Labour looks like it favours a sugar tax

Stuff reports:

is apparently close to endorsing a tax on sugary drinks – with health spokeswoman Annette King saying there is growing evidence and support for such a measure.

Once again Labour looks to steal a policy from the Greens and move further to the left.

The commission – co-chaired by the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser Professor Sir Peter Gluckman – cited research by Mexican health officials on the 10 per cent surcharge on sugary drinks that was introduced there three years ago.

Health advocates and some Mexican senators are now urging for that tax to be doubled, as sales of fizzy drinks have largely recovered after an initial drop.

So the tax has failed, which means the activists demand it be increased. If the tax reduces consumption they will demand it be retained as working, and if it fails to reduce consumption they demand it be doubled!

And as it happens the focus is on the wrong thing. If you want to reduce you need to reduce calories, not just one small source (1.6% on average) of calories.

In NZ even if a reduced consumption of soda drinks by 10% (being generous) it would reduce average daily calories by 3 a day!! Now the activists will argue obese people drink more soda drinks that the average. So let us again be generous and assume an obese person drinks twice as much as the average. They will consume six fewer calories a day!

And this is all dependent on a third generous assumption – that there is no substitution.

So how long does it take for a sugar tax to get someone who is obese to be non-obese?

Well if we make the three generous assumptions of:

  1. A sugar tax will reduce soda consumption by 10%
  2. An obese person drinks twice as many sodas as the average person
  3. There will be zero substitution

The sugar tax will take 64 years to get an obese person non-obese!!

Remember this when Labour announces their support for a new tax.

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