I initially thought that the new Food Bill was to blame. It was introduced back in 2010 and got a fair bit of push-back in early 2012. But that cannot be the case. Submissions on the Bill closed only a month ago. Since I had never heard of Councils in NZ hitting kid bake stands like this, and as Auckland was blaming national regulations, I incorrectly assumed that the Food Bill had to have gone through. And so I apologise for blaming the Food Bill and its sponsor, Kate Wilkinson.
I still would very much like to know whether there is basis in existing national regulations for Auckland's rather heavyhanded actions in this case. Either the regulation has existed and hasn't been enforced elsewhere, the regulations have changed, or Auckland's interpretation is incorrect.
The original post follows below. It is based on an incorrect premise. I have run a strikethrough tag through it so that it's obvious that it ought not be relied upon.
Update: And I thank @mellopuffy for the correction.
Update 2: More detail here.
Those behind the online petition opposing the bill claim it will seriously impede initiatives like community gardens, food co-ops, heritage seed banks, farmers' markets and roadside fruit and vegetable stalls. This is nonsense. At most, people involved in such activity, where it presents a low risk, will be provided with information. Events such as sausage sizzles, home bake sales, and other fundraising events will still occur as they always have.The bill is intended to protect, not harm such events, as the bill's critics would have us believe. Bartering of food is currently included in the Food Act 1981. The proposed bill simply clarifies that those bartering with food, as part of a food business, must ensure it is safe and suitable. Many small-scale bartering activities will only be subject to food handler guidance – for example, those bartering home-grown produce for goods and services. However, larger scale bartering of food exists and it is appropriate that those enterprises are subjected to the same risk-based measures as those selling their food products in a more conventional manner.
So is the new regime worth the cost? That depends on the compliance costs that will be faced by small and mid-sized traders. Wilkinson assures us that small traders won't face onerous burdens, but I'd really prefer seeing proper analysis of the Bill from someone like Otago's Andrew Geddis. And we have to keep in mind that a substantial proportion of the costs Wilkinson cites might actually be voluntary choices consumers are making that, on lucky draws, yield tasty goodness any diminution of which consequent to regulation ought be counted against the Bill's possible health benefits. Banning me and others like me from having my hamburgers medium-rare might save the health system a bit, but it'll certainly cost me some utils. Equally bad is what a big fixed-cost regime would do to food startups. I really hope that the legislation isn't as costly on those two fronts as some folks fear; I'd love to see independent legal analysis.