A 20 percent tax on fizzy drinks could prevent 67 deaths from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer each year.
The findings are in research published in the New Zealand Medical Journal.
Professor Ni Mhurchu, of the National institute for Health Innovation, says sugar-sweetened soft drinks are nutrient poor.
She says trials show reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages reduces weight gains in children.
"I think it shows that this kind of intervention could have positive impacts on the health of New Zealanders and could actually raise revenue that could be used to have additional positive impacts."
Professor Mhurchu says a 20 percent tax on these drinks could generate up to 40 million a year for health programmes.