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Cut and reduce sugar in drinks, don’t tax them, say NZ adults

By Ankush Chibber , 19-Feb-2014

Cut and reduce sugar in drinks, don’t tax them, say NZ adults

Most adult New Zealanders prefer to reduce the amount of sugar in drinks and also their size to imposing a sugar tax to deter their demand, a new survey has revealed.

According to the survey, conducted by Horizon Research this month on adult New Zealanders, 880,700 adults nationwide believe they or someone in their household have developed health problems as a result of consuming sugar.

These problems include diabetes, impaired immune system, tooth decay and diseases like cancer and heart disease, which they attribute to a pattern of consuming too much sugar.

The survey specifically found that 16% of adults believe their health has suffered as a result of consuming too much sugar, and 12.6% say someone in their household has.

This corresponds to the equivalent of 426,000 of the country's 1.55 million households.

The poll comes right after a university study published last week in a medical journal claimed that a 20% tax on sugar drinks might reduce consumption sufficiently to save 67 lives a year.

However, as per the survey, taxing the sugar content in drinks is favoured by 44.2% adults overall, and opposed by 49%.

Also, some 77.2% of adult New Zealanders favour a limit on sugar in drinks, while 18.4% oppose this idea.

Reducing the size of servings of drinks containing sugar is favoured by 58.5% of the respondents and opposed by 35.5%.

Worryingly for beverage makers, the survey also found support for a class-action suit against them. The survey questioned them about the offer by an unnamed Australian law firm that has sought Kiwis who believe they have been harmed by sugar in cola drinks to join a class action.

The Horizon survey found the equivalent of 499,000 adults saying they would “definitely” join a class action to sue cola makers on this basis.

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