot on your plate So does Fair Go. So does Judy. 

But the world has not yet scone completely mad over health and safety and we’re happy to spread this one.

Thankfully Judy's experience was a case of out-of-date policy, not PC gone mad. Source: Fair Go

New Zealand's female MPs, including Jacinda Ardern with baby Neve, recreate 1905 Parliament photo

New Zealand's female MPs have today recreated a 1905 photo of former Premier Richard Seddon and his colleagues. 

It comes as the country celebrates 125 years since women won the right to vote. However, women were not allowed to stand in Parliament until 1919. Elizabeth McCombs was elected as the first female MP in 1933. 

Richard Seddon, the 15th Premier of New Zealand, sits with his colleagues in 1905.
Richard Seddon, the 15th Premier of New Zealand, sits with his colleagues in 1905. Source: Supplied

Jacinda Ardern cradles her baby Neve in the photograph. 

Mr Seddon was New Zealand Premier from 1893 to 1906, winning five consecutive elections. 

Richard Seddon, the 15th Premier of New Zealand, sits with his colleagues in 1905.
Richard Seddon, the 15th Premier of New Zealand, sits with his colleagues in 1905. Source: Supplied

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, baby Neve and New Zealand's female MPs.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, baby Neve and New Zealand's female MPs. Source: Supplied

Up to 200 Fonterra staff fly to California resort for meeting as co-op announces $196 million loss

Fonterra has responded to revelations members of its Europe-based staff travelled at least 9000 kilometres to attend a meeting at a California resort town by saying the location was chosen because of its proximity to Los Angeles Airport.

NBR has reported up to 200 staff from the co-op's New Zealand milk product division attended the sales and marketing meeting at the tourist and surf mecca Huntington Beach at the time Fonterra was announcing a historic annual loss of $196 million last week.

The NZ Herald reports Fonterra responded to questions about the meeting with a statement.

Los Angeles Airport sign.
Los Angeles Airport sign. Source: Getty

"NZMP is an international business, with the majority of staff and customers based offshore, including a significant number in Europe, the US and South America," it read. 

"Every two years, select members of this team come together for a sales and marketing meeting to review performance and develop strategic plans for the following 12 months.

"The location of the global meeting varies but is always organised near a major airport hub. The venue for this year's meeting was selected due to its proximity to LAX. Bookings for the event were made several months ago to ensure cost efficiencies."

NZMP is the dairy ingredients brand of Fonterra.

The Herald noted Huntington Beach is at least an hour's drive from LAX.

Its report said while it's not unusual for large international businesses like Fonterra to hold conferences overseas, the farmer-owned cooperative is in the public spotlight for its financial performance, number of managers and staff salaries. 

Fonterra's annual report last week had showed nearly 6000 staff were paid at least $100,000.

The dairy giant today revealed a near-$200 million annual loss, the first in its 17-year history. Source: 1 NEWS


Rentable e-scooters could 'revolutionise' way Aucklanders get around with 2500 set to hit city's streets

A fleet of e-scooters is about to hit Auckland streets which the public can rent to get around town.

A media release today says an initial order of 500 Onzo e-scooters are en route to Auckland and set to hit the streets next month.

The company says a further 2000 will join them in coming months.

With a 250W motor, the e-scooters are capable of top speeds of around 30 kilometres per hour and can cover around 30 kilometres before requiring a recharge.

"E-scooters are great because they make travelling easy and fun," Onzo Chief Growth Officer, Min-Kyu Jung, says.

"Unlike bikes, e-scooters are allowed to be used on footpaths and don’t require helmets. They're perfect to pick up anywhere, anytime, for last-mile journeys such as between the bus stop and the office.

"I think this is totally going to revolutionise the way Aucklanders travel around this city. We're designing the system to make it super quick, easy, and cheap to pick up e-scooters for short journeys multiple times a day."

The scooters are said to feature regenerative braking to recharge the battery when the brakes are applied, or when a rider is going downhill.

They also have front and rear lights for added safety.

Just like Onzo's bikes, the system will be dockless and users will simply use the Onzo app to unlock the scooters from wherever they're left around the city by the previous rider.

Onzo will crowdsource the recharging of the scooters at night to the public.

Onzo e-scooter. Source: Supplied

Winston Peters explains party's support for raising refugee quota

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says NZ First shared the Labour Party's "aspiration" to increase the refugee quota, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced it will be raised to 1500 today.

The NZ First Party leader's position was in stark contrast to comments made at the start of the month at the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru.

"We never made a commitment to double the refugee quota," Mr Peters told media at the time.

The Deputy PM went on to argue there were other priorities for the Government.

"We've got 50,000 people who are homeless back home, and I can show you parts of the Hokianga and elsewhere, parts of Northland, with people living in degradation.

"We have to fix their lives up as well before we start taking on new obligations of the level that some people would like."

However, while standing next to Ms Ardern during the announcement today he took a much softer line on the refugee issue.

"This is about people not about politics and controversy, the fact is it was put to me in Nauru that the 1500 figure was already there, which it wasn't.

"The Labour Party policy I knew was an aspiration towards that, so was New Zealand First's an aspiration towards that, and I knew the Greens had a higher target," Mr Peters said.

"All I did was put out the plain facts and to say that it was a work in progress and I'm not surprised with the speed at which the progress has taken place.

"This was always on the cards that we'd get it done when we had all the background work done on refugee centres and a host of other things," he continued.

PM Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand's refugee quota was previously 1000, after being increased by the National-led Government from 750 in 2016.

The new quota will take effect from July 2020. 

Major points

- There will be six new settlement locations, on top of re-establishing Christchurch as a settlement location.

- Expanding the public housing supply for 150 extra refugee families is expected to cost $32.5 million over three years.

- Budget 2018 included money to build new accommodation blocks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre  

The NZ First leader said the increase was “always on the cards”. Source: 1 NEWS