Tackling obesity tops the Government’s priority list – but it says punishing sugar lovers with a tax is not the answer.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman saidon Sunday there was no evidence a sugar tax worked and further regulation was not the answer to New Zealand’s obesity problem. He conceded, however, that action was needed on the way sugar-loaded products were marketed to consumers but the Government believed voluntary action by the food industry was the answer.
“Marketing is an issue but we’ve got to work with the industry to turn that around and if you look at the Advertising Standards Authority guidelines, which the industry has signed up to, there’s been major changes over time,” Coleman told TVNZ’s Q+A programme.
But the Government’s major focus was on exercise, portion control and the diets of pregnant women. The Prime Minister’s chief science adviser Sir Peter Gluckman was at the forefront of some of that work.
“All my discussions with Sir Peter have been around the intervention around the perinatal period (the period immediately before and after birth) … and that’s what the medical evidence is starting to show is very important. That and exercise and education,” Coleman said.
“Not this fixation with advertising and sugar taxes.”
Good. The activists want a sugar tax, a fat tax, a soda drink tax etc etc. No end to what they want to tax.