Meat and dairy tax ‘lunacy’

An Auckland University report which has advocated additional taxes on some of the most commonly-farmed items has been labelled as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘lunacy’ by industry groups.
The report calls for a 20% flat rate tax on bread; breakfast cereals; processed meat; fresh beef, lamb, hogget, and poultry; all take-away foods; butter; cakes; biscuits; cheese; cream; pies; pizza; sauces and condiments; milk; ice cream; yoghurt; and eggs.
The University’s press statement says that “Maori and low-income New Zealanders are most likely to benefit from these policies”.
Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says “We are dumfounded that ivory tower academics could think that taxing staple foods will help the poor.
“We had to call Auckland University to check that this wasn’t a hoax. They even want to tax fresh milk, eggs, and meat.”
“Ramping up taxes on basic staples under an arrogant guise of helping the poor is surely a cruel joke. Pulling numbers from secret computer model and boldly claiming that it will be the amount of ‘lives saved’ is political advocacy, not academic research.”
The report has been labelled lunacy by NZ Food and Grocery Council Chief Executive Katherine Rich.
“Over the past two years, the Universities of Otago and Auckland have called for new food taxes on salt, fizzy, sugar generally, fat and saturated fat.
“But what’s new in today’s announcement, and buried in the small print, is a 20% extra tax on the staple foods that New Zealand families rely on – bread, breakfast cereals, eggs, cheese, milk, beef and lamb.
“These foods are an important part of a healthy and balanced diet for most New Zealanders.
“The academics’ computer modelling might look sophisticated and compelling in theory, but it’s a computer model. The number of lives they claim will be saved by introducing such a tax is just a prediction.
“What is not a prediction is that slapping taxes on will not change people’s eating or drinking habits unless those taxes are very high. This has been proven around the world.”

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