The Curious Case of Banning Blubber

New Zealand media law is a curious thing. Judges issue gag-orders for trials on a routine basis. And newspapers risk legal trouble if they report on a "suicide," calling the death an incident "police are no longer investigating," instead.

This is all by way of saying: there's some curiously vague language in the following story.

Also curious, is the story's claim that the Kiwi government has denied a work visa to an unidentified man because "he" was overweight.

According to the Timaru Herald:

[Immigration New Zealand spokesman Rowan] Saker said it was important to note that obesity would not in itself cause an applicant to fail health screening requirements, and that all migrants to New Zealand must have an acceptable standard of health to minimise costs and demands on New Zealand's health services.

The government's rationale is downright strange, because "he" is given only one signifier in the story: He is a medical doctor:

The Timaru Herald understands the doctor, who is highly respected in his field, has been declined a visa because he has failed a health screening because of his size and in spite of his undoubted medical skills.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) appears concerned at what cost the overweight doctor might have on the health system, something he was coming to the country to help with.

The doctor isn't the only medical professional to get stuck at the arrival gate. Earlier this week, The Press reported that:

A British nurse who weighs 134kg has been told she's too fat to live in New Zealand....

The 51-year-old, who is not named in official documents, argued that her 52 inch waistline was no obstacle to her work as a nurse, which involved 60-hour weeks....

She was offered a job in a home and hospital for the elderly in a provincial town, documents from the country's Residence Review Board said, and applied for residence in March 2008. But officials rejected the argument that 10 years' experience as a nurse meant she should be allowed to live there...

...The certifying doctor recorded "morbid obesity in otherwise well lady''.

Not only is the woman a "well lady," but she–and the doctor–are desperately needed in New Zealand, which "might" be experiencing an "exodus" of medical workers, due to higher wages abroad. The town of Timaru knows the situation first hand. Last year, junior doctors there went on strike, partly because they felt understaffed, overworked, and underpaid.  

The local health board is appealing INZ's decision, but things don't look good. The Government's Residence Review Board has already dismissed the nurse's appeal. INZ denied both medical workers because their BMIs exceeded 35, the policy limit.

Fans of Reason may have noticed the curious way in which the magazine's staff choices to write "healthy," "normal," "overweight," and "obese," when discussing "accurate" BMI results. Go here to find out why. Senior Editor Jacob Sullum as the skinny on why the Kiwi government should actually encourage fatties to emigrate. And forget laying off the bacon, Sullum says we should lay off the fatties. Reason.tv Editor Nick Gillespie has been in the trenches of the Fat Wars. Science Correspondent Ron Bailey on discrimination  as a positive incentive. 

[Disclaimer: I worked as a page designer and columnist at the Timaru Herald for five months last year. I made it past immigration because, with a BMI of 25.8, I am only "prone to health risks."]

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  • ||

    That picture of Doktor Phil is incomplete. There should be a railroad spike pounded into his skull.

  • ||

    I made it passed immigration because ...

    Yes, but did you make it past the copy editors?

  • slobbercho||

    Yo Tom...Thanks dude.

  • High Every Body||

    In the land of legal prostitution I whould hope there would be a market force keeping the women lean and lovely.

    That is the problem with legalization. Overregulation always follows.

  • ||

    The government's rational is downright strange...

    Let's pile on poor Jeff...

  • Jeff P||

    I dream of darkened Kiwi women slathering my copious gut with oil, then kneading my fleshrolls and pulling my backfat taut...

  • Warty||

    You're prone to bitch tits, fatty. Maybe you'll learn to spell if you eat some more twinkies, fatty.

  • Jeff P||

    Somewhere a lawmaker is drafting the Compulsory Stomach Stapling bill he's been dreaming of since his wife packed on a few after the baby...

  • ||

    Obviously socialized medicine is stupid and immoral, and barring immigrants because they are fat is stupid and immoral, but there is a sort of cold logic to some kind of health-based restrictions to immigration if you are going to have socialized medicine. When Obama or one of his successors succeeds in socializing medicine here, will the debate on immigration here in the US change, with the immigration-boosting Democrats adding some "Pedro, lose 3 pounds and reapply next year, por favor" nuance to their immigration policy?

  • Abdul||

    Fatty fatty, two by four, can't get through the kitchen door . . . or a temporary work visa!

  • High Every Body||

    mitch,

    Sounds about right. Sort of like that Limbaugh suspicion that IF a genetic link to homosexuality is discovered the pro-abortion fans will switch sides overnight.

  • ||

    Mitch,

    They will be allowed to come in. They will just be forced into a government mandated diet and exercise program in return for access to health care.

  • High Every Body||

    They will be allowed to come in. They will just be forced into a government mandated diet and exercise program in return for access to health care.

