Wednesday 14 July 2010

Stuff: Bill removing GST from healthy food drawn

from Stuff website

A Maori Party bill that would remove GST from healthy food could come up for debate in Parliament in the next few weeks.

MP Rahui Katene drafted the member's bill, which has been drawn from the ballot that is used to decide which ones reach the debating chamber. Two or three bills are usually drawn every second Wednesday Parliament sits.

It is likely to go on Parliament's agenda for a first reading debate when Parliament returns from recess next Tuesday.

The Government is expected to oppose the bill, which means it won't pass its first reading, but Ms Katene is gathering as much support as she can from other parties and hopes National will change its mind.

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said today her proposal wasn't viable because if some items were exempted from GST there would be demands for others to be given the same treatment.

He said removing GST from the food specificed in the bill would mean the loss of millions of tax dollars which would have to be found somewhere else.

Ms Katene is appealing for the bill to be at least put through its first reading so it can go to a select committee for public submissions.

Her Goods and Services Tax (Exemption of Healthy Food) Amendment Bill says food prices have risen more than 20 percent in the last three years while real incomes have risen only very slightly.

"While all consumers will benefit from the removal of goods and services tax from healthy food, those on lower incomes spend a greater proportion of their income on food and will receive a significant benefit as a result," it says.

"Research conducted both in New Zealand and overseas shows that the lowering of the price of healthy food ... leads to a significant increase in purchases of healthy food."

The bill defines healthy food as fruit and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and milk products excluding ice cream, cream products, condensed and flavoured milk, and lean meat, poultry, seafood ,eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes.


Anonymous said...

Sorry mate, your bill pisses me off. Well intentioned does not do enough to cover the silly bullshit.

Think about it.

Is it unhealthy to give your kid an icecream?

How lean does the lean meat have to be?
What percent of fat to protein to water is ok?

Who has not enjoyed the exquisite pleasure of stealing and eating a big spoonfull of condensed milk from the half empty tin mum left in the fridge?

What is so wrong with some sugar and cream on your porridge?

What an unreal sanctimonious jerk off this bill is.

People have very different food needs. If you're going out to work hard all day you need a certain amount of fat in your diet. But even if you don't have any job and are stuck idle, you only live once and its entirely your decision what you put in your mouth, why should some over paid politicians tell you what materials to manufacture your own shit with?

What a creepy crappy controlling little farce this "healthy food off GST" is.

GST is an in your face tax on the poor. Period.
The only principled demand is No GST. Never mind the bollocks. Workers can sort out what they want to eat can't they?

If we can't get that organised, how do you expect us to be able to make a revolution?

David said...

Anonymous, I agree that the question of which food is healthy and which is bound to lead to a lot of debate and argument, which is one reason why the Socialist Worker & Alliance tax justice campaign calls for GST off ALL food. (This is not our bill, although we support it, as it would be a big step in the right direction.)

Nevertheless, I think your comments are over the top. This bill isn’t about telling people what to eat. It won’t stop anyone from buying unhealthy food. It won’t even make it anymore expensive than it is now. So you can still buy as much ice cream or condensed milk as you can afford.

What this bill would do is make those foods deemed to be healthy cheaper. What’s wrong with that?

There’s no dispute that many people in our society eat unhealthy amounts of over-processed food that contains more sugar and fat and more energy than they need. These foods are heavenly promoted by junk food corporations, and are often cheaper than healthier options. This has serious health consequences. So making healthy food cheaper (however that’s defined), makes a lot of sense for anyone concerned about people’s health.

I agree that you only live once, but if you can afford to eat healthily, in accordance with your energy needs, you will probably have a longer and healthier life. You might even last long enough to see that revolution.