Food taxes and subsidies to protect health: relevance to Aotearoa New Zealand

The hazardous and obesogenic food environment are major contributors to health loss in Aotearoa New
Zealand. Here we consider the potential use of food taxes and subsidies to protect health in this country.
We find that each one of the 14 recent systematic reviews on the tax and/or subsidy topic since 2015 in
the scientific literature report that such interventions have favourable impacts from a health perspective.
The New Zealand evidence we considered (n=12 studies since January 2010) is less definitive, but the
pattern of results is consistent with the international evidence. Given this overall picture, the New Zealand
Government should seriously consider such tax/subsidy interventions, potentially starting with a UK-style
sugary drinks industry levy