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Bobsledding down the sugary slope

It’s interesting to peruse the list of policy recommendations coming from New Zealand’s public health academics. I’ll summarise, but do check the link above. I’m really not exaggerating here.

  • Reduce retail availability of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs);
  • SSB excise (hypothecated to healthy school lunches and education programmes);
  • Marketing restrictions on SSBs and junk food;
  • Prohibit SSB sales in all organisations receiving government funding or on government-owned land;
  • Ban SSB sales within 1km of schools;
  • Local governments ban sales of SSBs in Council facilities or on Council-owned land (presumably this would include all the CCO-owned sporting facilities);
  • Tertiary education organisations banning SSB sales on campus;
  • NZ Defence Force ban SSB sales on military bases, as “some of these bases have children living on them”.
  • Restrictions on artificially sweetened beverages could be a good idea in the longer term but they should remain as an option for those swapping away from SSBs.

University students need protecting from soda. America sets campus safe spaces to protect students from dangerous ideas; Kiwi public health academics want to protect them from having a Coke while studying.

I applaud the Kiwi health profs for their honesty about their end goal.

Every step of this ought to be opposed. It won’t just be a 20% soda tax. We know, and they really do too, that a 20% tax won’t do anything. But it’s the critical first step towards getting annual excise hikes until soda is as taxed as tobacco. Along the way, the excise would broaden out to other sugary foods. And the other restrictions in the play book would start layering in.

You don’t have to be industry-funded, or some crazy ideologue, to look at the agenda they’ve clearly laid out and just say no. Jenesa’s report provides some helpful ammunition.

When I think back to how I fuelled my late-night university essay writing back in the day….

Crossposted at Offsetting Behaviour. Image via DinosaurDracula.

About Eric Crampton (88 Articles)
I'm Head of Research with the New Zealand Initiative.

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