Going S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G!

August 22, 2008

Shopping tour with Sue Kedgley, as blogged on g-blog earlier this week:

We’re discussing the food budget, food security issues, and perennials like GE, organics, and safe food issues around battery hens, sow-crates, and food labelling. All while we do a bit of a shop, out in Kilbirnie. (#3 bus route, for those similarly vehicle-challenged!).

And a shout-out to Rongotai Greens, I’d love to see a few of you here, too, as well as at the Bar Edward meet-ups!

[Thanks to Cath McElwaine at Bowen for the spreading the message my way.]

*An invitation to *


Take a tour of a supermarket with me, Sue Kedgley Green MP, where I will answer questions on issues such as:

– how to become a more conscious, ethical consumer

– how to read and understand nutrition labelling

– how to avoid purchasing foods that may contain GE ingredients

– how to identify cruelty free products

– how to purchase locally grown New Zealand products

– additives to avoid

*Thursday 21st August 2008*

*2.00pm to 3.00pm*

*Pak’n’Save Kilbirnie*

*78 Rongotai Road*



Here’s some pix:

Locally grown garlic (not chinese)

Locally grown garlic (not chinese)

Choice quote: “Don’t eat anything that your great-grandmother wouldn’t have recognised as food” !!

Sue discussing nitrates in processed meats

Sue discussing nitrates in processed meats

We found one brand of nitrate-free bacon – which also turned out to be gluten-free, to my benefit. Nope, not tellin ya which brand, go read the labels yourselves! I’m not pushin’ product here…

How much sugar is in that cereal?

How much sugar is in that cereal?

It was scary to compare stuff that seemed pretty healthy, and find out how much sugar, food colouring and other “numbers” were present.
Next choice quote: “If it’s got cartoon animals on it, don’t buy it!”.
Very true, once we checked the nutri-facts.

..and these tomatoes are both grown & packaged in NZ.

..and these tomatoes are both grown & packaged in NZ.

Such a lot of produce only claimed “packaged in New Zealand”.
Few items showed both Country-of-Origin and country-of-packaging on their labelling.

We also discussed factory-farmed animals, notably the poultry industry. I did take a photo, which I later realised might not be prudent to post; so I’ll just repeat some of what Sue said about packaging that leaks, spreading campylobacter around the shelved, wrapped product; and the truly gruesome description that she gave of poultry abbatoirs, whence the bacteria found in the alimentary tract is spread around the rest of the raw chicken, by mechanical rending machinery. It’s an industry standard, like the hormones fed to beef grown for the USA markets, and the prevalence of antibiotics fed to feedlot beef, caged chickens, and sows kept in crates; ‘cos it’s not natural to grow up that crowded, so they get infections easily, so the farmers over-use antibiotics.

Then we roll into the argument about whether antibiotic residues in the foodchain result in antibiotic resistant bacterial strains. Well, I’m sold on it as an argument, but then I’m already allergic to most antibiotics, so I avoid anything that might expose me to another dose.

I’m pretty vego most of the time, but I firmed up my resolve not to eat flesh after that little talk – well, poultry flesh, anyway!!!

Another thing we looked for on labels was “GE-free”, “GMO free”, or organic classification labelling: most Foodstuffs owner-operated stores (NW) have some inclusion of product in these categories, but this was a notable lack in Pak’n’Save, so I have to conclude from that, that individual franchisees of NW tinker their stores’ product lines according to the locality-based competition, rather than any perceived customer expectations of product availability.
I’ll admit that’s a big assumption, but it seemed to be born out by my fruitless search for things that were actually on my personal shopping list. Back to Chaffers’ NW for me, then! And of course, I can’t resist, God defend Commonsense Organics, my oasis of safe, well-labelled, allergen-free food.



This afternoon, Sue Kedgely joined representatives from National (Stephen Franks), Act (Colin du Plessis), the Workers’ Party (Don Franks) and Labour (Grant Robertson), to participate in a forum held at the flat of VUWSA President and Workers’ Party campaigner, Joel Cosgrove. The venue was packed, as many students joined with local residents to hear what the candidates had to say.


Media turned up in sufficient quantities to make manoeuvrability around the room difficult, and cheerfully hogged the open fireplace, a bulwark against the worsening weather which had seen the forum moved inside from the BBQ area.

Media scrum

Media scrum

The candidates began with a short presentation of their campaigns, followed by questions from the floor. Climate change, peak oil, food security and child poverty were all hot-buttons, handled expertly by Sue K, and with varying degrees of crowd heckling by other candidates. Stephen Franks arrived late, and was allowed a quick summary of National policy (“no, don’t stop, tell us everything” one heckler interjected…) before joining the panel responses to the current question from the floor.

Candidates Robertson, du Plessis & Kedgely squish up on the couch

Candidates Robertson, du Plessis & Kedgely squish up on the couch




Due to commitments with another forum, Sue and Grant had to leave promptly, which lead to a more informal discussion as the panel broke up. Die-hards stayed on for more alcohol, a warmed- up lounge, and political gossip, as the rain became unpleasant.

Don Franks and Grant Robertson on the couch.

Don Franks and Grant Robertson on the couch.

Some may know of my previous, badly designed (ok, I’m lazy) blogpage on myspace.

Some may be blissfully ignorant of that.

I’m not posting the link, because this is going to be more of a defined-set-of-issues blog, to go with a couple of campaign blogs some old friends are running during the 2008 electoral campaigns in New Zealand.

So, this will be political, parochial, and heavily biased towards a feminist take on Green policy, and green politics, in that order, with occasional forays into descriptive screeds on direct activism taking part in good ol’ NewZild.

Welcome. It may get prettier as time goes by, since I have some kewl, gen-y friends who are designers. Or not, if my politics turns out to be not something they want to endorse this week.

Meanwhile, have a look at http://greenvoices.wordpress.com/ for the sort of stuff I like!

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