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Don’t do it, Peeni: Sugar tax will make us poor, miserable

Responding to Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare’s statement that New Zealand still ought to consider a tax on sugar, New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says:

“Taxes on sugary drinks are ineffective at actually improving health, as sugary drinks make up only a small portion of the calories we consume, and if they are taxed we are able to substitute them for other sources of sugar. The tax would also be regressive, disproportionately affecting the budgets of the poorest New Zealanders.”

“New Zealanders are already well aware that sugar is unhealthy. When we consume sugar, it’s because the enjoyment of it makes it worth the risk.”

“Ultimately, a sugar tax would make people poorer and more miserable. We do not need any more taxes, least of all the day after the Finance Minister announced the largest government surplus in 10 years. Instead, the Government should prioritise tax relief to give people the budget flexibility to eat more healthily.”

Last year, the Taxpayers’ Union released The Bitter Truth: Why don't sugar taxes work?. The report references research relevant to the points above.

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