Dr Rob Beaglehole, sugary drinks spokesperson, New Zealand Dental Association:
The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) is pleased that the government is looking at the issue of health drinks in schools through a public consultation.
We praise the Minister of Education Chris Hipkins for addressing the issue of unhealthy drinks in schools.
From the dental perspective, the evidence is clear that unhealthy beverages are having an impact on the dental decay rates of New Zealand children.
The NZDA position on this is clear, we would like to see the most impactful change. There is a need to include all schools in this change, that includes secondary schools.
If we’re looking at primary schools only, many have already made the change to become ‘water only’ schools.
We know that fewer than one-in-four secondary schools with a school food service like a canteen offer only milk and water as beverage options.
Our view is that this should be done once, done properly, and with the maximum public health dental impact.