Monday, 19 February 2018

Sugar redux

Responses to NZIER's literature review on sugar taxes have been fun.

As reminder on the background: the Ministry of Health commissioned the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research to do the work. NZIER's report is dated August 2017. The Ministry did not release the report. I heard it existed and put in an OIA request 30 October. The Ministry delayed the release until late January.

I don't know why the Ministry didn't just put the report up on its own website when it was received. Maybe they wanted to brief any incoming Minister on it first, and there was an election that got in the way. But it still took a long time and the Ombudsman's chasing them up. Bureaucratic cock-up is always a plausible explanation, but for a report that was just sitting on their desk, for months, and that took no redacting or anything other than a signoff... I suppose there are advanced degrees in bureaucratic foul-up.

Anyway, we received the report and put out a press release on it; would be a shame for good work to go unnoticed. Best I'm aware, it's not available anywhere on the MoH website, just on NZIER's website.

I wonder if the outfits that liked to paint opposition to sugar taxes as being exclusively ideologically driven or driven by nefarious interests will ever provide some apologies. The Public Health Brigade (NZ edition) likes to sue for defamation whenever their motives are impugned, but they're awful quick to assume that any opposition to their Good Works can only have evil motive. 

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