The NZBC Update Following Leader’s Debate


The NZBC wants to update members on two notable media stories in the past 24 hours.

During the TVNZ Leader's debate last night, the leaders were asked about their response to the oral health situation in New Zealand. Chris Hipkins shared that he supported a ban on "fizzy drinks" in secondary schools. National's Christopher Luxon said that he believed education was more constructive than a ban on soft drinks.

Members will be aware of the NZBC's long-held position that members will not sell anything except water and milk to Primary and Intermediate schools. For Secondary schools, the position is only zero-sugar carbonated drinks and energy drinks will be supplied.

Secondly, the first segment of RNZ's multi-part investigation into the impacts of sugar and ultra-processed foods on the health of New Zealanders, Off the Shelf, ran in this morning's media.

The Food and Grocery Council's Raewyn Bleakley put forward the industry's position with support from the NZBC team. Bleakley did an excellent job explaining the work the food and beverage sector has already done to reduce and replace sugar. However, not all of her interview was reflected in the RNZ story this morning.

It was inferred that public health officials had proposed the need to consider a wide range of public health mechanics in a Ministry of Health briefing to ministers entitled "Action to Improve Food and Active Environment". This included many options, including setting salt and sugar limits and additional advertising restrictions.

As an industry, the NZBC do take exception to the reported statement, "Children and their caregivers are actively targeted by food and beverage companies", as this does not represent all the commitments the NZBC have made to the voluntary Children's and Young People's Advertising Code, the Code for Advertising Food, and the Advertising Code of Ethics.

The NZBC seeks more detailed background information and looks forward to meeting the incoming Minister of Health to explain all the industry's work in this space and to open a dialogue with officials.