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Posts Tagged ‘Food and Grocery Council’

Katherine Rich – resign!

16 September 2014 2 comments

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I reprint the following from the Herald, in full, as I believe it tells the story better than I could;

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Wendyl Nissen - Tuning out - Dirty Politics and the blogs

I don’t usually write columns about politics but I’m going to talk about smear campaigns and conflict because it involves me.

As you may know I write a column called Wendyl Wants to Know in the Weekend Herald every Saturday which looks at what is in processed food.

Most of the time the findings are not very good and involve additives or high sugar and salt levels you wouldn’t want near your family. Other times I am pleasantly surprised to find a producer making genuinely healthy food.

Earlier this year I was on the receiving end of a concerted effort, including legal letters, to get me discredited through my bosses at the Herald.

The person behind it was Katherine Rich, the chief executive of the Food & Grocery Council, which represents companies who produce soft drinks and processed foods, some of which I have written about.

According to their website, the “FGC promotes the role the industry plays in the health and nutrition of New Zealanders in making better diet and lifestyle choices”.

The management board includes representation from Nestle, Frucor and Mars NZ. Katherine was objecting to my role in highlighting many of the artificial colours commonly used in soft drinks and processed foods and the fact many had been banned in other countries.

Fortunately I work for editors who dislike bullying and I felt very supported by them. We dealt with the complaints to her satisfaction, I thought.

After that I noticed that right-wing bloggers Whale Oil (Cameron Slater) and Cactus Kate (Cathy Odgers) appeared to have begun a smear campaign against me. I haven’t read any of the blogs but I was alerted to them and their subject matter.

Please do me a favour and don’t go searching on the site for them. I believe they are invented to discredit me and if you click on them you’ll just give them the satisfaction that they are being read.

Since then the book Dirty Politics has been released and there are now allegations that these bloggers were paid money to conduct smear campaigns against people disliked by their clients. One of those clients is alleged to be Katherine Rich.

The regularity of the posts against me makes me think that someone had paid for them. Why else would they bother smearing someone who simply writes a few columns about healthy living when, according to Dirty Politics, they had much bigger fish to fry? I can’t prove this, I can’t say who might have paid for them and I will probably never know.

It has also been revealed that Katherine, while campaigning for the rights of food producers to put unhealthy additives in their food, was also on the government-funded Health Promotion Agency board – an agency designed to work for the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. The conflict of interest is so alarming that a group of 33 scientists and health practitioners signed a letter to John Key asking him to investigate.

I spend every day working for a better life for New Zealanders. I run a business which makes environmentally friendly natural cleaners and I give the recipes away for free; I write a weekly newsletter helping more than 11,000 people discover better, more natural ways to live; I write a column in the Woman’s Weekly with recipes and hints to live a greener life; and in the Herald I try to alert readers to foods which are too high in sugar or salt and contain additives which in many countries are banned for health reasons but are still used here. I wouldn’t have thought that these contributions were reason for a smear campaign.

Last week I resigned from my regular Friday morning slot on NewstalkZB, which I have been doing for 15 years, because I didn’t want to be on the same platform as Cameron Slater, another commentator on the station, while there are allegations that his views involve cash for comment.

I’m all for free speech when there are genuinely held views, but I believe that if you are paid to express them by big industry or politicians with an agenda, that is not fair.

Over the years I have been writing Wendyl Wants to Know for the Herald, I have been offered many incentives to write nice things about processed foods for food producers. I have turned them all down because my readers have to trust me. Objectivity is the first rule of journalism.

A friend said “this can’t be the New Zealand we know”, and I agree. As my husband says, “we need to be on the side of the angels”, and I try very hard to be.

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This blogger adds his voice to calls for Katherine Rich to resign.

Her activities and association with Cameron Slater makes her position on either the Food & Grocery Council or Health Promotion Agency  no longer tenable.

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Additional

TVNZ: Katherine Rich stands firm against calls to resign

NZ Herald: PR men say Dirty Politics claims don’t hurt

Other blogs

The Daily Blog: A brief word on why Wendyl Nissen is a hero

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Latest from Whaledump2 – Jordan Williams and Cameron Slater

10 September 2014 5 comments

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whaledump - whaleoil - jordan williams

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Despite Twitter trying to close down Rawshark/Whaledump2, the hactivist  has released emails between far right loony blogger, Cameron Slater – and lawyer, “Taxpayers Union” organisor, National Party apparatchik, and one of Slater’s cabal – Jordan Williams.

