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Canterbury DHB had a scone policy that was out of date (but not out of dates, thankfully).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
Today's teens are more fat and less fit than their parents' generation, according to disturbing new research out of the University of Otago.
The first-of-its-kind study, published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal, measured the fitness of 343 15-year-olds whose parents had been tested in the 1980s. Each generation was tested on an exercise cycle.
"We have seen a 25 per cent decline in fitness in girls compared to their mothers and about a 15 per cent decline in fitness compared to their fathers," researcher Helena McAnally told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning, explaining that the findings are unlikely to be unique to New Zealand.
"I think there's been a lot of social change over the years between the Dunedin study in the 80s, when they were 15, and now," she explained. "We're looking at increasing levels of physical inactivity in developed countries across the globe."
The downward trend is a concern, she said.
"Historically, we've been seeing health and wellbeing tracking towards more positive outcomes," she said. "This is looking like this generation is going to be less healthy than their parents' generation.
"Poorer fitness now could potentially lead to long term health problems later."
Professor Bob Hancox, who led the study, said in a statement that the findings fit the perception many of us already had of young people being outside less and tethered to screens more than any generation previously.
But Ms McAnally said today she remains optimistic that the situation could change. As happened with smoking, studies about the health implications could help prompt government initiatives that eventually see healthier outcomes.
The $7 million plan to tackle the fat is being deemed too weak.
Source: 1 NEWS
She suggested ad campaigns and increased opportunities for people to be active.
"I know in Australia some schools have an afternoon dedicated to physical activity so that people don't have to organise taking their kids to sports outside of school hours," she said. "So there are things like that we could change that would be systematically embedding physical activity in young people's day-to-day routines.
"Investing in the health and wellbeing of our young people now is going to save money in the long term, so I think it's a sensible move."
Researchers tested the 15-year-old children of teens who were studied in the 1980s, researcher Helena McAnally explained to Breakfast.
Ms Ardern has seen the final report - on which she's based her decision to strip Ms Whaitiri of her portfolios - but the public will have to wait until the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has been through it before they get to see it.
She will not say what happened, only that Ms Whaitiri still disputes the allegation against her.
But Ms Ardern has promised some of that detail will be released in due course.
"I've asked DIA to prepare a version of the report that can be released in order to address some of those outstanding questions."
Ms Whaitiri's associate portfolios in agriculture, Crown-Māori relations, forestry and local government will all fall to lead ministers.
Mana MP Kris Faafoi, who recently became the Minister of Broadcasting when Clare Curran resigned from Cabinet, will pick up the full customs portfolio.
It avoids a full Cabinet reshuffle.
Ms Ardern said she would work with Ms Whaitiri to address her staffing matters, but made it clear no other formal grievances had been laid.
"I'm going to work with the member, at this point we are talking more about managing employees.
"Support through training and so on, human resource management."
Ms Whaitiri remains an electorate MP and will keep her role as co-chair of Labour's Māori caucus.
Fellow co-chair Willie Jackson could not be reached for comment, but one of its members, Labour MP Paul Eagle, said he was pleased remained at the helm.
"She's certainly served her weight in gold over the last 11 months, and I'd hope to see her stay."
Senior Cabinet Minister Andrew Little backed the Ms Ardern's call on the matter.
"I haven't seen the report but what I do know of Jacinda Ardern is that she is scrupulously fair, she has waited until she's obviously had information and has made her judgement and I stand with her on that."
Labour MPs Ginny Anderson and Greg O'Connor agreed.
Green MP Gareth Hughes felt for his Parliamentary colleague.
"There's always the personal reaction, and I feel sorry for her as an individual. Obviously though the decision was one for [the] prime minister."
In Napier, in the heart of the Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate, many voters said they remained supportive of Ms Whaitiri. Others backed Ms Ardern.
There’s no show without punch, and although Winston Peters did not say much, he said enough. Unlike the Prime Minister who was something of a disappointment.
Last Sunday’s carefully stage-managed display of unity by Jacinda Ardern and her deputy was not so much a case of fake news as one of fabricated news.
It was somehow befitting of the barmy politics emanating daily from the Government benches in Parliament that the coalition Government should half-celebrate its 12-month birthday having been in the job for just on 11 months.
