12 Sep 2019

Fat tax advocated in the Cook Islands

3:08 pm on 12 September 2019

A resort operator in the Cook Islands is calling for a "junk food tax" to overcome the country's obesity problem.

Fried chicken nuggets with chips.

Photo: 123RF

Tata Crocombe of The Rarotonga resort said hikes on the prices of foods with high sugar, salt or saturated fat content, would force people to buy healthy food instead.

The Cook Islands News quoted him saying that he himself is probably 20 kilogrammes overweight, yet he feels trim when he goes "to town and see all the 19 and 20 year olds just rolling around".

The paper reported him saying there had been a stark change in the Cooks in the past 40 years, moving from an agrarian economy to eating "highly processed, highly toxic foods" and doing little exercise.

He said with 80 percent of the health budget going towards fighting non-communicable diseases, using taxes is a legitimate way to modify people's behaviour.