Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Let Them Drink Milk"

Earlier this evening, 3 news ran a story about the rising cost and reduced consumption of milk by our Nation's youth. Noting the vital role the substance in question plays as a source of calcium for Kiwi kids, and in a rare feat of critical journalism, they asked the Health Minister Tony Ryall what he thought of the issue. His response?

"What children eat and drink is an issue for their parents and families."

Now I could have some fun with this axiom and take it to its logical conclusion - that beer and malnourishment are apparently acceptable parts of a Kiwi upbringing ... but I won't. The health of our kids is far too serious a matter for the frivolity habitual of the Minister of Silly Ties. What I will note is that it's rather odd to see a Health Minister taking such a hands-off approach to the nutrition of our youth. Effectively, Ryall has decided to cast this as an issue of choice and pass the buck on to families. What he ignores is that the prohibitive cost of milk renders this an issue of choice only for those who can afford it.

With this in mind, I'm reminded of another bold axiom delivered by a failed public figure on her way out. When informed that her people were starving, Marie Antoinette allegedly proposed to "Let them eat cake!"

It genuinely saddens me to see a Kiwi staple (and, after all, what's more Kiwi than milk?) priced out of reach of ordinary consumers. There have been calls from some quarters to rectify the nutritional issue by bringing back milk in schools. It needn't be so complex. Why don't we start by taking GST off Milk. And continue by finding a Health Minister less prone to 'bovine scatology' who actually gives a damn about the health of some of his most vulnerable charges.

1 comment:

  1. Well done Curwen an excellent article as always you go above and beyond expectations with your informative and straight forward blogging,Keep it up Mate!