KickStart Breakfast programme report inconclusive

Lindsay Mitchell points out that there is a lot of uncertainty in a report on the KickStart Breakfast programme in Lots of ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’

The report: KickStart Breakfasts and Indicators of Child Health in Linked Administrative Data

The existing evidence base

International evidence is that eating a healthy breakfast can lead to improvements in academic performance, appears to improve overall diet quality, and may protect against weight gain.

Existing New Zealand evidence establishes that school breakfast programmes reduce student hunger. Small New Zealand studies suggest provision of milk in schools increases the proportion of children meeting recommended guidelines for dairy intake and improves bone health.

Results from international and New Zealand studies assessing whether school feeding programmes have positive impacts on other student outcomes are mixed, but generally positive.

Evidence from research on dairy consumption and child health suggest that school food programmes that boost dairy intake could have positive effects on a range of measures of child health, with the potential to improve oral and bone health in particular.

What this study adds

This study was commissioned to provide a quantitative assessment of the impact of the KickStart programme on students’ outcomes. The Statistics New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure was used in this study.

Informed by the existing evidence base, and by the data available, we focussed on measures of students’ oral and bone health.

We found that after controlling for a range of other factors, students aged under 13 enrolled in schools and kura with higher uptake of KickStart – measured in terms of the average number of breakfasts served per student, per week across three school years – were significantly less likely than their peers to have hospital outpatient visits for dental


But there is a lot of uncertainty. Mitchell points out some ifs and maybes.

“We see no evidence of a significant association between KickStart intensity and the two administrative indicators of fracture. One possible explanation is that KickStart intensity had no association with bone health. Another is that students who received more KickStart were more active as a result of increased energy intake. Falls may have increased at the same time as the likelihood of fracture upon falling was reduced as a result of improvements in bone health.”.

-KickStart may have improved the nutritional quality of the breakfasts consumed by students. This mechanism is suggested by a study by Bhattacharya et al. (2006) which examined the United States School Breakfast Program.

-The effect of the breakfasts may have been to displace consumption of unhealthy snack foods, including sugary food and drinks, as suggested by the cross-sectional study conducted by Utter and colleagues (2007).

– Reduced pressure on home budgets as a result of KickStart may have allowed families and whānau to purchase higher quality foods to eat at other times of the day and week. Such spillover effects are suggested by the Bhattacharya et al. (2006) study, which found that both adults and preschool children had healthier diets and lower percentages of calories from fat when the School Breakfast Program was available to school-aged children in the household.

If Kickstart caused improvements in diet and caused sugary food and drinks to be displaced, this would suggest that benefits might also include reduced obesity and improvements in learning, health and development (Thornley et al., 2017a), including reductions in rheumatic fever (Thornley et al., 2017b).

There are more uncertainties:

We are unable to draw conclusions about the degree to which reduced outpatient visits for dental surgery were caused by KickStart alone.

…there are plausible mechanisms that could link KickStart and reduced hospital outpatient visits for dental surgery

The limited information available through existing linked de-identified administrative data meant that we were unable to examine some of these wider potential benefits.

No clear association was found between increased exposure to KickStart and administratively sourced measures indicative of bone fractures in students aged under 13.

And that’s before getting to the Introduction. Jumping to…


Schools and kura are overwhelmingly positive about the KickStart programme and report positive effects on students’ health and wellbeing and engagement with school. Our analysis of linked administrative data shows that after controlling for a range of confounders, students enrolled in schools and kura with higher uptake of KickStart – measured in terms of the average number of breakfasts served per student per week across three school years – are significantly less likely than their peers to have hospital outpatient visits for dental surgery.

While plausible causal mechanisms exist, we are unable to draw conclusions about the degree to which this association reflects the causal impact of KickStart.

A report that is unable to draw conclusions seems of limited use.

A Holt to impartial Breakfast TV?

News tellers were again news stories yesterday. Hillary Barry is moving from one TV show to another. Whoop de do. The content of Breakfast and Seven Sharp is largely dictated by producers and their commercial interests. Presenters are more entertainment actors than anything.

A more controversial show shift was also broadcast, ensuring pre-publicity for TVNZ.

Megan Gattey at Stuff asks Is it OK for ex-Green Party candidate Hayley Holt to host TVNZ’s Breakfast

Is it ethical for a former political party candidate to host a national TV show when interviewing other politicians is part of the job description? How will former Green Party candidate Hayley Holt juggle her greenie convictions with her new job hosting TVNZ 1’s Breakfast?

