New research has shown that increasing taxes on fatty foods and alcohol may help people make nutritive choices and thus cut the burden of diseases.
The Australian research also indicated making fatty foods more expensive was more effective than focussing on educational campaigns to improve nutrition.
"A responsible and canny state that alters the provision and price of healthy living-be that access to cheaper effective medicines or cheaper healthy diets-is usually the best option for both improving the nation's health, and freeing up health care funding for other uses," New Zealand Herald quoted Otago University professor Tony Blakely as saying.
Blakely added that the research made a strong case for the New Zealand Government to remove GST from healthy foods.
"A particular focus of our work will be to look at how to best spend health dollars to improve Maori health and the health of the poorest New Zealanders, and how to balance the competing priorities of efficiency and equity," he said.