Thank God Woodhouse is not in charge of Health as Coleman says “no” to Sugar Tax

Jonathan Coleman has told the health busy-bodies to go stick their suggestions over a sugar tax.

The Government isn’t fazed  by a group of health professors lobbying to introduce a tax on sugary drinks.

A group of more than 70 health academics from various New Zealand universities want more to be done about the country’s high rate of childhood obesity – the fourth highest in the world.

They say the Government’s action plan of “22 soft strategies that was launched last year with no extra funding” won’t do anything to change the problem.

The group is urging Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to implement a “significant tax” on sugary drinks – the number two recommendation that came out of a report by the World Health Organisation Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.

But Coleman says the Government’s position hasn’t changed and the professors are on a “different page”.

“There is still no evidence a tax would actually decrease obesity,” he said.

“There is no simple answer otherwise people would have tried it.”

Coleman will this month travel to Geneva to endorse the Commission’s recommendations and the professors are calling for him to go one step further and implement a tax on sugary drinks.

The group agrees that the “evidence supporting sugary drinks taxes is stronger than the evidence for any of the 22 strategies in the government’s existing plan”.

The professors want Cabinet to introduce a 20 per cent excise tax on sugary drinks, which they say would generate $30-$40 million that could go towards obesity prevention programmes.

Tobacco isn’t like sugar, for a start there is no substitution effect. You either pay the tax or stop smoking.

But what these wombles want is for everyone to pay the tax whether they are a fat bastard or not. That simply isn’t fair on skinny people.

Thankfully it appears Labour is against it too…though it appears no one has told Tamati Coffey about this.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the issue was wider than soft drinks and the country needed “to come to grips with total sugar content” in a number of foods.

At the party’s annual conference in November deputy leader and health spokeswoman Annette King set out plans to make it clear to industry to cut the sugar content in foods but ruled out a sugar tax.

On Sunday Little said getting food producers to label products more carefully and making sure they reduce the sugar content was the priority and if they didn’t co-operate there were other tools.

Coleman said it was telling that Labour aren’t backing a sugar tax either.

The Green lunatics support it though…but when have they ever thought a new tax was a bad idea?

I still believe that a Fat Bastard Tax is the way to go.


– Fairfax

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.