A Hamilton City councillor has come under fire for saying fat people are a hazard because they could fall on you.

Councillor Siggi Henry made the comment during a council debate about sugary drinks this week.

"It does affect a lot of things. I mean, you have a fat person falling on you, I think that would affect you, too," she reportedly said.

When asked about the comments after the meeting Henry said she knew "it wasn't right" as soon as she said it.


"I'm sorry," she said. "That was a comment that came out because at home we say these things, just fun things.

"Actually my children said to me they didn't want me to fall on them when I was overweight.

"Of course I should not have said that in the public. That was just a comment that came from bantering around at home about these things and I'm the brunt of the comments at home, like most mothers are. It just came out of my mouth because I've heard it plenty of times at home."

Dr Cat Pause, a Massey University fat studies scholar whose research focuses on the effects of fat stigma on the health and well-being of fat individuals, said "anti-fat attitudes and sizism" were rampant in society.

"I've not seen the data about the risk factor of death by falling fatty; I'd imagine it's similar to risk factor of death by Sharknado," she told the Herald.

"Fat people live daily with reminders that society doesn't want them...Many young people develop eating disorders partly due to their fear of fatness.

"Trust me - fat people know we are hated. And that hate absolutely impacts on our health, physical and mental, and well-being."

The sugary drink debate came up at Thursday's council meeting because Local Government New Zealand recommended all councils should consider the development of a sugar sweetened beverages policy for their respective workplaces and facilities.

Henry said she felt very strongly about the issue and believed such a policy would be a good start to tackle the problem.

"I do think we need to talk more about sugary drinks. That's an important part. If we don't have healthy people we don't have a healthy city, that's my view. That's important to me. I care about people and I want them to be healthy."

She said the city's leaders needed to be role models and take a stand on the issue.

The council voted not to develop a sugary beverages policy.