National's Simeon Brown defends Judith Collins over obesity debate - 'It's about personal responsibility'

National MP Simeon Brown is defending his leader's comments about obesity, just two days out from the 2020 election.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Brown says National taxing Kiwis won't solve the problem. Source: Breakfast

Collins said on Tuesday that those who are obese should take personal responsibility for their condition and not blame the system for their “personal choices”.

She said a tax on sugary foods wouldn't solve the problem.

However, yesterday senior National MP Mark Mitchell distanced himself from Collins’ comments telling Newstalk ZB host Mike Hosking only part of a person's issue with weight was down to personal choice.

"Some obesity is related to medical conditions, even psychological conditions that need treating, so it's a more complex issue," he said.

This morning on TVNZ1's Breakfast, though, Brown said Mitchell and Collins were actually of the same view.

"I think if you look at both of what they've said, the reality is that it's about personal responsibility but there are some people who do have health issues and you have to support those people," he said.

"If you look back and listen to what Judith has said, she's said exactly the same thing [as Mitchell]."

He reiterated Collins' point, though, that "you can't tax your way out of problems", instead saying there should be education and support to empower Kiwis.

"It's about people taking responsibility for our own lives, making decisions and empowering them and I think that's actually a far better visual of the world, saying 'we're going to empower you to make good decisions', rather than to say 'actually we're just going to tax you'. That's what Labour and the Greens want to do."

Sitting alongside Brown on Breakfast this morning, Greens MP Chlöe Swarbrick said that was "absolutely not" true.

She agreed personal responsibility played a part, but added "an environment has to be conducive to those good decisions".

"Somebody has to have the time, the energy, the money to be able to make those good decisions."