John Roughan on the troughers sugar tax proposals

John Roughan challenges the troughers promoting sugar taxes:

Like rust, the researchers of public health keep trying to corrode our tax system. Like rust, they never sleep. They were at it again this week, holding a “fizz” conference at Auckland University in the hope of persuading political parties to put a tax on soft drinks in their platform for the coming election.

Yup, they are engaging in politics and political debate, all while on the teat of the taxpayer.

Moreover they can’t provide any real world evidence that such a tax would even work much less make fat bastards lose weight.

In fact the man from the Opportunities Party said, “Why stop there? We want a junk food tax. We want to tax saturated fats, those salts, those sugars…”. Bless him, he illustrated exactly why this is not a good idea.

Of course he would say that, guess who is advising them…and has signed up…that’s right, one of the troughers suing me. If we are to have a tax it should be a fat bastard tax, when the fat bastard gets taxed directly for being a fat bastard. Worse, this same trougher cries long and hard about the “chill effect” of criticism but burst into print themselves running ad hominem attacks against their critics while at the same time running legal arguments that being called a trougher is defamation and is silencing them, despite attending dozens of conferences as key note speakers since initiating legal action. My argument was they are engaging in political debate and the real chill effect is using defamation laws to silence critics.

An economist with a self-appointed “Taxpayers’ Union” argued in the Herald on Wednesday that sugar taxes had not reduced sugar consumption in countries that have them, notably Mexico and Denmark, though he conceded they were very good at raising revenue for governments because people keep buying sweet treats regardless.

Boyd Swinburn, professor of population nutrition and global health at Auckland University, replied in yesterday’s paper, calling the Taxpayers’ Union “a virtual front for the sugary drinks corporate taxpayers”, and citing research published last week from Edinburgh University that concluded a health tax can reduce consumption of an unhealthy product if it increases the price by 20 per cent or more.

Really? A $2 drink will not be bought at $2.40? I simply don’t believe it.

Perhaps Jordan Williams should sue Boyd Swinburn for that outrageous defamatory attack. Still it is better than being labelled as part of a “toxic trio”, which Swinburn seems to think is perfectly ok but trougher is not.

The only tax we need is a fat bastard tax.


-NZ Herald

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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.  And 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 that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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