$11 million researcher pimps tax increases

Both the Herald and Stuff are pimping the lines of Cliona Ni Mhurchu calling for 20% taxes on fat, salt, essentially all foods including dairy, meat and poultry.

Let?s take a look at this, particularly as Cliona Ni Mhurchu has tucked into more than $11 million dollars of funding for her research projects.

First there?s the usual academic charade of the study?s authors to make it sound more authoritative.

?A flat tax of 20 per cent on major dietary sources of saturated fat alone could prevent up to 1500 early deaths, the research – resulting from a joint study between Auckland, Otago and Oxford Universities – finds.

Here?s what happens. One academic comes up with an idea and drafts a report presenting their work. To make it more credible among fellow academics, they need to get more academic names attached to it. So the lead author pimps out the paper to known associates within the academic world who, in turn, are more than happy to put their names to it (and the universities they?re working at) thereby giving the effect that the research looks as though it?s backed by lots of academics/universities.

In turn these other academics then pimp out the paper as one of their own and as being ?published? and add it to their bios to puff themselves up even more full of self importance.

But back to this ?new research?. ??

Aside from the overly melodramatic and misleading headings, a key fact seems to escape these obesity troughers ? actual behaviours of the people they want to hit with more tax.

?The research showed a 20 percent subsidy on fruit and vegetables could prevent or postpone about 560 deaths a year, while a 20 per cent tax on major dietary sources of saturated fat could prevent 1500 deaths per year.

The same tax on major sources of dietary salt could see about 2000 deaths prevented each year.

A 20 per cent tax on major food group contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, such as dairy, meat and poultry, could prevent 1200 deaths annually, while combining taxes on saturated fat and salt with a fruit and vegetable subsidy could prevent about 2400 deaths.?

What do they actually think will happen if these taxes were actually introduced? Clearly they?ve not heard of a thing called substitution behaviour as consumers switch to lower priced goods.

They obviously don?t want to talk about another little problem with their Master Plan ? how would all this tax be enforced, administrated and the associated costs that would come with their single minded focus on taxing Kiwis more.

Cliona Ni Mhurchu doesn?t seem too concerned by that, instead focusing on what they believe will be the consumption reducing and revenue gathering economic impacts of the ?intervention? they?re pimping out to the media.

Cliona Ni Mhurchu also doesn?t seem too fussed with the impact of a 20% tax on Kiwis with lower incomes or those on a fixed budget. When you?ve tucked into $11 million dollars of funding and are happily ensconced in the academic ivory tower of Auckland University who cares about the little people.

And this brings me to another key point.? These academic troughers have sat in their ivory towers reseaching their computers creating models of people?s behaviour.

Hell, why not thow in something about climate change and get some brownie points with the Green Taliban so you become their pet academics. Oh wait, they have:

?A 20 per cent tax on the major food groups that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions produced a 4 per cent mortality reduction.?

Whoops what?s this, a tax would lead to a decrease in vegetable purchases?

“The sodium [salt] tax would reduce sodium but would also result in a small increase in saturated fat purchases and a small decrease in vegetable purchases,” said one of the authors, Professor Cliona Ni Murchu, of Auckland University, “but there was still a net benefit.”

Oh dear, that?s not on message.

For the last few weeks we?ve seen these troughers wade into the media pimping their calls for more taxes.

They?re not happy with Health Minister Jonathan Coleman telling them to go and get knotted, and are now using the media to lobby the government for their wants.

The media works both ways.

Time once again for some good old fashioned WhaleOil sunlight into these troughers.

Of course what is extra hilarious is the day the media decide to pimp the $11 million trougher and her “findings” is the same day that the Taxpayers’ Union busts their chops for making shit up.


– A newspaper, Fairfax