New Zealand opposition leader Judith Collins has been criticised for calling obesity a “personal choice”, creating a headache for her National party which is struggling in the polls ahead of Saturday’s election.
Collins told radio station Newstalk ZB that “people need to start taking some personal responsibility for their weight” before joking that weight gain was not an epidemic and “wasn’t catching”.
New Zealand is listed by the OECD as the third fattest country in the world, with 31% of Kiwis regarded as obese. Aotearoa sits behind only Mexico (32%) and the United States (38%). Two in three Pasifika (66%) and half of Māori (48%) are obese.
Collins attacked suggestions her views oversimplified a complex issue or were heartless. “Do you know what is heartless? Thinking that someone else can cure these issues. We can all take personal responsibility,” she said.
She criticised parents on the AM Show, saying: “It