Holt, who stood for the Green Party in the 2017 election, is replacing Hilary Barry on Breakfast. She will start in the role on the first show of the year, this coming Monday, presenting alongside Jack Tame.

Journalists must remain independent from political and commercial influences, but Holt has insisted her political past would not lead to biased interviewing.

“I’m quite happy to play the role of devil’s advocate for any political party – or any guest in studio,” she said.

“When I was representing the Green Party, I was 100 per cent true to their message. In this new role I have the opportunity to look at things from all perspectives.”

That doesn’t say much for her political credentials, but if she was able to act 100 percent true to the Green message then perhaps she is capable of switching to being 100 per cent true to a TV show message.

No longer a Green Party member, Holt said she was “excited for this new venture”.

“I’ve ceased my party council work and resigned my Green Party membership,” she said.

TVNZ head of news and current affairs John Gillespie said he was confident Holt would interview fairly and objectively.

“Hayley is well aware of her journalistic responsibilities and the need to conduct interviews fairly and impartially. There are a number of editorial producers and relevant systems in place to make sure this occurs,” he said.

I have no idea whether Holt will be fair and objective or not, I don’t think I’ve seen her doing anything on TV, despite her being promoted (when a Green candidate) as some sort of ‘celebrity’.

At least if she interviews James Shaw or Marama Davidson some viewers will be aware of her previous political obedience.

Massey University journalism programme leader James Hollings said it was not unethical for Holt to host Breakfastgiven that she’s resigned” from the Green Party.

“As long as she can claim to be impartial then I don’t think it’s too unreasonable,” he said.

But a more important point:

Hollings said it was disappointing that Holt was “the best New Zealand could come up with”.

“She’s not a trained journalist for a start,” he said.

Actual journalism seems to be not that important any more for TV shows, at least on the surface.

(AUT journalism programme leader Richard) Pamatatau said Holt seemed to fit the kind of look Kiwis were used to seeing on their TV screens: “a sporty, blonde, white woman – interesting, edgy but not too edge – very conventionally attractive”.

How superficial is that? Especially from a journalism programme leader – is that what they teach these days?

“There is plenty of lived experience. She is very relatable.”

She is “a New Zealand snowboarder and ballroom dancer notable for her appearances on several reality television series”. Has reality TV become the new breeding ground for politicians?

Pamatatau hoped Holt would be “smart enough to leave politics behind”.

“The next question is, will she use this to boost her profile even more, so when the next election comes around she’ll be even more of a household name?”

That’s a good question. In Hayley Holt: Why I’m starting again she stated:

“I’ve always been interested in politics. I thought I might get into it a bit later in life but it’s just happened that it’s now.”

I guess presenting Breakfast is another way of being involved in politics, amongst the dross of morning TV. Is it another step in her broadcasting career, or a stepping stone for her political ambitions?

She may make a good presenter even if it’s a sideshow in her career path. I may or may not find out, breakfast TV has too much trivial and trite stuff to attract me usually.

Congratulating Paul Henry

In a possibly controversial interview Paul Henry congratulates himself and hates on many others.

NZ Herald: Paul Henry reveals why he hates people

Shock is his stock-in-trade, but talking to Greg Bruce, the controversial broadcaster takes it to a whole new level. Not surprisingly, content may offend.

“F*** ’em!” Paul Henry said, having just walked in on a conversation about organisations that want him to attend their evening events.

“What are they morons, these people?”

He seems to think that quite a few people are morons. But not himself.

An interview with Henry, especially one as long as this one, boils down to a lot of this kind of thing: outrageous claims, insults, self-aggrandising statements, insults embedded in outrageous claims, self-aggrandising statements dressed as insults.

He was asked bout his influence on changes on the competing Breakfast show on TV1.

“Yeah,” he said. “So – basically – TVNZ has got the shits up itself. Basically. Yeah, yay for me. No, I like it: ‘Paul Henry; yay for me.'”

Later, when I asked him what he thought about what has happened with TVNZ’s Breakfast, he said he doesn’t think about it. He followed that up by saying he gets great joy from seeing people improve as a result of trying to compete with him.

“So you would be happy to see that?” I asked. “If they do a better job on Breakfast?”

“They can’t,” he said. “They can’t.”

“Not a better job than you,” I said, “but if they improve their own product, you’re happy about that?”

