Diabetes New Zealand is at the forefront of New Zealand’s greatest health issue, diabetes. The incidence of diabetes in New Zealanders is at epidemic proportions and rising. Diabetes is a chronic illness with significant morbidity and mortality burdens.
Obesity is a primary factor leading to Type 2 diabetes. The 2017 OECD Obesity Index analysis that New Zealand has the third most obese population out of 35 member countries is both shameful and unacceptable. This is an indictment on our country and the poor health of our people. The OECD report represents an emphatic call to action. The Rt Hon Helen Clark has described the OECD’s finding as “shocking” and has vigorously implored that “whoever’s in government needs to implement strong policy to stop this epidemic now”.
For decades, Diabetes New Zealand through its hard-working staff and volunteers has fought the war on diabetes across the whole country, deploying enormous resources to support and help countless thousands of people deal with their health problems and improve their lives. Raising awareness and prevention consumes a large part of the organisation’s resources. From all this involvement, effort and informed experience at New Zealand’s diabetes coal face, Diabetes New Zealand is ideally placed with this submission.
The bottom line is that despite many governmental programmes to address the problem, the incidence of diabetes in New Zealand is increasing, as is the rate of obesity. Something much more is needed to stem this fatal tide. Diabetes New Zealand earnestly believes that this ‘something’ is a Sugar Tax.
This submission carefully analyses the evidence and arguments surrounding the case for a Sugar Tax. We recommend this submission by Diabetes New Zealand to you, and its conclusion that a Sugar Tax will create a bow wave to behaviour change beyond any other governmental measure thus far.
As Patrons of Diabetes New Zealand, we appeal to you to follow the example of other nations in deploying the levers of taxation to intervene in this runaway health epidemic.
You have a unique opportunity to play a critical role in the health, well-being and longer lives of hundreds of thousands of current and future generation New Zealanders.
Sir Eion Edgar and Lady Beattie