A carefully-chosen audience was corralled on Auckland’s AUT campus to hear — or rather endure — Ardern taking close to half-an-hour to spell out her Government’s 12 priorities.
Source: 1 NEWS
Admittedly, it is difficult to inject excitement into a discussion of the virtues of intended alterations to the structure of the various Cabinet committees which meet weekly in the Beehive.
But one further priority would be finding a new speech writer for the Prime Minister before someone falls asleep and drowns in the verbiage. Or simply dies of boredom.
The said wordsmith's job is probably safe, however. The strict instruction from upon high would have been not to include the merest morsel of anything that those listening might find interesting — and which would detract from the whole purpose of the occasion, specifically the need for the Government to project an image as rock solid unified.
The political pantomime had one overriding objective — convincing an increasingly sceptical public that although Ardern and Peters might not always be on the same page, they are still capable of trading smiles on the same platform after 11 months of jostling one another.
While the Labour-New Zealand coalition has witnessed sporadic bouts of internal guerrilla warfare in recent times and principally on New Zealand First’s part, it is vastly over-dramatising things to suggest this so far occasional rebellion could become full-blown civil war.
So there was no chance of Peters going AWOL last Sunday. It would, however, have helped the coalition’s cause considerably had he uttered the immortal words "of course she's driving the car" during the earlier stages of the developing friction between the partners in Government. He was unwilling on Sunday to stretch the metaphor any further. But when it comes to back-seat driving or driving backwards, Peters is a master.
He has not taken on board any perceivable role as a back-room fixer for the coalition despite such a role having the capacity to alleviate some of the huge pressures weighing on Ardern’s shoulders.
He has instead exploited her inexperience as Labour’s leader and the fact that she spreads herself thin to bolster his party’s leverage within the coalition.
It is such game-play good that threatens the Government’s stability. It is not so much that the partners might clash over policy. As Ardern repeatedly notes, the coalition comprises three parties. There is always going to be disagreement over policy.
What matters is how such disputes are handled by the respective party leaderships - John Armstrong
What matters is how such disputes are handled by the respective party leaderships; whether, to use the parlance, they act on the basis of good faith and no surprises.
Ardern’s response to suggestions of disunity is to pretend there is none when she is so questioned. That is not credible.
She has now sought to brush off those claims made by her opponents by creating a distraction through repackaging her party’s priorities and relaunching them as a "coalition blueprint" under the title of Our Plan.
It would not have taken Labour’s spin-doctors long to dream up that title. It is the exact same one as used by National during the John Key-Bill English years in their similar quest to turn New Zealand into Utopia.
The only difference between Labour’s and National’s respective efforts was that Key was dismissive of such "vision documents". They might be useful in listing goals. They rarely provide detail of the means to be adopted to reach those goals. The day-to-day pressures of political life inevitably result in the prime minister of the day focusing heavily on short-term political management. Concentrating on the long-term can always be postponed to another day.
National’s various versions of vision have accordingly sunk without trace. That experience would have been a factor in Simon Bridges’ acidic observation that there was nothing in the long list of platitudes, banalities and truisms in Ardern’s blueprint which he would find hard to swallow. He isn’t wrong.
The producers of Ardern’s massive missive may have feared the same fate awaits their product as afflicted National’s equally turgid equivalent, creation.
That hurts. But Bridges is making the pertinent point that Ardern’s claim that her plan amounts to a "shared vision" of the three parties in her governing arrangement is utterly meaningless.
All it says is that the three-party grouping stretches so far across the political system that National can be accommodated with room to spare.
That makes it hard to keep the whole show on the road at the best of times.
With ministers falling like nine-pins, bureaucrats thinking nothing of splashing out $1.5 million on a justice policy summit and private consultants growing fat on the tidy sums to be made from servicing the plethora of working parties and task forces doing the work that career public servants are arguably better left to do, Labour is fast losing the plot.
But never mind. Ardern and her colleagues got what they wanted. That was a minute or two of coalition unity at the top of the six o’clock news. Given Labour’s growing malaise, that’s priceless.
The Prime Minister gave details of the Government plan during a speech in Auckland.
Source: 1 NEWS