16 Jul 2010

Removing GST on healthy food 'wouldn't help'

4:15 pm on 16 July 2010

One of the members of the Tax Working Group says removing GST from foods such as fruit and vegetables is not the best way to encourage people to eat healthy food.

A bill in the name of Maori Party MP Rahui Katene is seeking to exempt foods such as fruit, vegetables, bread and lean meat from GST.

John Shewan, who's also the chairman of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, says there's no evidence that Americans or Australians are fitter than New Zealanders by virtue of not paying GST on healthy foods.

When GST is removed from healthy foods, he says, wealthy people spend more on those items.

Parliament is due to consider the Goods and Services Tax (Exemption of Healthy Food) Amendment Bill next week but a

Radio New Zealand political reporter says it won't pass its first reading because National will vote against it.