Buzz from the Beehive – or (unwittingly) is the way being paved for booze in schools to boost kids’ health and wellbeing?

The news from the Beehive has been mixed on the trade front – greater trade liberalisation with China was welcomed by Trade Minister Damien O’Connor but was countered by his announcement (alongside Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta) of significant new sanctions against Russia.

It’s a good thing our trade with China is much greater than our trade with Russia.

But the government’s general inclination to regulate rather than liberalise is reflected in its signalling a Nanny State crackdown on what our kids can drink.

It has opened a public consultation on a proposal for primary schools to offer only “healthy” drinks.  We trust they know what they are doing with this one.

We say this because alcoholic drinks are good for our health, according to some websites checked out by Point of Order. Consumption must be moderate, true, but that should apply to whatever our kids eat and drink.

Hence we look forward to our toddlers toasting each other with a cheery “good health” before they sink their daily toddies. 

Health was a consideration in another statement.  From today, young people aged 16 and 17 can receive a free booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months after completing their primary course.

The health of the planet came into play when Transport Minister Michael Wood announced the Clean Car rebate scheme has exceeded expectations by already reaching 12,000 approved rebates.

And a project to restore the health of Porirua Harbour has received a boost from the Jobs for Nature programme.  Porirua City Council, Ngāti Toa and Sustainable Coastlines will receive $3 million over five years towards their “Restoring the mauri of the Porirua Harbour” project.

So who will be measuring the mauri and what measure will he, she or they be using?

The only other fresh announcement – this one from the PM – was that the Tauranga by-election will be held on Saturday 18 June.

The Upgrade to New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement with China, which came into effect today, will further accelerate New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19, Damien O’Connor announced.

But he somewhat understated things when he said:

“China continues to be an important market for New Zealand, with goods and services exports reaching $21.5 billion in 2021.”

Important?  Or has it become vital?

It accounted for 32 per cent of this country’s merchandise trade exports last year.

You can find out more about the China FTA Upgrade and how it will benefit New Zealand businesses on the MFAT website.

On the other side of the trade liberalisation lark, the Government will apply 35% tariffs to all imports from Russia, and extend the existing export prohibitions to industrial products closely connected to strategic Russian industries. This was described as New Zealand’s most significant economic response to the Russian invasion to date.

Regulations will be prepared to give effect to these policy decisions, to enable them to enter into force from 25 April.

Further information on sanctions taken under the Russia Sanctions Act 2022 can be found on the MFAT website: www.mfat.govt.nz/Russia-Sanctions

We suppose this means we can rule out Russian vodka being considered a healthy product fit for serving in our schools.

Announcing the public consultation has opened on a proposal for primary schools to offer  only healthy drinks, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins said:

“We know that if kids eat and drink well, there are a myriad of benefits and good outcomes for learning,” Chris Hipkins said. 

“While some schools have already seen these results and chosen to put their own healthy drinks policies in place, we want to hear what people think about whether we can replicate those benefits across all primary schools and for all young people, parents and teachers.”

Hipkins mentioned research which shows that dental decay is now the most common disease reported among children in New Zealand, and rates of obesity among children increased significantly between September 2020 and August 2021.

Further, sugar-sweetened beverages account for more than a quarter of children’s sugar intake in New Zealand.

“The Government wants to ask what people think about all primary schools offering only healthy drinks, these being water, milk and non-dairy milk alternatives, to their students,” Chris Hipkins said.

And:

“Promoting healthy food and drink in schools is common practice in other OECD countries. Evidence also shows the earlier in a child’s development that healthy habits can be encouraged, the better.”

The consultation document is here.

Point of Order is considering a submission which will reference information about the health benefits of booze.

Red wine has been part of social, religious, and cultural events for hundreds of years. Medieval monasteries believed that their monks lived longer partly because of their regular, moderate drinking of wine.

In recent years, science has indicated that there could be truth in these claims.