The first email, dated 24 January 2012, shows Williams approaching Slater and making enquiries about his fees;

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cameron slater - jordan williams - potential work (1)

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A thousand a week?!

$20,000 every three months?!

Dayum, cousin Jethro, whodathunk propaganda work could be so lucrative!?

Slater also writes that “some pay with advertising, some with product“.

Does that include Katherine Rich from the Food and Grocery Council paying Slater with as much sugar as he can eat?! As Rich is very much an advocate for maximising profit from unhealthy, sugary foods,

Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich rejects outright the call for a tax on sugar. She says it has been tried overseas in different forms and failed to do more than collect more money from citizens for Governments.

“In the last couple of years some have advocated for sugar taxes while others have called for fat taxes. Add them together and all you get is more expensive food at the supermarket.”

She says tobacco taxes had cut rates of smoking because they were so high.

“Imagine what tobacco-style taxes would do to the price of food. Sugar taxes would seriously adversely affect those on low incomes and hit a lot of popular supermarket items such as jam and honey. Last year the University of Otago put jam and honey on a “Need not” list and received a lot of negative comments from the general public.”

Equally Rich does not favour regulations imposing labelling rules on the food industry. The council has been involved with a new transtasman labelling scheme, which featured a star system. “We’re sure it’s on the right track.”

On The Jackal’s blog, the blogger reports on a previous dump of emails, showing Katherine Rich’s relationship with Whaleoil associate, Carrick Graham. Theirs was  an orchestrated hate-campaign to undermine critics of the  alcohol, tobacco, bad food, and sugary soft drink industries.

As a Radio NZ report stated,

Newly released hacked emails appear to show that Ms Rich was in contact with WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater and public relations executive Carrick Graham who were attacking public health advocates and critics of food companies.

Little wonder that Green MP, Kevin Hague has called for Rich to resign from the government Health Promotion Agency;

“Katherine Rich, Carrick Graham and Cameron Slater have all been involved in a systematic undermining of health promotion in New Zealand. She cannot tenably remain on the board of that organisation.”

Back to the emails. Even Jordan Williams  remarked on the amount that Slater claimed to be raking in from his “clients”;

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cameron slater - jordan williams - potential work (2)

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– though as the response from Slater immediatly following showed, Williams appears none-to-bright when it comes to sending a reply to the correct recipient! *Doh!*

Never mind, Jordan,  a self-deprecating *bugger* covers such stuff -ups;

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cameron slater - jordan williams - potential work (3)

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Now note Slater’s response below, where he refers to Mark Hotchin;

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cameron slater - jordan williams - potential work (4)

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This is obviously a sly reference to one of Slater’s clients – Mark Hotchins – which was referenced in previous Whaledump releases and covered by the msm at length;

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Whale Oil quiet on Hotchin allegations

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Note Patrick Gower’s statement-question;

The key question now is whether the campaign was funded by Mr Hotchin to help him escape charges.

I think that question has been answered – at least in-part.
In other words, when rich white men demand ‘utu’ and want some dirty work done – there are those even in our own quiet, little, ‘corruption free’ country, willing to get their hands dirty.

Reading the email exchange between Williams and Slater, another thought crossed my mind – I hope Slater has declared all his income to the IRD? Even payment “in kind” can be liable to be taxed.

If the IRD decide to sniff around, not all the Key’s Men and Horses will be able to save the Whale from being harpooned for (possible) tax evasion.

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References

Twitter: Whaledump2 – Jordan Williams

NZ Herald: PR men say Dirty Politics claims don’t hurt

NZ Herald: Time to end the weight

Radio NZ: Food council boss won’t resign

TV3: Whale Oil quiet on Hotchin allegations

IRD: Income and expenses

Previous related blogposts

Crony Watch – Katherine Rich

Other blogs

The Jackal: Who is Katherine Rich?

 


 

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Twitter Judith Collins John Key Oravida

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 5 September 2014

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Jobs for the bro’s?

20 November 2011 1 comment

10 September 2011

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Is it me – or does this sound plain wrong

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Full Story

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Why was the position not advertised, as is common practice?

Is this an example of nepotism? (Silly question. Of course it is.)

And at a time when this government has thrown thousands of government workers out of their jobs, and onto the unemployment scrap-heap – how much is this “advisor” job costing the tax-payer?

As an indication, this case might give us an idea,

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Full Story

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And once again, the highly-paid “advisor” involves the English family.

