Medical decision not political

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has given permission for a teenager in an induced coma to be given medical marijuana. 

Nineteen-year-old Alex Renton, from Nelson, is in Wellington Hospital suffering from refractory status epilepticus, which causes him to suffer from repeated seizures.pticus, which causes him to suffer from repeated seizures.

 It is  not known what is causing them but it is believed his body’s immune system is turning against itself.

Capital and Coast District Health Board applied to the Ministry of Health and Mr Dunne to use Elixinol, a cannabis-based product from the US which had been shown to relieve some forms of epilepsy.

Mr Dunne today said he was approving its use for Mr Renton on compassionate grounds.

“Despite the absence of clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of [the drug] in patients with Mr Renton’s condition, status epilepticus, my decision relies on the dire circumstances and extreme severity of Mr Renton’s individual case,” Mr Dunne said. . . . 

Shouldn’t a decision on medicine be a medical one not a political one?


23 Responses to Medical decision not political

  1. Andrei says:

    For politicians everything is political

    With drugs we also get entangled with puritanical Calvinism – thus a medicine that makes you feel happier or even euphoric is treated with suspicion but if it makes you nauseus then it will be the treatment of choice (or so it seems to me). Medicine is supposed to be nasty.

    The illegalization of cannabis was one of the great mistakes of the past IMHO – it wasn’t done for noble reasons.

    Another interesting one is coca leaves – used as a stimulant in South America for hundreds of years and no more dangerous than coffee (legal) – but with chemistry they can be used to manufacture Cocaine the drug of choice for rich and famous party animals in the first world who from time to time drop dead through over indulgence.

    So the “war on drugs” has brought mayhem to South America, paricularly Columbia

    Interestingly enough the current President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, was a coca farmer, he grew it for domestic consumption where it is chewed. Evo Morales is on the US State Departments naughty boy list – they famously forced his plane to land in Austria, in violation of all diplomatic norms and rules because they thought he had Edward Snowden aboard. He didn’t!

    One day we will explore the blind alley that is prohibition, the banning of things because they are supposedly bad for you in an open manner and perhaps then we ameliorate the harm that drugs do, to the user and to society at large


  2. macdoctor01 says:

    There are a number of well-established medical uses for cannabis (of which, treating status epilepticus is not one). The fact that we have a useful drug denied us purely out of political considerations is nothing short of criminal.


  3. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Shouldn’t a decision on medicine be a medical one not a political one?”

    I fully agree and the same approach should be applied to education and the environment. Most decisions should be based on evidence, not ideology.


  4. Andrei says:

    Most decisions should be based on evidence, not ideology

    Alas Dave Kennedy ideology is used to “fix” the evidence.

    The Greens are notorious for doing this but then again so are the free market predatory capitalists


  5. Dave Kennedy says:

    Examples, Andrei?

    If you look at our major policies they are underpinned by research and successful examples, many I have linked to in discussions here previously.

    Click to access schools_at_the_heart_1.pdf

    Check out the long list of source documents at the end.


  6. Paranormal says:

    DK said – “Examples. Andrei” – are you serious?????

    Look no further than your precious climate change, Global Warming, or whatever you’ve decided to call it this time. Whatever did happen to that pesky medieval warming period again? Climategate shed the light on that one for those that weren’t that interested in the science to realise it is a scam.

    As for education, manufacturing evidence is not new here. Just look how you breathlessly recently commented “40% of charter schools” had failed [to provide their report].


  7. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, you are a loyal soldier for failed causes. Only ACT still don’t believe the science around climate change, and as for two of the five Charter Schools that couldn’t provide evidence of success, perhaps you can provide this for me 😉


  8. Andrei says:

    The only “failed cause” is “the science is settled” propaganda on “climate change”.

    Years ago now I worked on a project monitoring the temperature of heavy oils in pipelines with expensive sensors and they were only accurate to +/- 0.5°C which was good enough for the purpose. (Warming the oil was necessary to maintain flow)

    But as time went on they became more inaccurate of course

    The thing is you expect us to believe that the earth has warmed just a little more 0.7°C over 100 years based on averages from a selected sub set of temperature records taken at different times and places by different people with different measuring equipment , each reading at the very best having a margin of error of +/- 0. 2°C and of course in most cases probably +/- 1°C or more

    And I say phooey – measuring temperatures accurately is very very hard. Measuring it for the whole planet with thermometers, intractable!

    I do believe the earth has warmed over the past 100 years and I know that over any century long period the earth will be revealed to have either warmed or cooled during that time that is if you could measure it because the earth is always changing and always will regardless of what we do or don’t do.

    Whatever the “true” value for the Earths warming is it is so small as to be swamped by the errors in its measurement and calculation and thats a fact

    If this wasn’t so there would be no debate just like there is no debate about whether the Sun rises in the East or the Moon orbits the Earth approximately every 27.3 days


  9. Dave Kennedy says:

    Andrei, given the decades of research on climate change, the fact that all international science institutions are on the same page and at least 95% of scientists in agreement, I think you are part of a tiny minority. Even Shell Oil openly accepts the science.