And:

Red wine contains powerful antioxidants, and many sources claim that drinking it has health benefits. What does the research say?

Researchers have studied wine — especially red wine — extensively for its possible health benefits.

This article looks at the evidence behind the benefits of red wine, along with health warnings, and discusses whether people should drink it.

Many studies have shown a positive link between moderate red wine drinking and good heart health.

Among them, a 2019 study reported that drinking red wine is linked with a lower risk of coronary heart disease, which is a leading cause of disease and death in the United States.

The authors concluded that red wine might have cardioprotective effects.

True, the American Heart Association  says such studies do not show cause-and-effect relationships and other factors may play a role.  For example, people who drink red wine in moderation may also follow a more healthful lifestyle or a Mediterranean diet.

Then there’s gut health.

2018 study reports that polyphenols from red wine and grapes can improve the gut microbiota, contributing to a healthy gut.

According to 2012 study, red wine compounds may also act as prebiotics, which are compounds that boost healthy gut bacteria.

In 2016, researchers suggested red wine could reduce the risk of heart disease through its effects on the gut microbiome.

In this case, we are advised the research is limited, and doctors need more evidence before understanding the true effects of red wine on gut health.

This article says that if you’re in good shape, moderate drinking makes you 25% to 40% less likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or hardened arteries.

This may be in part because small amounts of alcohol can raise your HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels.

And:

Moderate drinkers are far more likely to exercise than people who don’t drink. And they may even get more healthy effects from it. On the flip side, the more you exercise, the more likely you are to drink now and then. Scientists don’t know exactly where this link comes from.

And:

Regular moderate drinkers are less likely to get kidney stones — 41% less likely for those who drink beer, 33% for wine drinkers. Part of the reason may be that alcohol, like caffeine in coffee and tea, makes you pee more often. That helps clear out the tiny crystals that form stones. Drink too much, though, and you can get dehydrated, and that increases your risk of kidney stones along with other health problems.

On the other hand, let’s note there are negative effects from drinking milk (which is being approved as a healthy product for our school kids under the government’s proposals).

Healthline reports, for example, that some experts estimate up to 5 per cent of children have a milk allergy  It can cause skin reactions, such as eczema, and gut symptoms, such as:

Other serious reactions include:

No, we don’t argue that this means milk should be banned in schools.   We think parents should decide what their kids can eat or drink.

That goes for all foods and drinks.

Latest from the Beehive

China Free Trade Upgrade further bosts economic recovery

The Upgrade to New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement with China entered into force today, further accelerating New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19, Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor announced.

Clean Car Scheme races past 12,000 rebate milestone

Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today that the Clean Car rebate scheme has exceeded expectations by already reaching 12,000 approved rebates.

Jobs for Nature to help restore Porirua Harbour

A project to restore the health of Porirua Harbour has received a significant boost from the Jobs for Nature initiative.

Consultation opens on having only healthy drinks in primary schools

Public consultation has opened on a proposal for primary schools to only offer healthy drinks, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins announced today.

Tauranga by-election date announced

The Tauranga by-election will be held on Saturday 18 June, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.

New Zealand to apply trade sanctions in response to Russian atrocities

As part of the Government’s ongoing response to the conflict in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor have announced significant new sanctions against Russia.

Young people aged 16 and 17 eligible for COVID-19 boosters

From tomorrow, young people aged 16 and 17 can receive a free booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months after completing their primary course.

One thought on “Buzz from the Beehive – or (unwittingly) is the way being paved for booze in schools to boost kids’ health and wellbeing?

  1. This site has become as farcical as the source of its information. If anyone was to watch todays Question Time they would know what I mean. The substitute Speaker was right up there with the competence of Mallard and his rulings were completely incoherent. How about some maturity be injected into the centre of government. The performance of Williams, Robertson, Faafoi,Ruhawe and Hipkins was a demonstration of incompetence, obfuscation and complete lack of knowledge around their portfolios, and in the case of Hipkins an laughable attempt at bullying.

    Like

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