Another case,

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Full Story

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So much for this government “cutting expenditure”. They are sacking ordinary workers – and rehiring “advisors” aid exorbitant amounts of tax-payers’ money?

What on Earth is going on here?

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+++ Update +++

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It appears that the ‘heat’ has gone on Tony Ryall in this matter.  He and his colleagures may have been hoping that Mervyn English’s appointment slipped in “under the radar” – but New Zealand is too small a country for that to happen.

Appointments of family and friends to jobs that are not publicly advertised is never a good look, and it is surprising that the government was silly enough to think they could get away with it. It reeks of corrupt practice.

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19 November 2011

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And yet more of the same…

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Full Story

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Katherine Rich has been appointed to the Health Promotion Agency Establishment Board, which replaces the Alcohol Advisory Council.

The move has outraged advocacy group Alcohol Action. Spokesperson Doug Sellman says Ms Rich has been one of the most vociferous defenders of the alcohol industry.

Professor Sellman says supermarkets normalise alcohol as an ordinary commodity and sell it by the tonne at ultra-cheap prices up to 24 hours a day.Ibid

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The Labour Party agrees the appointment of Katherine Rich is too much a conflict of interest.

Health spokesperson Grant Robertson told Radio New Zealand while he holds Ms Rich personally in high regard, he believes her role with the Food and Grocery Council does clash with being part of such an agency.

“I think the linkage with her role supporting and advocating for the supermarkets is unfortunate and doesn’t sit well with the health promotion role that the future agency will have.”

However, in a written statement on Saturday, Health Minister Tony Ryall says Ms Rich, a former National MP, was appointed for her experience, balance and integrity.” Ibid

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(L-R) National MPs Simon Powell, Katherine Rich, former National leader Don Brash, National MPs Nathan Guy and Gerry Brownlee applaud John Key as he delivers his speech as the New Zealand National Party launch their election campaign at Sky City on October 12, 2008 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Source

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Stacking government and quango roles with party hacks (even if they are talented party hacks) seems to be a time-honoured tradition that National is loathe to depart from.

However, the Radio NZ report does raise an important question regarding her appointment to  the Health Promotion Agency Establishment Board, which replaces the Alcohol Advisory Council.

ALAC was an organisation dedicated to raising awareness of New Zealand’s considerable alcohol related (some say fueled) problems.

2009 BERL report estimated that “$4.437 million of diverted resources and lost welfare” could be directly attributed to alcohol abuse. That $4.4 billion  is reflected in  ACC, hospital admissions, crime, family violence, lost productivity, etc, and places a firm dollar cost on the harm that alcohol abuse is causing NZ society. These are costs we all pay for through ACC levies and taxes spent on medical intervention; policing; and the justice system.

Whilst working for the Food and Grocery Council, Ms Rich was a firm advocate of liberal laws surrounding marketting and retailing of alcohol.,

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) and Alcohol Advisory Council (Alac) strongly backed the recommendations.

Alac chief executive Gerard Vaughan said it set out a clear objective of reducing alcohol-related harm which stretched to structure and role changes for the district licensing agencies responsible for managing liquor licensing in their own communities.

Communities up and down the country were sick of the violence and vandalism that came with drinking and that proposed changes to licencing regimes would help address the problem, Mr Vaughan said.

Nearly 3000 submissions were received by the commission, many of which supported the tightening of laws around alcohol sales, purchasing and consumption.

But NZ Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich said the report reflected “classic nanny state thinking.”

It failed to target those causing the problems and punished everyone, she said. The industry was already one of the most regulated, and more sensible ways to approach existing problems included better enforcement of current rules and better use of legal powers, along with industry-led initiatives.”   Source

New Zealand has a $4 billion-plus problem with alcohol abuse (BERL report) and Katherine Rich dismissed attempts to address this crisis as “classic nanny state thinking“.

Thank you, Ms Rich. It’s nice to know where you stand on social problems that affect us all.

It is worthwhile reflecting that since liquor laws were de-regulated in the mid 1980s (as part of the wave of Rogernomics “reforms”), that 25 years later things have gotten steadily worse. In those 25 years, the free market system has reigned practically unchallenged and unchanged.

Somehow I think “Nanny State” has little to do with it.

Nanny is still nursing a hang-over from the last 25 years.

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Related

A kronically inept government

Community Needs vs Business Demands

New Zealand 2011AD: Drunken Mayhem and a nice Family Day Out

Our ‘inalienable right’ to destroy communities through alcohol abuse

Govt’s consultants’ bill $375m and rising

 

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