Monday 27 February 2023

Daft idea of the day

Without anyone planning it, Paris gets fed. And so does Auckland.

Not good enough for some people. 

There's demand for a national food strategy. 

It seems completely unnecessary. And ludicrous. 

If you think that poor people cannot afford nice things, there are a couple useful things you can do. Most substantially, finally fixing housing would bring down living costs. But if that didn't solve things entirely, giving poor people money lets them decide what to do with it - without screwing up the rest of the food system. 

Just look at this mess. 

This has been the state of the country's food system since the Covid-19 pandemic began, and experts are calling for a national food plan to help increase food security.

So what is a national food plan?

A national food plan is a policy that would guide food-related decisions and actions in the country.

It is an approach to understanding and addressing issues within food systems and a plan for making decisions around food.

Who would make the national food plan?

Iain Lees-Galloway of Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance (AFRA) said ideally a food plan would be developed by all stakeholders including producers, manufacturers, retailers, food rescue and relief organisations, welfare organisations, environmental organisations, and others.

“They can bring all the various interests together and have the power to see it implemented,” he said.

It would then be led by the Government.

"Increasing food security and reducing food waste should be just as important as growing the value of our food industry. A food plan could set out that vision and present a roadmap for how we could get there,” he said.

Chief executive of Eat New Zealand, Angela Clifford, said ideally the plan would embrace treaty obligations and reflect te ao Māori.

“It should be co-designed by all participants in the food system including farmers, fishers and eaters. It should be run by a collaboration between government, industry and community.”

Go back and count the buzzwords. Then go back and tell me if you can figure out what precisely they're proposing. The buzzword-to-actual-content ratio is infinite. Not a good sign. 

I'm just glad it's being proposed now rather than last year.

A year ago, Ardern would have appointed Rob Campbell to Chair the thing before anyone had worked out details.

Now, the Hipkins-led government's trying to get rid of some of the costly unworkable stuff Ardern loaded them with and won't be keen to take on new nonsense. 

But how much would setting this up cost taxpayers?

This really depended on the final design of the plan, Clifford said.

“The real question is the cost of not implementing a plan. The current situation leaves us hungry, unwell and ecologically diminished. That’s its true cost.

“All it takes is government will and re-alignment towards our domestic food system. Given it’s an election year I would fully expect political parties to have a food security plan as part of their offering to voters. Hungry people do not make happy citizens.”

All it takes is government will, people. And clicking its heels together three times while wishing really really hard.  


  1. Wellington City Council of course is on to it

    1. I reckon this is a great idea!
      It worked so well for the Soviets and the Chinese during the 20th century. Centrally planned supply & demand of food always wins over the corrupt invisible hand of evil capitalism. And having a central plan will also overcome the inherent racism that capitalism always brings.