  10. Andrei says:

    the fact that all international science institutions are on the same page and at least 95% of scientists in agreement, I think you are part of a tiny minority

    That is not science Dave Kennedy, that is politics, P-O-L-I-T-I-C-S.

    It is offering a pinch of incense at the altar of the Imperial Gods to show your loyalty to those who hold the purse strings.

    It is the very thing this post is lamenting in regard to medicine


  11. Paranormal says:

    Too right Andrei, it’s politics not science DK is pushing. And pushing it uphill as more and more data stacks up proving that the science is definitely not settled:
    What is sad is the lengths they are going to to avoid the truth that there is no Gorebull warming.

    DK as for evidence – you can’t beat this:
    And that is why you and your union buddies will do anything to denigrate success. It shows you up as the one size fits all failures that our state school system has become – where ideology trumps education for ALL students. You should be ashamed of yourself, Instead you repeat the dogma in the face of success.

    If even State Radio are changing their tune and providing balance could it be that you are, yet again, on the wrong side of this issue?


  12. Mr E says:

    I’ve been reading for a while – not motivated to comment until this little gem slipped in.

    “Paranormal, you are a loyal soldier for failed causes”

    A comment Dave made during a climate change discussion.

    Let me tell you something Dave, you have lobbied to gain political support using Climate change as a motivation, an attraction for voters to follow you. At the last election you gain no extra support, despite the local incumbent, exiting and a new relatively unknown entering the fold.

    Your Green party has lobbied for support using climate change as a motivation, an attraction for voters to follow them. At the last election they gained no extra votes.

    You and your party has failed its cause, I cannot see it any other way.

    During Paranormal’s time criticising climate change science, changes of that the Labour government made have been undone and largely the tax payer is under less pressure as a result.

    I’d say Paranormal is on a winning cause, and it is you who is failing Dave.

    I think you need to go back to basics and rethink the issue Dave.


  13. JC says:

    Seven and a half million people with internet access aren’t wrong about the importance of things.. climate change is still dead last on the list of concerns.



  14. Dave Kennedy says:

    Sorry guys, I don’t follow the logic of your argument. Most of the institutions that question the science around climate change are political ones and many funded heavily by the oil industry. We have established this in past discussions when all you can produce in opposition is random websites and discredited organisations like the Heartland Institute. If Lord Monckton is one of your most prominent international spokespeople, it should ring alarm bells. Your claim that the Royal Society, NASA and NIWA are politically motivated is clearly nonsense.

    What has delayed understanding from voters is amount of air time given to a minority of deniers. I think deniers is the best word to use now because no honest skeptic could assess the huge mass of science supporting the man made effects on our climate and not be convinced there is cause for concern.

    Mr E, if climate change is a failed cause why are all governments in agreement that it is a reality and why the meeting in Paris? This Government talks about saving taxpayer money by doing less when the reality is that our growth in emissions will cause us to have a multibillion dollar debt because of it. Treasury (hardly a left wing conspiracy group) has estimated that inaction will cost us from $3 billion to $52 billion between 2021-2030. The document printed by the Government to support the climate change consultation meetings put forward the same concerns I have described here, are you telling me that this document is full of lies?

    The reason the Greens are not in Government at the moment is nothing to do with climate policy but about perceptions about whether there was a realistic alternative to National. We both know that Labour was dysfunctional, Internet/Mana did not create an attractive image and the dirty politics/Dotcom stuff sucked up airspace that would normally have focussed on policy. In that toxic environment the Green Party got its best result ever: we raised more money than Labour, increased our membership by more than 1,000, retained the same number of MPs while increasing our total vote by over 10,000. This was achieved will little chance to promote our policies in the MSM.

    I am attending the Asia Pacific Green Federation Congress this weekend. Green Parties around the world are growing in support because more and more people realise that we must move to more sustainable ways of operating. Climate change will take up a good part of this meeting.

    Interestingly the global green movement was inspired by New Zealand’s Values Party and the hugely influential manifesto “Beyond Tomorrow” this document was widely distributed around the world. You may be interested in the history of our party as described in the editorial of our magazine that I co-edit:

    Click to access te_awa_-_may_2015.pdf


  15. Mr E says:

    “The reason the Greens are not in Government at the moment is nothing to do with climate policy”

    This is the reason why I think the Greens will fail to gain more support. They are in complete denial about their own failings instead blaming Labour, and the internet party.

    It is very disheartening for me to watch. The arrogance of such behaviours, the head in the sand, when it comes to the sheer reality that many people just don’t like the Greens policies. I think it is that simple.

    The reason why I am disheartened in quite simply, the waste of tax payers money. It seems the Greens have relegated themselves to more of the same, and I think that it will simply be just a waste of money.

    As a voter and a tax payer I call for the Greens to rethink and stop what appears to me to be such arrogant behaviour.


