First they pushed to tax soft drinks. Now public health advocates want a salt tax slapped on everything from hot chips to cheese.
In a paper published in the Plos One international journal, Otago University of Wellington academics, including health experts and economists, argue we need to be weaned off our salt-heavy diet.
This could include limiting supply of salt, enforcing salt reductions, or taxing the ingredient before it is even added to your food.
The food industry has quickly bagged the proposals, claiming they would hit the poorest hardest.
“The same academics have called for fat taxes, sugar taxes and now a tax on salt. These are all regressive taxes that hit the poor hardest,” Food & Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich said.
Won’t stop there. There is no end to the things they want to tax or ban.
But associate professor Nick Wilson, a co-author of the report, said by reducing salt consumption of the average New Zealander from 1.5 to 1 teaspoon a day, people could gain decades of life and save the health system $1.1 billion over a generation.
Note the could. In reality it won’t reduce salt consumption at all, and just result in hundreds of millions in new taxes to fund the public health activists.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said he had not yet seen the research, but added: “We have no plans to introduce a salt tax. We see the Government’s role as providing information and support for people on healthy eating.
Also the Taxpayers’ Union calculated:
Research by the Taxpayers’ Union indicates that the $450 million tax revenue suggested by Otago University Associate Professor Nick Wilson from a salt tax would result in a 2,500% increase in the price of salt for Kiwi consumers.
Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:
“The vast majority of the salt manufactured in New Zealand is used for pharmaceutical and agricultural purposes, with only around 30,000 tonnes being used for food products. Professor Wilson’s $450 million over 30,000 tonnes is $15,000 in tax per tonne. A tonne of food grade salt is currently worth around $600 in the wholesale market.”