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That ''stupid clown'' was not on display at the Ronald McDonald houses where she stayed, petition organiser Jacqui Hellyer says.
Mrs Hellyer, of Dunedin, attended the Southern District Health Board's commissioner meeting yesterday to present her online petition, which attracted nearly 12,400 signatures.
She said the stance adopted by the DHB's public health arm was insulting to parents.
Citing concerns about fast food promotion, Public Health South has opposed the idea of a Ronald McDonald facility in the rebuilt Dunedin Hospital.
Mrs Hellyer, whose petition urged the SDHB to change its stance, said parents were ''not stupid'' and knew what was good for their children.
''Those parents that think that fast food is an acceptable daily diet for their children, no advertising or branding, or lack of [it], is going to change that.''
Branding was not overt in the houses.
''In fact I don't even remember seeing that stupid clown there.''
Plaques in the houses freely acknowledged the contribution of other sponsors, not just McDonald's, she said.
She had stayed in houses in Auckland and Christchurch with her daughter.
She especially appreciated the service at Starship Hospital, in Auckland, where, hailing from ''hick Dunedin'', she had not known anyone.
Commissioner Kathy Grant thanked Mrs Hellyer and pointed out the DHB itself had not taken a stance on the matter.
The board was consulting its clinical and community health councils on the need for dedicated family/whanau space in the new hospital.