Hidden agenda behind fat taxes


If there is one constant, it is the usual bleating from the Otago University?s Wellington Department of Troughers for more government regulation and taxes.

Take their regular moan in their Otago University Public Health Expert blog.

They?re so hot under the collar over Health Minister Jonathan Coleman rejecting their lobbying of seeing taxes introduced on products they don?t like, they?ll find any excuse to re-interview their own research.

This latest blog post from the troughers, including $11 million dollar woman Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu, together with anti-tobacco experts Associate Professor Nick Wilson and Professor Tony Blakely, is yet another insight into their insular little world of academia. ?

You may recall last month Nick Wilson and his old troughing mate George Thompson issued research calling for smokefree signs to be bigger because they couldn?t see them on Google Street Views.

These researchers troughers are all uppity because New Zealanders didn?t like their ideas for more taxes. They?re also upset because their ideas were called nanny-state. So they post a blog explaining why they?re right and everyone else is wrong.

They pin their research on the Danish fat tax example. Yet here?s what happened in Denmark. Danish consumers switched to cheaper brands of the same products, and bought them from cheaper stores. Inflation rose, jobs were lost and people on low incomes suffered most from the rising cost of living. The result: the tax was repealed and canned in 2012.

But that reality is not convenient for Cliona Ni Mhurchu.

So they throw in the Mexico excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages example, but completely struggle to comprehend (or ignore) Nielsen sales data that shows in Mexico there was no significant reduction in litres consumed in the 12 months before the tax was introduced, and the 12 months after the tax.

But then we see the typical trougher commentary where they think they know best and go incandescent at the thought someone -? i.e. the manufacturers, may have a different view to theirs. Here?s what Cliona Ni Mhurchu says:


These academic troughers also don?t particularly care about the impact on individuals or families, saying they should suck it up. Again Cliona Ni Mhurchu says:



And then, sure as night follows day, there?s the familiar trougher call for more money, more money. After tucking into $11 million dollars Cliona Ni Mhurchu wants more and says:


So they hide the real-world reality of the failed Danish fat tax experiment, fail to look at sales data of fizzy drinks in Mexico showing no change and have the blatant cheek to ask for more money.

It?s no wonder Jonathan Coleman told them to go and get knotted.