PulsePoint – 27th June 2024

Welcome to PulsePoint for 27th June 2024 – the latest media stories and research related to family and society that you need to know about – issues from both New Zealand and overseas that the Family First team have been monitoring and researching over the last week. It’s time to cut through the spin and uncover the real issues. In this episode of PulsePoint, we update you on these topics:

1. The Minister of Finance hints at a review of the charitable tax exemption. 00:59

2. The Italian Prime Minister’s pro-life stand at the recent G7 causes a stir. 04:15

3. Cannabis-related hospitalisations among older adults surge following legalisation. 05:11

4. The US Surgeon General calls for warning labels on social media for young people. 06:21

5. The smallest surviving premature baby in the US, born 17 weeks early, is finally home. 08:09

You can check out all these stories and more on our website FamilyFirst.nz. We’ll keep watching the news… so that you don’t have to.


Intro: Welcome to PulsePoint – the LATEST media stories AND research related to family and society that YOU need to know. It’s time to cut through the spin and uncover the REAL issues.

I’m Tumby Stowers.

  1. According to a new report on interest.co.nz, a financial news site in NZ, the Minister of Finance Nicola Willis was quizzed on general tax policy last week and in response to a question she said this:

VIDEO (Nicole willis re charities)

interest.co.nz say

𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐜𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐭 𝐚𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐰 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐒𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐫… 𝐈𝐭’𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐈𝐧𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐮𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐧-𝐝𝐞𝐩𝐭𝐡 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐫.

That’s interest.co.nz’s words – not ours.

And this is not the first time this issue has been raised. As we have previously reported, in the Briefing to the Incoming Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector from the Department for Internal Affairs after last year’s election and change of government, it says this:

Issues that stakeholders want reviewed include fundamental matters such as CHARITABLE PURPOSE (for example, should the advancement of RELIGION still be a charitable purpose with associated tax benefits) and advocacy by charities. 

 In April the Prime Minister was asked about taxing churches.

VIDEO – taxing churches edited nz herald just 13 seconds up to “relevant”.

And then on the AM Show, Finance Minister Nicola Willis was asked about the same issue.

VIDEO – churches charities newshub nicola willis  1 first 30 seconds

Some commentators say that this will simply catch charities that have a significant business arm, and most people quote for example Sanitarium – but there are two problems with that argument.

Firstly, there are very few charities who have a significant business arm, so this is not going to find the level of income that the Minister of Finance is wanting to find – and secondly, these so-called charity businesses give all profits back to charity. There is no shareholder gain or private profit being made.

It appears that charities – and especially churches – are directly in the line of fire.

  1. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni hosted the G7 summit, where a controversy arose over the removal of abortion-related language from the G7’s final declaration.

Last year’s G7 declaration from Hiroshima included commitments to safe and legal abortion access, but this year’s declaration excluded such references, focusing instead on general health services for women.

Meloni received criticism from progressive leaders like President Joe Biden and France’s President Emmanuel Macron. Macron criticized Italy’s stance, emphasizing France’s commitment to gender equality.

Meloni stated the alleged controversy was contrived and not a point of debate during the summit.

Pro-life Americans, including former Vice President Mike Pence, praised Meloni for her stand commending her for defending pro-life values.

  1. Recent research published in JAMA Internal Medicine found a significant increase in cannabis-related hospitalizations among older adults in Ontario, Canada, following the legalization of cannabis.

The study observed a rise in emergency room visits for cannabis poisoning among individuals aged 65 and older from 2018 to 2022, compared to the period before legalization.

Emergency room visits doubled after cannabis flower was legalized and tripled after edibles became legal. One Associate professor of emergency medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Diane Calello noted “It has been repeatedly shown that in states where legalization is enacted, there is an increase in adult cannabis use and visits for cannabis poisoning to emergency departments.”

Similar trends are observed in the U.S., particularly in states where cannabis has been legalized. New Zealand should take heed of these consequences when drug advocates argue for liberalising drug laws.

  1. Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the US Surgeon General, is advocating for warning labels on social media platforms, similar to those on tobacco products, to address the mental health crisis among young people.

Adolescents who spend more than three hours daily on social media are at double the risk of mental health issues, with the average usage being about 4.8 hours per day. Dr. Murthy emphasizes the urgent need for action due to the significant rise in teenage depression and anxiety, particularly among girls, as social media has exploded over the last decade.

Here is a video of Dr. Murthy’s advice to parents:

He calls for legislative changes, including phone-free school zones, creating phone-free environments at home, and delaying social media use until after age 13. Jonathan Haidt, in his work “The Anxious Generation,” also underscores the need to address the adverse effects of social media on young people’s mental health.

An interview with Jonathan Haidt will be featured at the upcoming Forum on the topic of youth mental health, smartphones, and social media.

  1. And finally, baby Evelyn Eilers, born in September 2023, holds the distinction of being the smallest surviving prem baby in the United States, weighing only 8.46 ounces at birth, less than a can of coke.

Born at just 23 weeks via emergency C-section, Evelyn immediately began her fight for survival in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Despite numerous complications including lung collapse and infections, Evelyn persevered with the help of innovative medical treatments developed by the University of Iowa’s medical team.

After a tough 7-month stay in intensive care, Evelyn finally went home earlier this month weighing a healthy 7 pounds 8 ounces. Evelyn’s story underscores the incredible strength of premature babies and serves as a testament to the power of love, community support, and medical expertise in nurturing life against all odds.

It also reminds us of the humanity of the child – even when in the womb.

 And THAT’S the latest episode of PulsePoint. You can check out ALL these stories AND MORE on our website familyfirst.nz. We’ll keep watching the news… so that you don’t have to.

See you next time.

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