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Taxing fruit & veges hurting families


25 August 2008

Taxing fruit & veges hurting families

The Family Party is continuing its call for Government to remove GST off basic food groups and fuel to help families cope.

According to Statistics NZ food prices continue to climb, with an increase of 0.6 percent in the July 2008 month. The increase was mainly due to higher prices for the fruit and vegetables subgroup (up 3.6 percent).

For the year to July 2008, food prices rose 7.6 percent. All five subgroups recorded upward contributions to the annual increase, with the most significant being the grocery food subgroup (up 11.2 percent). Within this subgroup, the main contributions came from higher prices for bread (up 19.6 percent), cheddar cheese (up 59.3 percent), butter (up 89.4 percent), and fresh milk (up 10.2 percent).

At its May Conference the Family Party announced its policy to remove GST off basic food groups (fruit and vegetables), household energy and fuel.

"In the face of continued price increases, it's vital now more than ever that the Government ensures basic living necessities remain within reach of New Zealand families. Today that is not the case. It's simply unjust and unfair for Government to continue taxing families on items their children depend upon to live and grow up healthy," says Mr Lewis.

He compares the cost of Government collecting $51 million in GST income from fruit and vegetables against the annual costs attributed to obesity of $247.1 million (2001), diabetes (estimated at $280 million) and coronary artery disease, estimated at $306 - $467 million.

"What we refuse to invest into families now, in terms of removing the GST factor on basic foods and living necessities, we will be forced to pay many times over downstream due to ill health," he added.


ENDS

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