Apparently a NZ sugar tax is coming

Boyd Swindleburn

Boyd Swindleburn

According to Professor Boyd Swinburn a sugar fat bastard tax is inevitable, just not under a National Government.

Appearing on Paul Henry to discuss what is needed to stop child obesity in New Zealand, Boyd Swinburn is still whinging on about a letter he sent to the government months ago calling on a sugar fat bastard tax.

Sadly, Boyd Swinburn and his followers are upset that his theoretical modelling efforts aren’t being noticed. The usual line of taxes worked for tobacco therefore it must work for sugar, is another line not being swallowed by government.

And not surprisingly.

Even arts, travel and lifestyle blogger David Farrar has taken the call for a sugar tax to task.  

It does make you wonder why Paul Henry would bother having Boyd Swinburn take up valuable air time when the Government told the troughers way back on 3 April that they were not persuaded by health professors lobbying to introduce a sugar tax.

These public health troughers are not happy about the sway of the latest sales data out of Mexico, reported in the Wall Street Journal, that shows a sugar tax increased sale of sugary drinks.  Pity Paul Henry didn’t challenge Boyd Swinburn over what seems quite a key fact.

But you do have to give it to Paul Henry. Having images of donuts right behind the man determined to see new taxes brought against every man, woman and child in New Zealand is priceless.

If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. If fat bastards don’t want to be stigmatised, then the solution is literally in their own hands… put down the fork and spoon and stop stuffing your gaping maw with food.


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  • sheppy

    Given that the ticker on Paul Henry keeps saying John Key is at his lowest popularity ever, and the headlines are about people beleiving that foreign buyers are putting up house prices, it appears that the lefties must be firmly back in charge.
    So let’s all look forward to nanny statism being forced down our throats for a while. Sugar Taxes, other taxes, why don’t they just take everyone’s money and rename the place to Venezuela….

  • Quinton Hogg

    I like the evidence based approach.
    “We think it is bad so tax it” is not good policy.
    Also why tax some sugars instead of all sugars.
    When i do the weekly shop with my wife i have started looking at the label on the back of various products. The sugar content in some, particularly fruit juices – apple and the like is higher than coke or other fizzy drinks. Canned goods such as baked beans/spaggetti are up there as well.
    If Prof Swinburn was being honest he would take a look at the impact of those other sugar sources as well.

    • Rebecca

      Agreed. Sucrose or other additives like high fructose corn syrup, are all over the place these days. I have asked why: apparently it’s because manufacturers say we consumers will punish products that are less saccharine than the competitors’. Even toothpaste apparently has to be sweet- not sugar, but check the sweetener additives. Reviewing common foods for sweeteners (or preservatives) is quite an eye-opener.

      So perhaps that’s the challenge for Boyd: start a community meme that we don’t need sugar added to everything and we don’t expect everything to be sweet. Turn it around: tell manufacturers that we voluntarily avoid products laden with sugar, artificial sweeteners or fat additives that we don’t need.

  • localnews

    I think he is wasting his time pushing this angle. He should try pushing for compulsory health insurance. That would result in the costs resting with those who have an issue with sugar, or pies or beer. Individualised and solves his problem. Much better than taxing everyone

  • bobby

    The reason to ignore Swinburn is that about 15 years ago his idea was a tax on high salt foods… .and then about 10 years ago he was promoting a tax on saturated fats. When someone’s policy ideas always amount to basically “tax it” you know they really need to take a flying leap.

    In the social media era of desperate attention-grabbing scientists/researchers have learned to jump in with both feet to get any acknowledgement for their work. For topics which so few people actually care about orchestrating scare-tactic media campaigns to set the tone of policy discussion is the only way these guys feel like they can get any recognition of their efforts. “Tax it” is a great attention-grabber because it affects everyone, hence everyone pays attention. It doesn’t make it a good idea.