The Government is moving closer towards the idea of a sugar tax with documents revealing that health officials are actively investigating it. This is despite Health Minister David Clark categorically stating he wasn’t working on a tax.
“These revelations show Labour doesn’t trust New Zealanders to make decisions for themselves and wants to assume responsibility for them”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“New Zealanders can’t live independent lives if they are protected from their own actions by the government. People should instead be empowered to make good decisions.
“A sugar tax would punish the majority of responsible New Zealanders for the sins of an irresponsible minority.
“It was completely disingenuous for David Clark to say in September last year: ‘This Government has ruled out any new taxes in this term of office and so we're not working on that’, referring to a sugar tax.
“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.’
“He should come clean and tell New Zealanders what he has planned.
The Ministry of Health is also considering minimum prices for junk food and restrictions on advertising and portion sizes.
“Sugar taxes hit low-income people harder, given they 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.
“If David Clark respects New Zealanders’ right to make decisions for themselves, he will dump this idea.”