NZ Govt won't follow UK sugar tax


The Government is ruling out a sugar tax, but health experts say it has to be a consideration if they're to take childhood obesity seriously.

It follows a shock announcement by the UK to introduce a levy in 2018, now the pressure's on for New Zealand to do the same.

But the New Zealand Government isn't convinced.

"Our position on a sugar tax hasn't changed -- it's not something we're actively considering," says Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.

"We'll continue to keep a watching brief on the emerging evidence."

Nutrition expert, Cliona Ni Mhurchu, says that's not good enough.

"If New Zealand is serious about tackling childhood obesity it is absolutely something that should be on the table and should be being actively discussed."

Doctors, health researchers, and a public health lobby group have this afternoon joined the call for the government to follow the lead of the British government, but our Government's sticking fast to its line that the evidence isn't sufficient.

Newshub spoke with sugary-drink addict, Charmain Leota-Lu, who said she's giving up for the sake of her son and thinks putting up the price is a good idea.

"Definitely, for me yes it would, it is something I want to get away from permanently."

The British government announced a tax on sugary soft drinks will be introduced in two years' time, in order to tackle childhood obesity and the money raised will go towards sports in schools.

The tax will go on soft drinks with more than 5 grams of sugar per 100ml, with a higher charge on those with 8 grams or more -- a can of fizzy drink will go up in price about 17 cents.

It excludes natural fruit juices with no added sugar and milk-based drinks.