“Absolutely,” he said, “because it’s a direct result of me. What have they told you so far? And I’m talking about you, as a viewer. They have told you that they have been perfectly happy to produce shit for all this time because no one has put them under pressure to produce anything other than shit. And the reason we know that is the fact that they just offloaded the shit. Unceremoniously, they have offloaded the shit. Not because they wanted to produce a really good product – because they have never wanted to do that, otherwise they would never have had shit in the first place – but because I came along. So, yay for me. I should be congratulated.”

Congratulated by morons?

Having succeeded in prompting one show of one media company to offload “the shit” perhaps Henry could go on a crusade and clean up more of the media. There’s a lot of shit out there.

Including in his interview.

Russell and Hooton on trusts

An exchange on Twitter between Deborah Russell (@beefaerie)and Matthew Hooton (MatthewHootonNZ) on trusts.

Deborah Russell: I’m going to be on Breakfast on TV One tomorrow morning, shortly after the 7am news, talking about the

Matthew Hooton: Would you mind explaining that there are no such thing as ‘foreign’ or ‘family’ trusts in NZ law, but only ‘trusts’?

Deborah Russell: I’ll do my best. I have found that most people don’t quite get what’s going on. “Foreign trust” is only for tax purposes.

But the problem is “foreign trusts” and what gets shunted into them, and the lack of information about them.

Matthew Hooton: Also don’t dividends get taxed where paid? So a NZ trust owning e.g. Rio Tinto shares doesn’t get off tax on dividends?

Deborah Russell: They would get taxed in Australia, and in NZ, with our Double Tax Agreement sorting out how much tax is paid in each place.

So the NZ trust *would* pay tax on the Rio Tinto dividends. But the problem is “foreign trusts” and what gets shunted into them, and the lack of information about them.

I think it’s a moral issue, not a tax issue wrt “foreign trusts”. Happy to discuss at length sometime.

Matthew Hooton: Then should get an ethicist on not a tax expert

Deborah Russell: As my PhD is in Philosophy, and I’ve lectured in Ethics, Political Theory, AND Tax, I guess I fit the bill. And Business Ethics, Professional Ethics, Applied Ethics. And more.

Matthew Hooton: Excellent. You’ll be able to talk about the ethics of publishing 240,000 names & addresses, many who have done nothing wrong.

Deborah Russell: Many of whom *may* have done nothing immoral. People may have interesting reasons for consulting a Panamanian firm.

Matthew Hooton: The itself says being on The List does not mean the person has done anything wrong. So why issue the list if not to smear?

Deborah Russell: To crowd source knowledge.

So it could be interesting, just after 7 am on Breakfast, TV One.

Breakfast flag poll

Seven days until voting in the flag referendum.

Breakfast has been running an online poll since yesterday morning.



Self selecting online polls are non-scientific and should be looked on with a fair degree of scepticism as they are easily manipulated and easily affected by special interests.

But with the number of votes now over 30,000 it gets harder to manipulate significantly, unless you can organise a huge number of helpers. So this poll may be a reasonable albeit rough indicator of current preferences.

I think it’s surprising how close this is, based on past polls. Newshub/Reid Research polling from about a month ago had a different of 61 to 30.

The Breakfast poll was closer early last night with about 20,000 votes but has widened a little.

And 55 to 45 is still a big gap to close up if there is to be any flag change.

But it’s not over until the referendum is counted. There may be late swings (either way), and a lot may depend on voter turnout and who is most motivated to vote.

I still think it’s unlikely the flag will change – this year or probably in my lifetime – but it could get close and interesting.

If the first referendum was ‘Do you want to change the New Zealand flag?’ would the outcome have been any different?

It’s possible more people would have voted for change without knowing what the alternative would have been.

If that had happened it’s probably the fight over the alternative design would have been even more fraught and bitter as the end result would be the new flag, as change would have already been decided.

The only certainty is that there would have been wide and often strong disagreement on what the new design should be.

There will never be a Goldilocks flag that everyone thinks is just right.

And I think those who prefer to keep the current flag even though they want change, hoping that they will get to choose again soon, are fooling themselves.

If the flag doesn’t change this time then I think National are very unlikely to offer us the choice again.

Labour and Greens are unlikely to try flag change soon after strongly fighting against this process, as that would highlight their political hypocrisy.

And I think flag change needs some hefty weight of opinion from the centre right on it’s side to succeed. We have that this time, but Labour in particular has done it’s best to dirty the left wing vote for change.

I’ll still be voting for change, because i think the Lockwood design is good enough and far better than the present flag.

Because it’s something I strongly believe in I’ll be promoting flag change over the next few weeks.

If anyone wants to do a guest post on their preference or on any aspect of the flag referendum then I’ll be happy to put it up here too (as long as it’s reasonable).

