New Zealand Mulls Sugar Tax

April 20, 2015 Taxation in New Zealand

WELLINGTON – The New Zealand government hopes to tackle the country’s obesity problem through taxes on unhealthy foods.

The government of New Zealand is eyeing up the implementation of a tax on sugary soft drinks and other unhealthy foods, according to new information release by the national Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman late last week.

The announcement came during the Minister’s launch of the upcoming Healthy families New Zealand initiative, which aims to improve the lifestyles and health of New Zealanders through education, community programs, and potential financial incentives.

The Minister specifically said that the government now needs to look at the potential impact and feasibility of levying a tax on sugar laden beverages, a move which has recently been implemented in several countries, and is starting to gain popular support among academics and healthcare advocates.

He added that other legislative measures could include the enactment of restrictions on the marketing of junk food.

However over the weekend the proposed tax has garnered criticism from some taxation groups, claiming that worldwide evidence has shown that lifestyles and health do not improve through the taxation of inelastic products like sugary drinks or fatty foods.

It is currently estimated that approximately a quarter of all adults in New Zealand are overwieght.

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