Fluoride Action Network

Marlborough Council to ban sugary drinks

Source: The Marlborough Express | February 2nd, 2015 | By Heather Simpson
Location: New Zealand

Marlborough District Council will become the second council in New Zealand to ban sugary drinks sold from council premises and council-funded events.

Tomorrow it will reveal the policy, to be debated at a meeting of council’s community and finance committee.

Mayor Alistair Sowman said the policy wasn’t an emphasis on bans and restrictions but to encourage a change of behaviour through the promotion of healthy options.

Within council workplaces, such as its headquarters and libraries, only drinks with no added sweeteners will be sold or supplied.

It covered fizzy drinks, sachet mixes, fruit drinks, cordials, flavoured milks, cold teas and coffees and energy drinks.

The restriction did not apply to hot drinks, alcoholic drinks, or drinks brought to council buildings or events, from home.

The policy applied to work-related meetings and workshops for council staff, elected members and visitors to council-hosted social functions.

At council events where council is the primary funder, such as Ignite New Year’s Eve Party and Marlborough 4 Fun and Go Marlborough events, only healthy alternatives to sugar-sweetened drinks are provided or sold.

Alternatives were water, fruit juice with no added sugar, unsweetened milk and sugar-free soft drinks.

The council was in a position to act as a role model, Sowman said.

“This is not a draconian policy. People can drink what they like. If someone brings a six pack of Coke to a council-run event, no-one is going to arrest them.”

The policy would not affect council contractors who ran cafes in Marlborough Airport, the ferry terminal or Stadium 2000.

Councillors rubber-stamped the ban in December, following in the footsteps of Nelson City Council.

Only councillor Brian Dawson voted against the motion, saying the more practical step was to fluoridate the region’s water supplies.

Fluoridation was central Government’s – not district councils’ – responsibility, Sowman said.

“Fluoridating the water makes it a compulsion that everyone has to drink fluoridated water.

“This [sugary drink policy] is a pretty soft option.”

Marlborough shared the nationwide trend towards poor dental health, obesity and Type 2 diabetes, Sowman said.

Results from the 2011-2013 New Zealand Health Survey showed 6.5 per cent of children aged 0-14 in Nelson Marlborough were obese and 30 per cent of adults were obese.

An estimated 3000 people in Marlborough have diabetes.

Diabetes Marlborough president Wendy Coutts supported the council’s sugary drink stance. “We have to find a balance between being diplomatic and dogmatic.”

It was fair that people could still bring sugary drinks to council buildings and events, she said.