“Health Minister Andrew Little has refused to rule out introducing a sugar tax,” says ACT Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Labour promised no new taxes. But this morning when asked about a sugar tax on Newshub Nation, Little said there are public health issues that need to be addressed and work is being done.

“Labour’s manifesto specifically says no news taxes. But we’ve already seen a car tax, a extension of the Brightline Tax and the Interest Deductability changes have proven to be a tax grab.

“Labour needs to start being up front with voters. What’s next? A tax on sausages and bread?

“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 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.

“Andrew Little should respect New Zealanders’ freedom to make decisions for themselves and remember Labour’s election promise.”