The Lockwood flag in Paris recently:


If you post links to your favourite flag images (New Zealand and Lockwood) in comments I’ll collate into posts.

Laziness a cereal killer?

When I grew up breakfast consisted of either  toast or cereal.

Cereals where Weetbix, Rice Bubbles, Corn Flakes, Puffed Wheat (not fussed) or oats cooked as porridge (yuk).

Times and diets are changing. All of the above (except I don’t recall seeing Puffed Wheat for yonks) are still available but breakfast cereals have diversified immensely, especially when you include various types of muesli.

But cereal consumption is reducing significantly, at least in the US. New York Times reports Cereal, a Taste of Nostalgia, Looks for Its Next Chapter

Since the late 1990s, its popularity has been slowly fading. Sales, which totalled $13.9 billion in 2000, dipped last year to about $10 billion.

Younger generations are less interested in eating cereal for breakfast – many because of the hassle cleaning up afterwards (a spoon and a plate), and many because they don’t eat breakfast or don’t have it at home.

Younger consumers are not as attached to cold cereal for breakfast as their forebears, analysts and cereal makers agree. They either don’t eat breakfast at all, or eat it somewhere other than home.

And for many cereal eating is too much work:

The dream of all these companies is to capture the all-powerful and elusive millennial eater, who just isn’t all that into cereal for breakfast. It’s just too much work, for one thing. Almost 40 percent of the millennials surveyed by Mintel for its 2015 report said cereal was an inconvenient breakfast choice because they had to clean up after eating it.


And when they do eat breakfast, a bowl of cold cereal is often replaced by hot grains, smoothies, yogurt or breakfast sandwiches.

That’s contradictory. Sandwiches are as much effort as cold cereals, and hot cereals and smoothies are more work, especially cleaning up liquidisers.

Has anyone tried those new things where you have to buy three and get pots as well, and they turn fruit and vegies into liquid? I mostly prefer to eat fruit in it’s most natural form.

And then there’s the other end of the breakfast cuisine scale.

Cereal manufacturers are starting to catch on. Recently, Kellogg paid a young, culturally diverse group of chefs to create dishes using its cereals. Among them was Danny Bowien, the man behind Mission Chinese Food in New York and San Francisco, and a lifelong Corn Flakes fan. For a special breakfast menu he served in December, Mr. Bowien matched Frosted Flakes with matcha milk and green tea powder, and poured bacon-infused soy milk over Corn Pops, topping the dish with a fried egg.

Kyle Mendenhall, the executive chef of the Kitchen, a restaurant group in Boulder, Colo., likes to pour cream or whole milk over Honey Nut Cheerios, the nation’s top-selling brand.

So is the human race getting lazier and wanting others to do more work for them?

Time will tell whether the the home breakfast cereal market is killed off by laziness.


Jan Logie on Key’s rape comments

Green MP Jan Logie was interviewed on Breakfast this morning.

Initial Twitter coverage:

“I’ve spent a huge number of years fighting against rape culture and have experienced sexual violence myself” – @janlogie

“I really hope the Prime Minister listened… and thinks twice about the impact of those comments”

“The Prime Minister’s comments were knowingly offensive and provocative.. he was using it to distract from a very real concern”

She made some odd comments about rapists, appearing to defend them. According to feedback some people are incensed by her comments.

It’s not online yet.

Video of a brief part: John Key’s rape comment was ‘deeply personally offensive’ – MP

Paul Henry still failing to impress

I occasionally go back to the Paul Henry Show, just to get reminded why I don’t like it – it’s too opinionated, with Paul Henry dominating. A shame because I don’t mind Hillary Barry and Jim Kayes.

So I switch back to One’s Breakfast, which I never liked much but is less bad. And barely watch it as I do the ‘net.

I’m obviously not the target demographic. In the early morning I’m interested in finding out as much about news and views as I can, not just one person’s views interspersed with a bit of news that’s often either stale or trivial (and often both).

Throng reports on the morning TV ratings.

Ratings: The Paul Henry Show week 4

Four weeks in and The Paul Henry Show enjoyed its first positive move on the previous week with a less than 1% gain on the previous week to have an average audience between 7am and 9am of 44,288 viewers.

Breakfast was up 2% on the previous week to an average audience of 135,300.

So Paul Henry is either failing to impress or is an acquired taste. But I’m unlikely to acquire an interest unless there’s a specific item signalled on Twitter that I’m interested in. I’ll keep looking for what interests me rather than be glued to a bit of a goon show.

