Newshub-Reid Research poll: Majority of Kiwis want GST removed from food

As the cost of living crisis deepens, the latest Newshub Reid Research poll has found more than three quarters of New Zealanders want the government to remove GST from food. 

Food prices have skyrocketed in the past year - 7.6 percent higher in March 2022 than March 2021 - the highest annual increase in more than a decade. 

Asked, "Would you support removing GST from food?" 76.6 percent said yes, while just 18.5 percent said no. The rest didn't know.

Newshub-Reid Research poll: Majority of Kiwis want GST removed from food
Photo credit: Newshub.

Te Pāti Māori proposed the policy in March saying the goods and services tax (GST) was a regressive tax that targets lower income whānau. 

"Food is a right and a necessity. Getting rid of GST on food should be a no-brainer for this Government if they are serious about helping struggling whānau. Especially Māori whānau, who traditionally have more mouths to feed," co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said.

Most food is exempt from the United Kingdom’s version of the tax with the exception of the likes of fizzy drinks and lollies. 

Australia has exempted some food from their goods and services tax, however there are specially prescribed rules as to what food it applies to. For example, bread rolls are GST-free unless they are sold in a restaurant.

Labour campaigned on removing GST on fruit and vegetables in 2011 but the policy was later scrapped. Labour leader Jacinda Ardern confirmed in 2017 that the party had no further plans to pursue it.

The Tax Working Group reported that removing GST from food and drink would have a greater benefit for higher income households than lower income households. It would save families in the bottom decile of income roughly $15 a week while families in the highest decile would save $53 a week, the group said.