WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s sugar-laden drinks industry is facing calls for a sugar tax to help alleviate the country’s obesity problem. New research published this week in New Zealand shows that the sugar-sweetened drinks in the country have a much higher sugar content compared to their counterparts in the UK, Australia or Canada, leading researchers to renew their call for a tax on such drinks. It was shown that approximately 52 percent of drinks purchased in NZ contained sugar, while in the UK, Canada, and Australia the portions were 9 percent, 42.8 percent, and 42.2 percent respectively. Along with having a high portion of sweetened drinks being sold, the beverages in New Zealand also have a very high sugar content, in some cases being 50 percent more than their overseas alternatives. The researchers used the data to call for the government to implement a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, saying that New Zealand has a significant rate of obesity which is fuelled by very high levels of sugar consumption.
No suggestions were made on the size of exact technical details of such a tax, but it was noted that other countries around the world impose a tax on the final sale of the product or on the manufacturers.