Removing GST from healthy foods may be one way to encourage healthier living, says an Auckland nutritionist.

Dr Cliona Ni Mhurchu is setting up a pilot study to find what would make shoppers buy healthier food.

Plans are to recruit about 100 Maori and non-Maori, Pacific and non-Pacific shoppers at the Pak 'n Save supermarket in Kilbirnie, Wellington, who use the "shop and go" electronic system to scan their purchases as they shop.

Some would receive discounts on healthy foods, which in the pilot phase would be fruit and vegetables. Others would be in a control group, where they would be asked to continue with their normal shopping habits.

Dr Mhurchu said the study was motivated largely by New Zealand's increasing level of obesity.

"One of the things we have been suggesting, and it has only been a suggestion, is perhaps the Government would look at removing GST on healthier food items like fruit and veges. That seems to us to be a better solution than the more controversial fat tax."

She said that while the Government had informally indicated that GST would not be removed from healthy goods, the Health Ministry was supporting the study to see if discounts helped.

- NZPA


Herald Feature: Health

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