Maori Party bill would remove GST from healthy food

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.

She 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.


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Really and truly where do they get these people from? Someone needs to sit this person (and all the 'no GST on rates' lunatics) down and explain how GST works and in particular how it works for those who produce goods that are exempt. (ie if you aren't charging
output GST you can't claim it on your inputs).

He or she ought to be encouraging those who would be perceived to benefit from this to get out and dig themselves a garden if they want cheap food.

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Having experienced VAT/GST in other countries, it is the simplicity of our system that has appeal. Exceptions will just increase compliance and loop holes. If McDonalds can get chicken nuggets to form part of a weight watchers meal, where will it stop?

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I think it is worth consideration ... however I think it would be a good idea to only include NZ grown products... So only the basics i.e. raw produce and milk only.. could be a good way to stimulate primary sector and growth/stabilization of domestic market for our horticultural and agricultural sectors.

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Why not tax fast food, just like we do with alcohol and cigarettes, any fast food with 20%? fat content or more gets taxed, doesn't take from the govt's coffers and might deter the fast food junkies who are clogging up our health system

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As usual the Maori Party have got it all wrong, if they are trying to save their people some money, if they were to remove GST off all Alcahol, Tobacco products, KFC, Maccas, "Hemp" products and benefits of all types,plus Diabetic medications, they would certainly make some progress, but to remove it from most of the healthy options, they are just wasting their time.
Perhaps they should instigate a huge penalty tax on all takeaway food, and most of the above as a deterrant, might be helpful too.
What a waste of time and energy.

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If there is any case to provide incentives for the consumption of "healthy foods", it would be far better to do it through direct subsidies than by "stuffing up" the GST regime.

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This is the most naiive, stupid and totally misguided idea I've heard! Imagine all the compliance costs in defining, approving yet alone 'policing' what are 'healthy foods'. I can see all the lawyers, food scientists and marketers now looking for ways to 're-categorise' their foods. For goodness sake, whatever happened to some good old common sense. Maori Party - you're not that stupid...are you???

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Who will be the healthy food police? The Government? We know how well they manage things.

Incidentally, my spouse from East Asia wonders why grilled minced beef patties with bread, cheese, mustard, ketchup, onions, and pickles is such unhealthy food?

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The moari party can say what it likes about anything it likes. It will never have to back up any 'policy' statements with action coz it will never be in a position of power. John Key cleverly use ths maori party to air his most outrageaous ideas. A fact that seems to have escaped the maori party.

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