Fizz symposium an expensive taxpayer funded talkfest
The Taxpayers’ Union is calling for more accountability from those using taxpayer money to scaremonger and lobby for sugar taxes after the campaign group “Fizz” refused to disclose how much taxpayer money its campaign is swallowing. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:
“Despite their claims of academic transparency, the group is refusing to disclose the amount of taxpayer support it has received from the numerous government funded bodies listed on its website."
“The agenda and list of attendees confirms the suspicion that rather than achieving scientific balance this group is preaching to a choir of taxpayer funded campaigners. Despite claiming to be about science the speakers' topics are focused at political campaigning for a sugar tax. Last year they even flew-in fat kids from America to talk about obesity in front of media.”
“We were most surprised to see that among officials attending is someone from the Defence Force. No one would doubt that better science in this area is a good thing, but Ministers should be asking why their departments are paying to attend what amounts to a political conference."
Last year the Taxpayers’ Union exposed the Fizz group for falsely claiming the support of the New Zealand Health Research Council for its equivalent pro-sugar tax conference. In July the Taxpayers’ Union briefing paper on sugar taxes, Fizzed Out: Why a sugar tax won’t curb obesity, is available for download here. It’s key findings were:
• Only 1.6 per cent of New Zealanders' total energy intake comes from the added sugar content of sugar sweetened non-alcoholic beverages
• New Zealanders' consumption of sugar and sugar sweetened beverages is trending downward
• New Zealanders are still getting fatter despite consuming less calories, suggesting that we’re not burning as many calories
• Sugar taxes hurt the poor and do not result in the decreased consumption tax-supporters claim
• Similar taxes overseas have not worked - Mexico’s tax on soda resulted in no decrease in consumption, despite recent claims to the contrary by New Zealand campaigners