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Tired Attempt to Pass Off Venal Campaign as Debate

Tired Attempt to Pass Off Venal Campaign as Debate


“The decision to bring British anti-tax spin doctor Christopher Snowdon to New Zealand last week was just another tired disingenuous attempt to dress up a venal campaign as a genuine debate,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

“Snowdon’s attacks on credible medical and social research have been well documented so it was disappointing but hardly a surprise to see him singing to the choir within the NZ Food & Grocery Council about the evils of taxing sugary soft drinks, etc. The Council obviously gives much greater priority to the food industry’s profits than the risk of poor health of New Zealanders.

“What is surprising is that the Food & Grocery Council obviously hasn’t realised the New Zealand public’s distaste for propaganda masquerading as evidence and genuine debate.”

As noted in media coverage (http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/wellbeing/10443122/Anti-sugar-campaigners-wowsers), the Food & Grocery Council has been at the centre of ‘Dirty Politics’ allegations that it ran sponsored posts on the Whale Oil blog. Both Katherine Rich from the Council and Christopher Snowdon have been referred to in glowing terms on this blog. When Mr Snowden’s strongest supporters are the Cameron Slater ‘gang’, what more can one say.

“All of this raises questions about the real intent of these people and organisations. Issues like obesity are very important for New Zealand and any discussion of possible solutions, such as taxes on soft drinks, needs to be based on evidence rather than the commercial desires of opaque vested interests.”

Mr Powell says Snowdon’s arguments on diet and obesity have been comprehensively demolished over the years, including in video interviews and articles such as these: http://blogs.channel4.com/tom-clarke-on-science/obesity-crisis-sorting-fat-fiction/1221 andhttp://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/30/child-poverty-link-malnutrition-rickets.

He also noted that despite numerous calls to do so, the organisation Christopher Snowdon works for, the UK Institute of Economic Affairs, has consistently failed to reveal its funders. This is despite evidence of its support from the tobacco industry which has been revealed in that industry’s internal documents: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)60480-3/fulltext.

“Mr Snowden is little more than a front for vested business interests seeking to make profits by increasing poor health,” says Mr Powell. “We have enough ‘Dirty Politics’ in New Zealand already without being subjected to the bile of one of their English imports.”

ENDS

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