Transcript – Key on media, dirty politics and bloggers

Transcript of part of an interview with John Key on TV One Breakfast this morning on media, dirty politics and his relationship bloggers, especially with Cameron Slater.

But at the same time, you know, your your guys, your lot, your team did bring some of it on yourselves didn’t you, I mean you know the, the, I mean you had to sort of apologise at the end of the day over communications with Cameron Slater, so although the effigy burning and the so called hate stuff was almost a side show there was something which actually you guys have to take responsibility for.

John Key: Well we never denied that we have um communications with a wide range of people, and the media landscape’s changing, so you know what I think some people do get confused with is they say well they can understand the mainstream media, um but they find it a bit odd with bloggers.

And and there’s a sort of a perception out there that somehow Cameron Slater is in a group of his own. You know the left have bloggers which are just as aggressive as Cameron Slater.

So you’re still communicating with Cameron Slater?

John Key: Well I haven’t in in recent times, but but the point is that if you look at it he’s not a big part of my day and bloggers are not a big part of my day, but what is true is that the landscape changes.

And just like if you look at your news, every night on your news you always say and you do on your Breakfast show all the time, go to our website, you know dub dub dub  dot tvnz dot co dot nz.

Do we?

John Key: I’m doing it really well. I guess why you do that is your producers tell you to do that because you’ve got a massive audience and they want you to promote your site.

So all I’m saying to you is I live in a world where I can’t ignore that. A lot of stuff goes through blogs and sites and and politics is an aggressive business, so what ultimately happens is most of the time we’re defending.

I mean I know the Labour Party  want to act is if they’re a bunch of choir boys, but these are the people who sent their president to Australia to investigate me, hired private investigators.

They’ve done every rotten trick in the book and most of the time all we’re trying to do is make sure we defend ourselves against these baseless attacks.

So it’s the nature of politics and I don’t complain about it but it is reality, and for Nicky Hager to get up there and say it’s the National Party and everybody else ah you know great little, you know great little people and they don’t do anything wrong well sorry but it’s not reality.

With the Cameron Slater issue though I mean this sort of came back to the surface even just a few weeks ago, we were talking about it, and a lot of people as a result of that interview said they just don’t understand why you don’t cut him off completely. 

John Key: Well I don’t have a terribly pro-active relationship with the guy now. I mean I don’t, you know don’t text him. If he texts me then you know I’ve responded to him on a few occasions.

Um but look in the end as I’ve said he’s never been a big part of my world. Yeah I could I could stop but I mean I even if I deleted his phone off the system it wouldn’t stop him sending me texts, he knows my number.

And lots of people do. And you might sit there and say well ok you could just change your phone number again. I’m on my fourth mobile phone number  as Prime Minister so and mark my words you would be amazed who gets my number, it’s just out there and people share it.

Breakfast versus Firstline

Fluff versus facts?

TVNZ’s Breakfast and TV3’s Firstline compete for audience from 6 am. There’s overlap, but there’s a clear difference and they are clearly addressing different markets, as these promotional tweets illustrate this morning.

TVNZ’s Breakfast@BreakfastonOne

15 minutes to on air and we are waiting for our lovely Director @shegelouise to return to the Control Room.

Rachel Smalley@Rachel_Smalley

Good morning, and we’re on-air. @FirstlineNZ No fluff, just the facts. 🙂

We each take our pick. Further illustrating the difference – here are their tweets from yesterday during their shows:

TVNZ’s Breakfast@BreakfastonOneToday we are talking ‘The State of the Nation’. @DavidShearerMP lays out his plan then @johnkeypm talks unemployment and apprenticeships.

What would be on your ultimate bucket list? A new comps been launched to find the best list so shortly @Lacey_Wilson dreams about hers!

Here’s the link to our chat with a TVNZ Current Affairs Producer who worked with @paul_holmes in the early days.

Firstline@FirstlineNZ232 die in panicky stampede in Brazil club fireBorrow more money, Govt toldTriple-dip recession looms for UK

No ‘super city’ for Wellington – mayor

Arts and music key to waterfront’s success

Shearer defends policy-free speech

Trotter: Good start to the year for Shearer

Mega: Service improves as visitors drop off

Pilgrams gather at the Ganges

I prefer facts without the fluff so usually have Firstline on (if there’s no live sport to watch), but most of my attention is on the Internet, looking for a range of news and commentary sources, and of course compiling blog posts.

And I keep an eye on Twitter so am influenced by the tweets announcing upcoming items.