The Taxpayer’s Union has discovered that the ‘Fizz’ group of academics campaigning for a ‘sugar tax’ on soft drinks appears to have been falsely claiming the endorsement of the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC). The ‘Fizz’ conference starts tomorrow (Wednesday).
The HRC’s Chief Executive, Dr Robin Olds, asked that the HRC logo be removed from Fizz’s promotional material for a conference to push for a sugar tax. In an email to the Taxpayers’ Union Mr Olds said, “In a phone call to the conference organiser we pointed out that using our logo was inappropriate, given that [Fizz] did not seek our permission, and that some appeared to interpret the logo as the HRC endorsing the conference.”
Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, Jordan Williams, says “the organisers of Fizz didn’t seek the permission of the HRC but used the logo to imply official endorsement for their sugar tax advocacy.”
“The Taxpayers’ Union has written to the other government bodies that are apparently supporting this group. We want to know whether they are supporting Fizz’s political activities or whether Fizz is also falsely claiming support.”
“Fizz claims to be a health group but the speakers’ topics are focused on political advocacy and taxing Kiwis more. Using the HRC’s logo without permission calls into question their academic credibility,” concludes Mr Williams.
The HRC’s response to the Taxpayers’ Union’s Official Information Act request is available at www.taxpayers.org.nz