Food Taxes Will Save Lives in New Zealand

July 9, 2015 Taxation in New Zealand

WELLINGTON – Thousands of New Zealanders will enjoy a healthier lifestyle if new taxes were implemented on foods rich in saturated fats or salts.

According to information in a new study published in the international journal PLOS ONE, imposing a tax on unhealthy food in New Zealand, while simultaneously providing subsidies for fruits and vegetables could lead to the prevention or postponement of approximately 2 400 deaths per year.

It was found that implementing a tax of 20 percent on foods containing saturated fats could help save at least 1 500 lives per year, and a similar tax on dietary salts could save 2 000 lives.

Conversely, enacting a target subsidy on the sale of fruits and vegetables would lead to the prevention of 560 deaths per year.

Cumulatively the taxes would overlap to save a total of 2 400 lives.

The positive effects of the tax hikes and subsidies would have the most notable effect on low-income families, as they are the most reactive to changes in food prices.

Implementing the new taxes would also have the secondary benefits of leading to a reduction in greenhouse gases.

Photo By: Masahiro Ihara