    Don't forget the fines. Compliance is important in a Leftoid society.

  • ||

    Obviously socialized medicine is stupid and immoral, and barring immigrants because they are fat is stupid and immoral, but there is a sort of cold logic to some kind of health-based restrictions to immigration if you are going to have socialized medicine.

    With the right premises, any kind of insanity becomes "logical." [Insert Godwin here].

    Along, of course, with the cost, the "logical" state overreach following from socialized medicine is the best reason not to have it.

  • Mad Max||

    'The doctor isn't the only medical professional to get stuck at the arrival gate.'

    Physician, slim thyself down!

  • ||

  • EJM||

    Anyone for the "Too Fat Polka"?

  • Warty||

    Anyone else miss the carpet humping guy?

  • High Every Body||

    Anyone else miss the carpet humping guy?

    I belive that I completely missed that one, sounds funny. Was he in an era before my appearance?

  • ||

    Anyone else miss the carpet humping guy?

    For those that do he's got a two page ad in the latest Black Belt magazine.

  • Warty||

    HEB, look up Matt Furey. He'll get you RIPPPPPPPPPPPPEDDDDDD using the power of your bodyweight.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I belive that I completely missed that one, sounds funny. Was he in an era before my appearance?



    I have a sneaking suspicion that you were DEFINITELY here for CHG.

  • ||

    This is, sadly, unsurprising. This is the problem with the assumption that people are not allowed to impose costs on others, which is the leftist argument for regulations of this type. The problem is that as the government provides more services, there is more behavior that could possibly impose costs on society. However, I would argue that the governments volunteer to take on those costs for their citizens. In this instance they chose not to take on those costs, and I would say that they have that right even if it is offensive. However this mentaliy is one that Libertarians should be railing against because it directly leads to seat belt and helmet laws, smoking bans, and foie gras bans. At what point will we have government mandated gym memberships and morning excercise regiments?

  • High Every Body||

    TAO,

    If I was I don't recall.

    Can we start talking about Asians so the nicer ads come up? Jacksonville University and Amy Aklon just are not doing it for me today. Spread The Word chick is no substitute for Smoke Out Big Government chick.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    HEB - maybe you would like Asians posing with welding accoutrements? Call me psychic but that sounds like it's right up your alley.

  • Caseworker Alice Pitney||

    New Zealand should let these weight-challenged people in. Only then will it be able to do them the great service of teaching them to change the way they look at food and pleasure and to become the best thems they can be.

  • alan||

    Ewwww, just what I need to see just before my lunch, Dr Phil. Only reason anyone would where a 'stache that repulsive looking is to hide a harelip.

  • alan||

    The homonym bandit got me again, curses be!

  • High Every Body||

    TAO,

    There is a welding alley where you live? Better than bowling I suppose.

  • ||

    One more reason to live there! I'd love to live in a country where the government screens out hambeasts for me. It should make internet dating less of a minefield.

  • ||

    alan,

    The homonym bandit got me again, curses be!

    You should have distracted him with Hostess Fruit Pies.

  • ||

    Oh, noes! The Not-changing-back-from-a-joke-handle Bandit got me! And I even had an apple pie in my desk!

  • Medic001||

    ok did the math. That puts the Nurse at around 300 lbs.

    NO ONE in the health field should be overweight. Nor should anyone be smoking or drinking alcohol. Do you know how many nurses I have bitched out for Smoking next to the Emergency Room door?

    So what if Newzealand wants to keep fat people out.

    Thats their choice as a nation.
    Maybe if our country took health seriously and stopped going to mcfatties, they could go hang out with some sheep.

  • Jennifer||

    At what point will we have government mandated gym memberships and morning excercise regiments?

    Within ten years of socialized healthcare in the US. There's already people who argue in favor of seatbelt requirements or motorcycle-helmet laws solely because being injured in road accidents "makes my insurance rates go up, and *I* shouldn't have to pay higher premiums just because *you* are too lazy to wear your seatbelt/put on a helmet/whatever."

  • ||

    Medic,

    Ja, I can see how screening "those people" out of the hiring process can help a field riddled enough with incompetence. Fluff over substance, as usual.

  • EJM||

    And I even had an apple pie in my desk!

    Regular "Apple" or "French Apple"?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Do you know how many nurses I have bitched out for Smoking next to the Emergency Room door?



    I hope they told you to take your self-righteousness and cram it where you already have a stick.

    NO ONE in the health field should be overweight.



    Oh shit, well, good thing I didn't take my big sexy brain into the health field, then, because my 70", 175lbs gives me a BMI of 25.1. Which is (you guessed it) .1 into the "overweight" category.

