New Zealand Science Minister Mapp’s Sudden Disappearance from New Image’s Web Site

By Richard Smith

Here is Dr Wayne Mapp, New Zealand Science Minister (hah), wallowing contentedly at New Image’s web site, on 5th October (bottom right).

But Mapp’s idyll is rudely interrupted; in part, perhaps, by the application of Naked Capitalism’s cattle prod to his temptingly exposed hindquarters, and in part, for sure, by this more demure followup by Radio New Zealand:

University of Otago researcher Michelle McConnell specialises in colostrum and says there have only been a handful of limited trials showing it has any benefit to human health.

Dr McConnell says it is not acceptable for New Image to give sufferers of multiple sclerosis false hope.

She was also surprised to hear that the company and its products were promoted by Dr Mapp in a link on its website.

The minister says he did not intend to endorse the products in his speech and has asked for the video to be removed.

and so, by the 11th, with a bound and a snort, Mapp is up and gone:

“The minister says he did not intend to endorse the products in his speech”: what was he endorsing, then, I wonder? I’m afraid that Dr Mapp’s speech, now, thankfully, lost to view, was of such agonizing tediousness that I only retain a faint impression of it. From what I caught of it, via drooping eyelids, it seemed to be an encomium to New Image’s direct sales methods and export prospects. So what we are now to understand Dr Mapp to have meant is that he may not be all that definite about the value of the products, but the sales technique is just fine, and appearing just below the miracle cure claim was just fine, until it wasn’t.

Let’s see how tenable a fallback position that turns out to be.

If you feel you have missed out on Dr Mapp’s oratory, dear reader, take heart. It turns out that praising New Image’s business model is a stock in trade of successive New Zealand governments. You can read a transcript of something equally dull from 2008, from the then Labour government minister, Phil Goff. If memory serves, this covers pretty much the same ground as Mapp’s speech. Ooh, I wonder who writes these speeches. From Goff’s speech we also discover that New Image got some government aid, back then. Hmmm.

Meanwhile, New Image have some damage to limit, too. Their first move is to bodyswerve the whole thing. They try out the intriguing “a big testimonial writer did it and then ran away” defence on Radio New Zealand:

New Image is standing by the testimonials, saying a woman involved states she does not know if the product will have the same effect on others who have multiple sclerosis.

Read that whole sentence again and see if the second half of it squares with your understanding of “standing by the testimonials”. It looks more like a headlong retreat to me. And if New Image are “standing by the testimonials”, why have the testimonials vanished from the web site? Compare the screen shots, above. Funny sort of “standing by”, that. Perhaps Radio New Zealand will have a followup question for New Image’s harassed spokesperson, about what the phrase “standing by” means, when uttered by a New Image spokesperson.

Elsewhere in New Image’s large but not very thoroughly image-managed empire, they are certainly still standing by some testimonials. For instance testimonials for the utterly worthless Powerpill FE-3 are still up there in lights at New Image Malaysia as of this writing. Oh, here’s a current screenshot, in case New Image’s web team get some new orders. I suppose they are also harassed, but maybe on overtime; hi boys, thinking of ya.

Let’s see if and when the site and the screen shot diverge.

Incidentally I wonder if New Image’s sales pitch really works at all, without testimonials.

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  1. ambrit

    Gee fellows! Now I know where to offload all those cargo containers of Cow Magnets I got on spec twenty years ago! Thanks for the tip!

  2. LucyLulu

    As far as stem cells, they have shown real promise in research but as far as I know, it has not yet been translated to human use. Back in the 90’s (animal lovers don’t read), they were able to use stem cells to restore functional walking to cats who had recently had their spinal cords severed, and there was real hope for similar applications for spinal cord injuries in humans. I followed the research rather closely for a while, having suffered a spinal cord injury myself, but eventually lost track. The thinking was that the stem cells would only work for fresh injuries, not old ones. Stem cells are generic type cells that have the ability to develop into any type of cell, which is why they have been so exciting to researchers. My educated guess however is that they would require surgical implantation as they would need to be located at the diseased site (which for MS/Parkinson’s would require neurosurgery). I’m not sure how this NZ company marketed them. An oral preparation would surely be useless, as they would be destroyed in the stomach.

    Often these non-regulated products don’t contain the ingredient they claim to, or contain it in minute amounts. In the US, several glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate (arthritis/joint) products were tested, all claiming to contain 100 mg GCS/unit dose. They were found to contain anywhere from 15 mg to 110 mg. Nobody tests OTC products to ensure they contain what the label claims they do.

    My concern with either colostrum or stem cells would be if it has either been tested for communicable diseases (most likely hepatitis, possibly HIV) or treated such that any diseases would be killed (which would probably also neutralize any proposed benefits of the colostrum). They are both obtained from bodily fluids (stem cells from umbilical cord blood?). Somebody with MS has enough problems without adding something like Hep-C to the mix.

  3. Tom Parsons

    With NZ elections following soon after the Rugby World Cup concludes, politicians’ sensitivity to cattle prods may be unusually high.

    1. FlyingKiwi

      This depends on the outcome. If the All Blacks win the Cup and survive the ensuing stampede of politicians all trying to get themselves into a photograph of the winning team the current government will walk in on the post-coital afterglow.

      However if the All Black’s lose (especially to France in the final -please, please, God. Arrange that and I’ll love you for ever!) maybe, just maybe, the inert, smug, she’ll-be-all-right-in-Godzown NZ voter will raise its collective face from the bread-and-circuses trough, realise that not all is well with the world if the all-mighty All Blacks can lose, and think about what it’s doing.

      It would be great if we could learn from the Icelandic experience (a very similar country in many ways) without having to have a crisis first:-

  4. evodevo

    Keep prodding, guys. Nothing like anecdotal evidence and the placebo effect to keep ’em coming.
    I can’t tell from the article if this is the same New Image quack diet herbal crap that was marketed via pyramid scheme here in Ky back in the ’90’s. It’s still in existence here (, hiding under another alias for awhile. My son was suckered in, along with some of my acquaintances, to the tune of $250, with the usual promises of “thousands a month” in income, for recruiting his own stable of suckers. The local “entrepreneur” went broke a couple of years ago and his X-thousand-square-foot mansion next to the Horse Park went up on the auction block last year. Like most of that herbal scam, the main ingredients, when you can dig the information out of them, contains various caffeine/ephedrine related stimulants (“I have so much more energy now!”), diuretics (“I lost 5 lbs right after I started drinking the Slimming Tea!”), laxatives, salicylates, seaweed extracts, cardio-active glycosides (REALLY dangerous), and various “ancient Chinese secret” herbal preparations of unknown etiology, along with substances with no proven efficacy, and a lot of fillers. The pharmacologicaly-ignorant average American falls for this stuff every time – same basic ingredients, reformulated endlessly under different brand names.

    There’s a sucker born every minute.

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