Because of some silly treaty . . .

14/07/2009

Can you pick and choose which parts of a treaty you abide by and which you don’t after you’ve signed it?

If you want to be trusted, as a country and government, I don’t think so without further negotiations. Sue Kedgley has another view:

. . . but she says we have to go ahead because of some silly treaty with Australia, . . .

She was referring to Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson during the Q & A discussion on adding folic acid to bread.

The possible risks of adding folic acid to everyone’s diet have been highlighted.  This post by Macdoctor  puts another side to the story and Otago University specialist in human nutrician, Professor Murray Skeaff says there’s no evidence adding folate to bread will increase the risk of cancer.

However, the opposition is likely to be based at least as much on emotion as science.

Regardless of the emotion and science there is also opposition to mass medication in general. I have a great deal of sympathy with that view, especially when it is aimed at a very small percentage of the population – women who are pregnant or about to be.

If taking extra folic acid can prevent birth defects it should be encouraged, but education for those who need it rather than medication of us all would be my preferred strategy.

I hope Wilkinson does everything she can to at least delay the compulsorary addition of folic acid to our bread.

However, if New Zealand signed a treaty with Australia, that may not be easy because we can’t just pick and choose which bits of a treaty we adhere to, even if it was a previous government which signed it.

If there’s a problem with its effect, there’s a process the government will have to go through to resolve it.

Disregarding the treaty because it’s “silly” isn’t an option because that would call into question New Zealand’s commitment to every other treaty it has signed.


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