Snowdon speaks against sugar tax

1 September 2014

UK think-tank researcher and writer Christopher Snowdon drew a very enthusiastic response in Auckland in late August during a whistle-stop visit (via Australia) to speak to FGC members. He’s the Director of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London and is known for being a vocal opponent of ‘nanny state’ government intervention, including adding taxes to foods to counter obesity.

His recounting of the ill-fated 12-month-long Danish fat tax was a great illustration of how such taxes simply don’t change behaviour, and reaffirmed FGC’s position that it won’t work for sugar (that it’s just one piece of a complicated jigsaw that includes moderation and exercise).

While he was here, FGC organised for him to talk to the media on the topic of taxes, including NewstalkZB’s Larry Williams, the NZ Herald, the Sunday Star-Times and Seven Sharp. He also came under attack from psychologist-turned TV presenter Nigel Latta, who claimed the visit was an interesting coincidence, coming in the same week as his programme on sugar which featured FGC’s Katherine Rich. This was not case. And as anyone who has ever organised an international speaker will tell you, these things have to be planned months in advance – in this case well before anyone could have predicted the TV schedule.

And speaking of the Latta programme, Katherine Rich got some of the main points across around personal responsibility, but when a 66-minute interview is boiled down to 1 minute 45 seconds there’s always an excellent chance that some of the best bits don’t make it – and so it proved. Members who missed the Latta programme can access it on the TVNZ website here

The Sunday Star-Times article can be read here