Council not sweet on sugar-free proposal
A challenge for Central Otago to be the next region to ban sugary drinks gained little enthusiasm from councillors at its Long Term Plan meeting this week.
WellSouth’s Sarah Berger implored Central Otago District Councillors to follow Nelson City Council’s ‘‘pioneering’’ example and introduce a Sugar Sweetened Beverages Policy at its public submissions hearing on Monday for its 2015-2025 Long Term Plan.
The Nelson City Council adopted the ban in July.
‘‘Local councils are in a great position to assist healthy workplaces through the provision of healthy beverage choices. By setting an example of good health, the council can influence all visitors and the wider community.’’
A Sugar Sweetened Beverages Policy would ensure when the council provided beverages it had purchased, it only provided those that had not had sugar added to them at point of sale, she said.
Drinks the council would no longer provide would include fizzy drinks, sachet mixes, fruit drinks, cordials, flavoured milks, cold teas/coffees and energy/sports drinks. Drinks supported under the policy would include water, 100 per cent fruit juice, unsweetened milk, artificially sweetened or zero sugar soft drinks.
‘‘The policy would provide a way for the council to help address the problem of obesity, which is of particular concern in the southern region . . .
‘‘In New Zealand children live in an environment where unhealthy food and beverages is heavily promoted and is more accessible and cheaper than healthy food and beverages.’’
WellSouth recommended the policy should restrict the sale of sweetened drinks in the Cromwell and Alexandra swimming pools. It also recommended pools be clearly designated Smokefree areas.
Councillor Stuart Duncan said the sugar-free policy would be ‘‘controversial’’.
During discussion time following the submissions councillors barely mentioned the sugar-free proposal.
Nelson Marlborough District Health Board’s principal dental officer Dr Rob Beaglehole says a proposed ban on sugary drinks sold at Marlborough District Councilowned buildings and events would show leadership in the battle against tooth decay in children.