3 May 2006
Green Party MP Sue Kedgley, chair of the Health Select Committee, says fears raised that a decision has already been made on the outcome of the upcoming Obesity Inquiry are completely unfounded.
"The whole committee will listen with an open mind to all of the submissions relating to advertising and other issues related to the inquiry," she says.
The issue arose after Ms Kedgley was misquoted in a recent Sunday Star Times article that could have called into question the impartiality of the Health Select Committee.
The Communication Agencies Association of New Zealand has raised concerns in a press release.
Ms Kedgley clarified that she was rung by a reporter last week and asked about proposals in Australia by the food and marketing industry there to prohibit the use of personalities of promotional toys.
She told the reporter that this was an issue that could well be raised during the upcoming Inquiry into Obesity because the whole issue of marketing to children was likely to be discussed.
Ms Kedgley says she was horrified to read the story that subsequently appeared, which claimed that "MPs are considering tough new regulations on food advertising aimed at children that would ban McDonald's Happy Meals".
"This is a totally untrue statement. That is absolutely not what I said and this has been acknowledged by the paper," Ms Kedgley says.
"The Health Select Committee has not even received copies of our submissions about the inquiry, let alone begun any consideration of any proposals or regulations relating to food advertising to children that would result in Happy Meals being banned."
Ms Kedgley says she is not seeking to influence the committee towards a certain predetermined outcome.
While she had personal opinions about the issue of obesity and how it might be addressed, as other committee members had, the whole committee would listen with an open mind to all of the submissions relating to advertising and other issues related to the inquiry.