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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Nazism in Epsom

Taxing "unhealthy" people. Nothing like a bit of Nazi Party-style thinking from a senior National Party MP for your Saturday reading enjoyment. Richard Worth seems to think this is a good idea:
Gareth Morgan the well known economist has proposed for serious consideration in the face of such exponential escalation in demand for public health services that policy should be designed to actively encourage healthy living.

He cites obesity as a good example of a self-inflicted medical condition "fat people get that way because they eat too much, exercise too little and eat the wrong stuff - in that order".

He notes that obese adults are either taxpayers or benefit recipients and proposes a tax break for the non-fat.

The Government could publish a range of tolerance for body mass index and those who fall within that over the year (certified say, six monthly, rather like a vehicle inspection certificate for a car), would qualify for a lower rate of personal tax (higher rate of benefit). Those who failed would incur the full tax rate.
How about we tax white people for getting sunburnt (it makes them more prone to skin cancer!). Or how about we tax asthmatics for having asthma attacks (thus wasting time better spent on more useful economic activity).

A pre-emptive strike is called for.

Worth's email address is: richard.worth@national.org.nz

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 11/19/2005 01:19:00 PM

13 Comments:

Blogger darren said...

Worthless spoke like a true nanny-state socialist.
No wonder he got support from the Liar-bour party.

11/19/2005 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger JamesP said...

It's hard to believe this genius lost one of the safest seats in the country. No, wait, it isn't...

11/19/2005 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

It's just a pity about these "list" things which subvert the will of the people.

11/19/2005 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Oh. My. God.

This really reads like satire, you know.

11/19/2005 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

Lets tax assholes.

We can use the assholeometer that Gareth Morgan just scored a "Michael Moore" on.

It don't get much more asshole than that.

11/19/2005 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Aaron Bhatnagar said...

Disturbingly, Rodney Hide has scored an own goal in the process by criticising the rather common sense suggestion that Worth made in his same newsletter that parks and streetscapes should be designed with safety in mind.

Now, I don't agree with obesity taxes, but equally, why is the ACT party opposed to councils designing safer parks through design? If obesity taxes is "Nazi-style thinking", then equally the ACT Party is in favour of anarchism.

11/19/2005 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Well I agree the Auckland City Council should be aiming to design safer parks. Some of theirs are bloody awful, and no woman in her right mind would walk through them alone during the evening.

The park in Grey Lynn is a disgrace. I haven't seen a worse park anywhere in New Zealand.

11/19/2005 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Psycho Milt said...

Maybe Rodney's visited Palmerston North, where the council decided in the interests of "safety" to remove all the vegetation from the Square and turn it into an attractive space that looks more like it should be surrounded by razorwire and watchtowers. "Park" isn't quite the right word for such spaces. I'd have preferred the council to make it safer by ejecting the lowlifes rather than the trees, but what would I know, I'm just a ratepayer.

And if you have kids, their "safe" playgrounds are utterly depressing, especially if you remember the "dangerous" playgrounds of 30-40 years ago. PN still has one with stuff in it that puts entertainment ahead of ensuring a risk-free environment, but it's old and eventually will be replaced with one of those modular fun-free shitheaps. Hopefully my kids will be teenagers by then.

I wouldn't call it Nazi-style thinking, just stupid thinking.

11/19/2005 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger JamesP said...

Aaron - In your rush to put the boot into Rodney you seem to have completely missed his point. Rodney did not oppose applying "common sense" to park design, on the contrary, I suspect he would be all for it.

What he said is that he is against creating prescriptive planning regulations for things like fences and brighter lights. Such regulations would either be so vague as to be meaningless or quite draconian. Precisely bright will park lights have to be at a given distance? How will you draft the park fence laws so they don't become a notorious pain in the ass like the pool fence laws have become? Far from encouraging common sense such regulations would stifle it and create unnecessary planning and enforcement costs.

11/19/2005 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Aaron Bhatnagar said...

James, Crime Prevention Through Environment Design (CPTED) is not a by-law or law that forces the council to implement rules, but a policy that requires those who design parks and streetscapes to be mindful of these matters. Designing a park so that lights are in certain places and that there aren't places for thugs to lurk in the dark are good things that are derived from policy decisons. I think Hide shot his mouth off without actually realising what CPTED actually was.

Or maybe I should say - Hide shot his mouth off to criticise Richard Worth without checking all of his facts.

11/19/2005 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

PM: Well the Nazism comment was aimed at the fat tax idea. Of course the alcohol and tobacco taxes have already been implemented.

11/19/2005 11:41:00 PM  
Blogger Psycho Milt said...

Yes, they could call it the Volkskraft-durch-freude tax. I don't know what everyone's got against fat people - I guess they figure if you're ugly or stupid, those are sort of self-punishing, but punishing fatness requires a little assistance from the govt. It's a slippery slope - if they get away with that, I'm going to end up with sleepness nights worrying about the inevitable bad haircut and unfortunate facial hair taxes...

11/20/2005 12:02:00 AM  
Blogger JamesP said...

Not being involved in local government (thank God ;) I'll yield to your knowledge about CPTED. However, I find it amusing that someone would a hire a park designer who needs a bureaucrat to remind him that, just maybe, providing adequate lighting would be a wise idea.

I also note that you and Rodney seem to be in broad agreement on the two issues:
1) That you don't need prescriptive regulations to design good parks.
2) Taxing people based on their weight is a dumb idea.

So dumb IMO that even an encyclopaedic knowledge of CPTED (unmentioned by Worth or by you until now) would not redeem the person who held it.

As for regulating publicly owned property. I don't have a problem with it conceptually but in practise there are the costs of creating, complying, and enforcing those regulations. All of which ends up coming out of our pockets through rates. So we the ratepayers do have a right to ask if the regulations are going to be value for money or just a make work scheme for some pencil pusher.

Indeed, there may not be a single person in Epsom who would oppose making parks safer. But the difficult question is how much safer should they be and how much people are willing to pay for it?

ps. Go the ABs!

11/20/2005 01:34:00 AM  

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