  16. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, during the campaign I found that most people I talked to were impressed with our policies, they liked the increased spending in R&D, they thought the school hub policy made practical sense, they liked our focus on IT and the potential of 3D printing and the Tax Payers Union praised our carbon tax policy which allowed us to be the only party offering a tax cut. Many people loved the idea of our new born baby pack that would set up many struggling young mothers in a practical way.

    I wonder what campaign policies we announced that you think were problematic with voters? National gets voted in regardless of their policies (most people hated the asset sales) and the brand ‘John Key’ largely carried the party through.

    Sadly John Key gets more public exposure in MSM than the Greens can and his distorted presentation of our policies probably got out to more people than our own version. I heard him speak in public forums and it was mainly about what the Greens would supposedly do (he obviously saw us as his main competition).

    Mr E, the arrogance is all National’s, no other Government before (during my lifetime) has had such disregard for democratic processes. A number of respected New Zealanders have been voicing concerns for some time.

    You also seem to be unaware that on a percentage of voter support in 2014 the National Party dropped by a similar percentage as the Greens (there was only a .08% difference between us) and both parties saw an increase in actual voter support.,_2014


  17. Mr E says:

    People vote on policies. You didn’t get the votes you wanted. Keep denying it all you want, and people like me will continue to hold you in contempt for it.


  18. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, got ya 😉

    You didn’t answer my question about the particular policies that didn’t resonate, because it was never about the policies and it is always about general perceptions for most voters.

    You are a politically naive to think it is all about policies for voters and you obviously haven’t been aware of Crosby Textor’s campaign strategies being used by National.

    The Green Party learned long ago that while sound policy is important it is the impression of being fit to govern that resonates most with voters. This is always hard for the Greens as we have never been in Government before and we need to have proven ourselves as safe hands for people to really feel comfortable about voting for us. National succeeds because they have managed to maintain a presidential style campaign where discrediting the Labour leader is largely all they need to do to stay in power (hence brand Key). As I have proven before, people still vote for National regardless of its unpopular policies.

    You are just supporting my argument with your stated contempt for the Greens as it is obviously based on ideology and emotion rather than factual arguments.


  19. Mr E says:

    In response, you pretend to know my mind, it seems more of that arrogance you are becoming famous for. And I have to wonder where the foundation for such attitudes would come from. I would have thought repetitive failures would have lead to humility.

    Prior to the election, I wound up friends by telling them I intended to vote green. At first it was a joke, but it became rather addictive when considering the humorous responses. If only you could have been a fly on the wall Dave.
    My cheeky joke was motivated by curiosity and sometimes provided me the chance to ask why opponents wouldn’t vote green. On nearly every occasion the response was related to policy or policy perceptions.
    The exceptions to these responses, will not be repeated by me, as they were derogatory, offensive, and I guess you’ve heard them before.

    As a side issue I am really disappointed in you. You have promoted a link that is laden with offensive language, carelessly, in public. I expect more thoughtfulness from politicians, including you.


  20. TraceyS says:

    “You also seem to be unaware that on a percentage of voter support in 2014 the National Party dropped by a similar percentage as the Greens (there was only a .08% difference between us) and both parties saw an increase in actual voter support.”

    Yes they did. Let’s look at that in a bit more depth though because this increase in actual voter support was far from equal:

    Between 2011 and 2014 elections National gained 72,863 more votes. Greens gained 9,986.

    Which was the more successful party?

    Between 2011 and 2014 elections voter turnout increased by 321,641 – an increase in participation of 15%. That’s lots more votes up for grabs!

    Who grabbed this increase?

    National grabbed 72,863 votes out of the 321,641 increase in voter turnout – that’s 22.7%.

    Greens grabbed 9,986 votes out of the 321,641 increase in voter turnout – that’s 3.1%.

    Whichever way I look at these numbers it is just impossible see anything really good for the Greens. So I tend to concur with Mr E’s comment “[k]eep denying it all you want, and people like me will continue to hold you in contempt for it” – but with the best of intentions I might add. Self-deception is an unattractive habit for a would-be elected representative.

    “I heard him [John Key] speak in public forums and it was mainly about what the Greens would supposedly do (he obviously saw us as his main competition).”

    Seriously Dave? Or did I just miss the 🙂 ?


  21. TraceyS says:

    “…it was never about the policies and it is always about general perceptions for most voters”

    Only half right.

    It was about the policies of National and the perceptions of the Greens.

    National voters were concerned about Labour/Greens undoing all the good work. There was plenty of evidence to support those concerns. No need to even look at Green policies as I’m certain most voters wouldn’t have.

    You have a real problem I’m afraid.

    Deep down you know I’m right.


  22. Paranormal says:

    Here’s a piece that may help you DK:

    Nicely wraps up everything as well as debunking your 97% deceptions yet again.

    I have looked at Green policy by the way. It’s easy to summarise: Increased tax, unsustainable spending, banning, and meddling in peoples lives. What is surprising is you’re surprised that people didn’t vote for it. Voters aren’t that silly. They can spot tax and spend a mile off.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: