Should we remove GST from fresh fruit and vegetables?

No, but we should consider alternative ways to encourage more consumption of local seasonal produce.

I was at the supermarket the other day, and was considering just how much of the fresh produce is imported. If we were to remove GST from fresh fruit and vegetables, then products like californian grapes and bananas would be making their way to NZ tax free. While produce grown in NZ, frozen, canned or bottled would be fully taxed. 

Out of season and luxury fruit and vegetables would also be tax free. Where as, we would be paying tax on milk, oats, bread, and locally grown frozen vegetables. Note that we would pay tax on vegetables from NZ sold in a freezer bag, but not on vegetables that had sat in a overseas cool house for several months. 

Do we want to encourage our population to each frozen carrots grown in Ohakune? or fresh carrots shipped in refrigerated containers from the Ukraine?

Do we want to encourage our population to eat imported grapes, cherries and strawberries in winter? or apples, kiwifruit, milk, bread, oats and other healthy foods made and processed in NZ.

It is true that we should encourage the buying of fresh and healthy foods, but removing GST is not the way to achieve that. 

Consider if areas of park land were dedicated to fruit trees, or subsidized community allotments for those who want to garden together. Consider if more children were taught to garden in school, and take home their fresh produce. 

Consider instead a government providing free school lunches, with a focus on healthy locally grown foods. 

Consider if the government wasn't considering banning the selling at the roadside of excess fruit and vegetables grown in a residential backyard?

If these ideas were considered, we would all have access to a lot more "in season" fruit and vegetables, while imported "fresh" produce would contribute to our economy just like imported cars and clothes.

Posted: Saturday 3 September 2011


  • Understand the gst on imported foods. They are of course luxury items not normal to the season however, wouldn't the added tax on fast foods including (if not already) confectionary and packeted foods cover the removal on healthy? There is a demand in society from the health sector to eat more organic and take more vitamins and eat more fruit and vegetables when it is far cheaper to reach for a burger or chocolate bar. I am home from Aus on an alkaline diet (no sugar or yeast products) and constantly trying new health recipes to keep my weight down but was shocked when a visit to pack n save last week cost me nearly $80.00 just for veges, nuts and wraps (yeast free). No meat or poultry because I couldn't afford it! I am in between jobs and have to wait until my next payment to get an even balance of "healthy" foods. Also, fast food tax? Does that include the "healthy" options and how will you justify fat food from healthy? As I see it its not the food thats the problem, its the indiv
    Posted: 2013-04-03 21:38   by Lia

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