  • ||

    Maybe if our country took health seriously and stopped going to mcfatties, they could go hang out with some sheep.

    I didn't realize the sheep were so picky.

  • High Every Body||

    Do you know how many nurses I have bitched out for Smoking next to the Emergency Room door?

    If that is where the ash tray is located then find another damn door.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    and anyway, I'm calling complete and total bullshit on "smoking next to the emergency room door". That may have been the case, oh 12-13 years ago, but it most certainly is not the case now. Most hospitals have the smoking section like, a 1/2 mile down the road.

  • High Every Body||

    Most hospitals have the smoking section like, a 1/2 mile down the road.

    In that case the comment deserves some Merit.

  • ||

    NO ONE in the health field should be overweight. Nor should anyone be smoking or drinking alcohol.

    As we face increasing shortages of medical personnel, I can think of no worse policy than driving even more people out of the field. That's bound to save money and increase health.

    Of course, I don't think anything that you do that doesn't impact your performance on the job is at all relevant to whether or not you should be hired or fired.

    I call shenanigans on the claim that nurses are smoking outside the ER door. I've worked in hospitals off and on for years. Patients and family, you can't stop them from smoking on the property. Nurses? No fucking way. For one thing, they don't have the time when they are on duty. For another, nurse managers are fucking Nazis (NTTAWT), and would not tolerate a nurse who smells like smoke in their unit, much less one who smokes outside the ER.

  • I Kahn O\'Clast||

    In Libertopia you would be responsible for your own health care and would have a better incentive to take better care of yourself. Also, insurance companies would be free to charge more for poor habits like eating too much and exercising too little.

    A middle ground might have NZ charge a BMI fee to help cover the excess costs and/or deny free care for complications that come solely from lifestyle choice (like lung cancer/smoking)

    But I can't imagine that this is a problem: I saw all of the Lord Of The Ring movies and no one was obese. Not even the natives which oddly were called Orcs rather than Maori in the movie.....

  • High Every Body||

    Nor should anyone be smoking or drinking alcohol.

    Try enforcing that one at my house. Just try.

  • ||

    EJM,

    I've never seen French Apple. But we have blueberry and lemon curd quite often around here. The blueberry is delicious.

  • robc||

    Nor should anyone be smoking or drinking alcohol.

    Considering small amounts of alcohol seem to be beneficial to health, I think you should be pushing a "no teetotalers" position.

    Or just shutting the fuck up.

  • Jennifer||

    NO ONE in the health field should be overweight.

    I know this woman who's a bit overweight, and acts like it has something to do with the fact that she has three kids. Pffft! How ludicrous to think it's acceptable for a fortysomething woman who's been through three pregnancies to have a different body shape than she did as a childless 20-year-old.

    Incidentally, my height-to-weight ratio puts me just on the cusp between "underweight" and "normal" according to BMI charts. That's right, bitchez, I'm skinny. Is this because of my genetic heritage? Is this because I have a small bone structure? Is this because I plain don't like to eat much, and have a job that requires lots of running around, and have never ever been pregnant? NO! It's because I am a superior human being.

    It used to be people were admired for helping the poor, sticking up for the underdog or fighting injustice. Now we're admired for wearing size two bluejeans. That's called progress.

  • High Every Body||

    Now we're admired for wearing size two bluejeans.

    Certainly something I admire. Especially if the long black hair reaches the beltline.

  • EJM||

    I've never seen French Apple. But we have blueberry and lemon curd quite often around here. The blueberry is delicious.

    I've seen both Apple and French Apple stocked in some locations. I don't know what the real difference is, but my hunch is that French Apple features (more) cinnamon and/or other spices.

  • Jennifer||

    Certainly something I admire. Especially if the long black hair reaches the beltline.

    Mine's red, not black, but it's long enough. But that's not the point. I'm not talking about admiring something for mere physical attractiveness; I'm talking about admiring it for its morality.

    Remember when the old hippies used to say "Never trust anyone over 30?" That's because 30 is the age when people who aren't careful start getting fat, and skinniness is next to Godliness which means pudginess is the playground of Satan. Healthcare workers must not be overweight! Teachers must not be overweight! Anyone in a position of authority, especially authroity over impressionable children, must not be overweight!

    Why not? Because being thin is the most important thing in the whole world, and anyone who would say otherwise is probably just a jealous worthless fatass.

  • High Every Body||

    EJM,

    No, French Apple has paté.

  • High Every Body||

    Mine's red, not black, but it's long enough.

    Yummie!

    But that's not the point.

    Then please don't spoil my high with more words. ;)

  • Kathryn in California||

    If they're worried about health risks, they're not looking at the real risk-- are they fit or not?

    An obese person who is fit has less overall risk (of dying in a given year) than a thin unfit person.

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