Addressing the heffalump in the room

This week, Jim Bunny ventures out of the warren to share his thoughts  on an issue that keeps on growing.


It must be coming. Surely. I sense, because of all the fomenting over Rogers Rabbits two weeks ago, a cynical, insensitive assault by a skinny person on… on… on large people. I sense a petition  coming on.

Were the musings of RR cynical and insensitive or were they satirical? I suppose it depends on your BMI, on what size you are. Regardless, Rogers Rabbits may have gone one kilojoule too far this time.


The sometimes funny, sometimes acerbic RR used provocative headlines like “overload” and “fat bastards” and a picture of an unidentifiable someone beached on the beach. Even the puffer fish was carrying a bit of Christmas excess.

And he caused a right stink, a right meltdown. “Bullying” one reader fired back. She was “upset and saddened” that RR had made judgments without caring who they offended or hurt. She was shocked.

According to Ministry of Health studies, 1.13 million of the nation’s 4.3 million population are overweight, with an extra 826,000 officially classified as obese, or grossly fat.

And if such a large body of people – excuse the language – decided to petition, it would carry a lot of weight. Again, excuse the language.

And like the “notoriously controversial” Sir Bob Jones, they’ll want the “notoriously controversial” RR stripped of a knighthood, and shamed and humiliated for  his insensitivity.

Okay, the biggest bobtail in the warren doesn’t have a knighthood. But the petitioners won’t care. Should RR ever be considered for public veneration, they would want it stopped. They want to kill to idea before it becomes an idea.

Apparently 50,000 outraged and culturally sensitive people are baying for Jones to lose his “Sir” after suggesting Maori should be grateful for colonisation. And, true to form, Jones suggested they may like to mow Pakeha lawns and bring them tea in bed to show their appreciation.

I don’t agree with the sentiment, but I would defend Sir Bob’s right to be Sir Bob. The signatories are whacko and it will never happen. Bob was given his knighthood three decades ago for his contribution  to business.

They’re not going to take it off him for  a few injudicious and provocative  thoughts in an obscure publication with a negligible readership.

It was the timing of things. It seemed Sir Bob, now accused of hate speech, could have taken his cue from RR, who only two weeks earlier was accused of “fat” speech.

We now know that “fat”, apart from being bad for your health, is not PC so we will call it excessive proportion.

But fat by any other word.

Anyhow, RR was well and truly trussed and stuffed with sage, onion and public opprobrium and then… well, deep fried. Cos that’s the way the excessively proportioned usually like stuff done.

We may not like what RR said about the EPs, we may not like how he said it, but we should all defend his right to say it.

And why do we think that by not talking, and not talking bluntly about obesity, that one of the great indictments of the New Zealand lifestyle is just going to melt away? Is that what we are saying?

Let’s just ignore obesity it and it will  go away.

I read that lack of exercise or physical activity, along with poor nutrition, tobacco and alcohol, are the four leading health risk behaviours leading to heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes and obesity – some of the most common, costly and preventable of all health problems.

It’s preventable – why should people not speak up?

Why do we have to pussyfoot?

Why are we so sensitive?

And I am not coming from a position of skinny-ness, I am an EP – I am not terminal, not completely off the body mass index. There’s only one X in  my shirt size but I could easily lose 10 plus. I can run 10 kilometres, I can spend an hour on a rowing machine.

But that won’t fix my problem. It’s what I shove into my gob that’s the problem, it’s the ice cold beer that screams “pick me, pick me” when I open the fridge door for a celery stick, it’s the two sugary teaspoons in my long blacks that caused my kids to call me “fat dad” – albeit jokingly but tinged with the truth.

My size is my problem, my responsibility and whispering about it won’t help me.

Some hard straight talk, some shaming, some reminding just might.

Let’s remember, our problem as EPs becomes everyone’s problem, because the country pays dearly for our national propensity to hoover food.

We fill hospital beds, we need the operations and treatment. We are a burden and it’s usually preventable.

I have changed my mind. Sir Rogers Rabbits might have a nice ring to it after all.

He may have done us EPs a favour.