Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Hosking on sugar taxes

I'd chatted last week with Mike Hosking about sugar taxes. Hosking's followed it up this week in the Herald:
The New Zealand Initiative, who we have on the programme on an increasingly regular basis, might have done some of its best work yet.

Ironically, they do perhaps what the media should be doing more of. If you missed our interview on Friday, under the Official Information Act, they have got hold of papers that show the Ministry of Health has been (a) doing work on the sugar tax and its effectiveness and (b) looking at other work that's already been done.

This is the advice that goes to the Minister. And why this is important is the sugar tax debate, as most of us have suspected, has been hijacked by the zealots.

The research done is shonky and loaded. The research carried out by the ministry, who we can still presumably trust to be unbiased, is highly sceptical as to whether any tax would ever work.

This, hopefully, can once and for all put the subject to bed. It won't, of course, but at least next time the academics and the cloistered fanatics spring forth with another burst of tax PR, we have papers that show they are making it up.
Credit for the work in the OIA should go to MoH folks who did the work - both the original analysis and the tedious dredging through the files to find all of it.

All we did was request that it be made public.

I'm not sure why nobody else made that kind of OIA request. Perhaps when one-sided skepticism is in play and you've already cast the public health side as heroes, nobody's much interested in whether their story checks out.


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