Alcohol Advertising & Sponsorship

3:47 PM, 25 August 2014

We have seen significant recent change to alcohol laws, but opposition parties are still seeing it as an important issue within their election policies. So what are they proposing?

National believes that New Zealanders all have to take responsibility for changing the drinking culture. Communities, families, local Government, police, the alcohol industry and other groups and agencies, all have to play their part.

ANZA supports this approach and calls on Government and NGOs to work with industry on evidence-based approaches to address alcohol-related harm.

Labour says they support effective preventative measures to minimise dependency on alcohol, gambling, and harmful drugs. Across these areas, Labour believes that education is a good start but that it is not enough - strengthened regulation, with better public health at its heart, is required. Labour’s policy includes “implementing the recommendations from the Law Commission Report on Alcohol”. 

ANZA says: Readers will be aware that the Law Commission recommendations include increasing the purchase age to 20 and a 50% increase in the excise tax on alcohol. That suggests that Labour is committed to moving the purchase age back to 20, and to a 50% tax hike on beer, wine, and spirits. ANZA believes it is unfortunate that alcohol is being lumped with the same association as drugs, given that most adult New Zealanders can and do enjoy alcohol safely and in moderation.

Green Party believe it is desirable to prohibit alcohol advertising and sponsorship that is aimed at young people, and advertising that associates alcohol with sport, sex, and being ‘cool’.

ANZA argues the Green’s policy reflects poorly on their understanding of existing self-regulation, given that the ASA Codes mean that advertising, sponsorship or promotion cannot be targeted to young people and cannot be associated with social or sexual success.

The Green’s policy also aims to phase out all broadcast, billboard, and print (including point of display) advertising of alcoholic beverages, and sponsorship by alcohol brands.

ANZA rejects a ban on alcohol advertising. One need only look to France where the oft-touted Loi Evin advertising restrictions have done nothing to reduce alcohol-related harm, in fact it is just the opposite with statistics on French youth-drinking showing alarming trends. Demand for advertising bans show superficial understanding of a complex issue and do not provide an effective solution.

New Zealand First policy has specifically focused on RTDs, opposing self-regulation of RTD strength and, at the time of the SSAA called on the Government to introduce regulations to control the consumption of RTDs.

ANZA believes that regulation focused on a specific form of alcohol is doomed to failure. Australian experience shows that the targeting of one product simply moves consumption to alternatives, rather than reducing consumption.

The Maori Party say they want to see a range of measures put in place to reduce the accessibility of alcohol, including provisions that prevent alcohol shops operating in close proximity to schools, banning of advertising, and introducing social impact analysis. Their approach is supported by the Mana party who hope to end alcohol advertising and strengthen legislation to restrict the ability of alcohol companies to sell, promote, and discount alcohol to reduce drinking and particularly teenage drinking.

ANZA says: The core of both Maori and Mana party policy has already been addressed under the Sale & Supply of Alcohol Act and requires enforcement of the new law, rather than creating further regulation.

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