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NZ could be next for tax on sugary drinks - FIZZ spokesman

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The New Zealand Government may reconsider its position on a tax on sugary drinks as part of a comprehensive strategy to tackle obesity, says FIZZ spokesman, Dr Gerhard Sundborn.

"In light of the UK sugary drink tax announcement, our government may reconsider its position, says Dr Sundborn, a research fellow at the University of Auckland.

"Undoubtedly a tax needs to be part of our solution to address our alarming rate of obesity," he says. "The question is not if, but when."

Earlier this morning the UK announced it will be introducing a hefty tax on sugary drinks and this has renewed debate on whether New Zealand also need to adopt a tax on these beverages.

Dr Gerhard Sundborn, the founder of FIZZ NZ that opposes sugar sweetened beverages, says: "The UK government has been bold and shown strong leadership by introducing this tax. We hope it will encourage a similar action by our government."

In Mexico a 10 percent sugary drink tax caused a 12 percent reduction in consumption, and sugary drink taxes were implemented widely in Pacific Islands countries and territories, he says.

"We need to reframe the argument and ask the question; What harm would a tax on sugary drinks have?" says Dr Sundborn. "The answer is no harm, (apart from reduced sales revenue to beverage companies and their investors). "

He says detractors of a proposed sugary drink tax continue to ask for definitive evidence showing the benefits which is very difficult. That is why the question should be reframed to look at what possible harm a sugary tax could have for the community.

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