Sunday, 5 May 2019

Clark misleading New Zealanders over sugar tax

The Health Minister continues to mislead New Zealanders over plans for a sugar tax, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“David Clark is reported today as saying the Government has no plans for a sugar tax. However, documents obtained by ACT reveal that the Ministry of Health is actively working on the idea.

“The Minister said in September last year: ‘we're not working on that’, referring to a sugar tax. But just a few months earlier, his officials told him they were ‘scoping work to explore the feasibility and impacts of regulatory options such as a sugar tax.’

“Dr Clark needs to come clean and tell New Zealanders what he is planning.

“A sugar tax would represent the worst kind of nanny statism. The Government needs to respect New Zealanders’ freedom to make decisions for themselves.

“Sugar taxes are regressive. They hit low-income earners harder because the poor spend a greater proportion of their income on food and drink.

“They’re also ineffective. NZIER’s report for the Ministry of Health looked at the most recent evidence on sugar taxes from around the world and couldn’t find evidence that any sugar tax had led to improvements in health.

“A sugar tax would punish the majority of responsible New Zealanders for the sins of an irresponsible minority. People should instead be empowered to make good decisions.

“If David Clark respects New Zealanders’ freedom to make decisions for themselves, and looks at the evidence, he will dump this idea.”