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Half of Sugar Tax Conference Devoted to Political Advocacy

Half of Two Day Sugar Tax Conference Devoted to Political Advocacy

The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming a group of academics who appear to be using taxpayer funds for political advocacy and pushing for a tax on sugar. The group of academics, calling themselves ‘Fizz' are meeting in Auckland from today.

"Despite the public comments that this conference is about science, half of the two day programme is devoted to political advocacy," says Executive Director of the union, Jordan Williams.

Yesterday the Taxpayers’ Union revealed that the Fizz group was falsely claiming the endorsement of the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC). The HRC required Fizz to remove the HRC logo from promotional material. Though the HRC has provided support for research work to some of those who are involved in Fizz, it does not support Fizz's political type activity.

"It appears that Fizz organiser, Dr Gerhard Sundborn, is using the taxpayer funding from an HRC fellowship to aide the political messages of the Fizz group.”

"Fizz is using taxpayer money that should be for science, for political purposes. If Dr Sundborn and others want to push for a sugar tax like those that have failed overseas, they should use their own money, not taxpayers’."

Questionable science:

Some of the speakers' topics as listed on the Fizz conference programme:

• An endgame to SSBs in NZ by 2025?

• Lessons learned from advocacy experience

• Recruiting media to mobilise public support

• Reducing obesity in NZ – ‘soft-drink tax’


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