Good questions about health costs and equality

September 21, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

Alf has done a lot of thinking about our health system, while his broken bones mend.

He’s not alone and is delighted to learn from his latest dip into the New York Times that a bloke he admires, N. Gregory Mankiw, has been thinking about it too.

Mankiw is a professor of economics at Harvard and was an adviser to President George W. Bush.

Mankiw, of course, has focussed on the American health system. It might differ from ours in many fundamental respects, but the underlying principles are the same.

And at the end of the day, health services are expensive.
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Overcoming work stress with a noggin

August 5, 2009

A case just settled by the Employment Relations Authority, an outfit responsible for some daft decisions on occasion, this time has Alf in two minds.

The authority has decided Resene Paints was justified in firing an underperforming worker, who was too ill to come to work but was able to spend two afternoons a week in the pub.

Paul Woodhead, who was employed for 15 years as a colour matcher in the Hutt Valley paint factory, claimed he was unjustifiably given final warnings and dismissed last year.

However, ERA member Gregory Wood determined his dismissal was justified and was what a fair and reasonable employer would have done.

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Macdoctor keeps up the heat on frozen peas

April 7, 2009

While the Greens remain quiet, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority’s compliance and investigation director Geoff Allen has had something to say about the contamination of Talley’s frozen peas with black nightshade (which apparently grows among peas as a weed).

Allen said Talley’s told him yesterday that the contamination had occurred after an unusually bad spate of nightshade in the 2007-2008 harvest.

The company withdrew several products in February after the contamination was noticed, he said. It had also traced the source of the nightshade to two growers and was increasing oversight before harvesting.

The same story at Stuff says:

Talley’s spokesman Robert Darragh said he believed the recent complaints were from consumers who had stored products recalled in February.

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Consumers urged to give Talley’s the cold shoulder

April 7, 2009

Top marks to Macdoctor for calling on consumers to take direct action, in response to reports that the Talley’s food company is tightening its processes (but not recalling its product) after nightshade berries were discovered among packets of frozen vegetables.

The South Island company received complaints over recent weeks from consumers who found the current-like black nightshade berries in their food.

Macdoctor is urging consumers not to buy Talley’s products again until the company

1. Informs the public where the problem was and how they fixed it.

2. Apologises for it’s lackadaisical attitude.

If we can’t have regulatory muscle applied, there is still consumer power.

Other blogs are invited to pass this on to their readers:

The Greens, however, seem curiously oblivious to the issue. Too busy fighting fat, perhaps.
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Data that drives one to drink

March 2, 2009

A posting at Macdoctor headed “Drinking Your Way to Cancer” initially came as a disagreeable surprise.

Based on a report in The Press, it tells of a recent British study using a cohort of a million women which found that even a small amount of alcohol can increase your chances of getting cancer.

Alf was relieved – momentarily – he’s a bloke.

But he spluttered on his pint on learning –

Apparently the wierdos at the World Health Organisation have classified alcohol as a class 1 carcinogen along with asbestos, formaldehyde, mustard gas and plutonium-239.
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