Greens keen on Gareth’s fat tax

Not content with heralding the economic and agricultural miracle of North Korea, is also promoting their healthy food, as Eric Crampton reports from an offline Press article:

He’s barely off the plane after a 40,000-kilometre ride across Russia and Korea. Controversy trailed after him like his billowing motorcycle exhaust, with critics accusing him of becoming a propaganda pawn on his six-year-in-the-planning tour of North Korea.

But he’s still gushing about the experience, and how he lost 6kg in the absence of the processed food – “crap basically” – that dominates the New Zealand food supply. That and the fact there was less food in general, and the wine was terrible. 

There it’s all whole food, that fills you up, takes longer to eat and delivers more nutrients for less energy.

And there, in a nutshell, is the thrust of Morgan’s new book, Appetite for Destruction, co-written with offsider Geoff Simmons. Fake food, he says, is killing us.

Actually it was in North Korea where millions died of starvation.

I’m staggered media still report Gareth as an expert on everything. Is there any topic at all on which he is not an expert?

But he has allies. The Greens like his idea of a fat tax.

The would support an investigation into how a ‘’ on processed food in New Zealand’s supermarkets could be imposed.

But the government has dismissed the idea, saying it would add to the burden of families in tight economic times.

Why stop at a fax tax. I await them to announce subsidies for vegetables and a ban on food they disapprove of.

Kevin Hague, Green Party spokesperson on health and wellbeing, said he would be interested to read Mr Morgan’s new book as it sounded similar to party policy on combating obesity.

Clear front labelling of unhealthy ingredients and a traffic-light type classification system is a “no-brainer”, said Mr Hague.

We already have extensive labelling. A traffic-light system sounds appealing due to its simplicity, but the problem is it is simple. Milk gets a red light and diet coke and popcorn a green light.

An article explains that  flour, bread and pasts get green lights despite high carbs and lot nutrition. Also:

A bag of sugar, with no nutritional value whatsoever, would get green lights for fat, saturated fat and salt – an obvious red light for sugar. Sweets generally would get green lights for fat, saturated fat and salt. They would get red lights for sugar only – appearing healthier overall than olives and sunflower seeds on first sight.

Back to the fax tax:

In 2011, Denmark introduced a tax on butter, meat, cheese, pizza, oil and processed food that contained more than 2.3 per cent saturated fat, but withdrew it a year later due to difficulty in implementing it.

There was no difficultly in implementing it. It failed. It did not change eating habits, it destroyed jobs and led to a boon in purchasing from other countries. It did however bring in extra money for the Danish Government.

You never hear proponents of these extra taxes say that they’ll use them to reduce other tax rates such as income tax. No – it is all about  revenue grab.

However, the Greens would support an investigation into how to design an effective processed food tax.

I bet they would.

“Spending on prevention of obesity should be the absolute priority for any health minister.”

The absolute priority? Not cancer treatments? Not rheumatic fever? Not maternity services? Not life saving surgery? Not quality A&E Departments. The absolute priority for the Health Minister should be telling people what food choices they should make?

That says volumes about the world-view of the Greens.


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