The ultimate nanny state bill is being pushed through Parliament, having survived select committee. And the Greens say:I may be missing something, but what is strange about the fact that governments have powers to deal with the problems caused by communicable diseases but little power to respond to non-communicable diseases. After all the diseases are .... well .... non-communicable.The Green Party said the bill would mean the health minister could issue regulations to reduce the risk associated with non-communicable disease.
“Given that poor diet is the leading cause of preventable illness and disease, it is vital that we take steps to create an environment which encourages healthy eating in New Zealand.”
The party said it was strange that there were virtually unlimited powers to prevent communicable diseases but little to prevent or respond to non-communicable diseases.
Aren't the powers the government has there precisely because the diseases are communicable, that is they could have large negative externalities associated with them. What are the negative externalities of non-communicable diseases? You having bubonic plague could affect me in a very direct and obvious way, without me knowing, until it's too late. So I may want the government to be able to take action to prevent you giving me the plague. But you are eating a "poor diet", how does that affect me? What, exactly, is the negative externality here?