Home Focus Tax tobacco, tax unhealthy foods, Winston Peters says

Tax tobacco, tax unhealthy foods, Winston Peters says

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters has unhealthy food in his sights, saying "consumption Nazis" should apply taxes to those to cut obesity.

By Lucy Bennett

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters during his weekly post-Cabinet press conference at Parliament, Wellington.

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters has unhealthy food in his sights, saying “consumption Nazis” should apply taxes to those to cut obesity.

Peters was speaking this morning about comments he made yesterday about excise on tobacco products and whether it worked to reducing smoking rates.

He disagreed with Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking that taxing tobacco products reduced smoking rates.

“If it’s a good idea, why aren’t we taxing massively certain foods, because the No.1 tsunami of health problems we’ve got coming is to do with obesity,” Peters said.

“If we’re going to be consumption Nazis then why don’t we apply it to those sort of things as well.”

Peters said he was not advocating for a sugar tax, but it worked in other countries.

“Do you know of a society that’s got a tsunami of obesity problems coming as bad our society. We’d be in the worst three in the world.”

Peters suggested that although he would like to reduce the amount of tax on tobacco, it would reduce the amount of revenue needed by the Government for other projects.

Tobacco excise brings in close to $2 billion for the Government each year.

“We can’t fix everything up at once because we’d be straight away probably down a billion dollars in taxation at a time when we’ve got so many deficits all around the country in every area of infrastructure,” he said.

Peters told reporters yesterday that the high price of tobacco was leading to murders and assaults at dairies.

A KPMG report commissioned by Imperial Tobacco found that the Government lost up to $182 million in excise from the 9 per cent of tobacco that had been obtained illegally in 2017.

It said eight years of “aggressive” excise increases contributed to illicit tobacco consumption.

“The attractiveness of the illicit market will continue to grow over the next two years as further legislated annual 10 per cent increases on tobacco excise drive the legitimate market retail prices higher,” said Imperial Tobacco New Zealand’s general manager Sam Abbott.

Source: NZ Herald

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