Ashburton District Council has today voted against adopting a sugar-sweetened beverages policy, after consulting with its staff and the community about the possible introduction of one.
The policy would have aimed to promote healthy choices in the community by limiting the availability of certain drinks at Council-owned facilities and Council-sponsored events, but it was decided by a majority of Councillors that the policy was not core Council business.
Deputy Mayor Neil Brown, one of the Councillors not in support of the policy, said it would be prudent to see what measures Central Government may take in promoting healthy beverage choices.
"Health promotion is very important across the country, and sugary drinks undoubtedly contribute to poor health outcomes when not consumed responsibly. However, it is not our belief that the Council should be taking the lead on this matter. We would like to see what action Central Government may take on sugar-sweetened drinks before considering how we might support such promotions on a local level.
"We are very conscious of the services that Council is responsible for in our community, and adopting this policy would not sit inside our realm of core business. It is for these reasons that we will not be moving ahead with the policy at this stage," he said.
The policy would not have been enforceable, but was intended to encourage people to make healthier choices.
Council received 11 submissions on the proposed introduction of the sugar-sweetened beverages policy; four were in support and seven against. Submissions closed on 22 October.