New Zealand Needs Tax On Junk Food

June 9, 2014 Taxation in New Zealand

WELLINGTON – Enough evidence and research now exists to show that taxes are an effective method of fighting obesity, and the New Zealand government should implement such a measure to health improve the health of citizens.

On June 9th the New Zealand Medical Association published a new report with suggestions for steps to be taken to address the country’s worsening obesity epidemic, and called for the government to thoroughly consider using taxes and tax breaks to encourage consumers to improve their diets.

According to the experts of the Association, in the past there has not been enough evidence to prove that taxes are an effective means of influencing which foods consumers eat, but over the last few years enough academic and real-world evidence has been collected to show suggest that “…taxation on unhealthy foods is the single most cost-effective approach to tackling obesity.”

The Association especially called on the government to give priority to establishing a tax on the sale of sugar sweetened beverages, as such a measure would have one of the most significant positive impacts on the fight against obesity.

Alongside the taxes penalizing unhealthy foods, the Association suggested that the government of New Zealand should also implement a series of tax breaks on vegetables and other healthy products, in order to even out the relative price difference between cheap and readily available junks foods, and their healthier alternatives.

New Zealand has recently been ranked as the fourth most obese country in the world, with more than a third of all adults being classified as overweight.

Photo by: Steven Depolo