The Government isn’t fazed by a group of health professors lobbying to introduce a tax on sugary drinks.
The professors want Cabinet to introduce a 20 per cent excise tax on sugary drinks, which they say would generate $30-$40 million that could go towards obesity prevention programmes.
Basically they want this tax to fund their own work.
Sugary drinks make up on average 1.6% of daily calories. A tax on them would achieve nothing expect more money for the Government.
Our levels of sugar in drinks has been decreasing, while obesity has been increasing. Not surprising when they represent such a small proportion of energy.
Labour leader Andrew Little said the issue was wider than soft drinks and the country needed “to come to grips with total sugar content” in a number of foods.
Yes – Little is right on this.
At the party’s annual conference in November deputy leader and health spokeswoman Annette King set out plans to make it clear to industry to cut the sugar content in foods but ruled out a sugar tax.
On Sunday Little said getting food producers to label products more carefully and making sure they reduce the sugar content was the priority and if they didn’t co-operate there were other tools.
Sugar in food and drink has been reducing. It would be good to reduce more, but ultimately consumers should be making informed choices – not having the Government decide for them.