Posts Tagged ‘Murray McCully’

A breath of fresh air

May 30, 2008

New figures from two separate surveys showing smoking among adults at a “record low”, and a downturn in youth smoking, are to be applauded.

According to the Herald report, “smoking kills about 5000 people a year, including nearly 400 deaths attributed to secondhand smoke.” Then there’s the often delibiltating disease. And as The Standard notes, these drops are good news for our quality of life (as any Galbraiths regular can tell you) and productivity too.

Helen Clark has championed many of the legal initiatives that have led to this result. She deserves plaudits, and lots of them.

Former principal medical officer in the Dept of Health, Dr Murray Laugensen, thinks that a likely cause is that “the psychological effect of the smokefree workplaces legislation, which came into effect at the end of 2004, has brought about a change in public attitudes to smoking.”

Of course, such initiatives proved too easy a target for political opponents trading in the rhetoric of the “nanny state” and other right-wing shibboleths, and they denounced such initiatives as infringing important freedoms.

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Right attack health research

May 24, 2008

Political blogger David Farrar posts on Murray McCully’s attack on health research and the increased funding for health research in this week’s Budget.

McCully writes that:

Last year the Health Research Council (HRC) decided to approve a grant of $701,000 to a group of researchers from the Wellington School of Medicine, a branch of Otago University, to study policymaking to reduce smoking around children. The fact that said group of researchers might accurately be described as anti-tobacco activists is underlined by the fact that the application discloses over $1.8 million in grants to members of the group for tobacco-related research over the previous three years.”

Much is made of the research into obstacles in the political process that forms part of this research. Farrar sums up, “this was a $700,000 grant paid to anti-smoking activists for them to research on how they can be more successful activists!!”

McCully’s attempt to cast a shadow over health research funding on the basis of this one grant — and to call this attack “constructive” — is disingenuous and misleading.

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