he Government has been told to end alcohol sponsorship of sports clubs and ban any advertising of beer, wine and spirits during televised matches by a ministerial forum.
The forum, chaired by former rugby league coach and businessman Graham Lowe, concluded after a two-year inquiry that the total cost of alcohol-related harm in this country was “enough to justify further restrictions on alcohol advertising and sponsorship”.
The six-person panel was set up by former Justice Minister Judith Collins as part of alcohol law reforms in 2012.
In its report, the forum said it had found there was no single drinking culture in New Zealand and many people drank responsibly. It acknowledged that alcohol advertising and sponsorship was just one factor in influencing consumption of alcohol.
But it also recognised an association between exposure to alcohol promotions, an earlier age of initiation to drinking alcohol, and increased consumption.
“In addition, we understand there is compelling evidence that early initiation to drinking alcohol and increased consumption are predictive of, and associated with, increased experience of alcohol-related harm.”
The forum made 14 recommendations designed to reduce young peoples’ exposure to alcohol promotions.
These included major changes to liquor companies’ sponsorship of televised and grassroots sports, including a long-term goal of banning alcohol sponsorship from all sports.
It also recommended banning alcohol advertising during streamed and broadcast sporting events, from events at which more than 10 per cent of the audience was under 18, and further restrictions on the hours at which alcohol adverts could be broadcast on radio and television.
The forum’s report said this would threaten the sustainability of many sporting clubs and events and recommended new initiatives to support sporting, cultural and music events that “might have ordinarily had access to alcohol sponsorship funds”.
Justice Minister Amy Adams said further work would be required on the feasibility and the impact of the proposals.
She said the forum was unable to consider the full effect of the proposals. Officials would report back to her again in mid-2015.
The Association of Alcohol Advertisers expressed concern about the recommendations, saying bans on alcohol promotions were “extreme” and not backed by evidence.
1. Ban alcohol sponsorship of all streamed and broadcast sports
2. Ban alcohol sponsorship of sports [long-term]
3. Ban alcohol sponsorship (naming rights) at all venues
4. Ban alcohol sponsorship of cultural and music events where 10% or more of participants and audiences are younger than 18
5. Introduce a sponsorship replacement funding programme
6. Introduce a targeted programme to reduce reliance on alcohol sponsorship funding
7. Ban alcohol advertising during streamed and broadcast sporting events
8. Ban alcohol advertising where 10% or more of the audience is younger than 18
9. Further restrict the hours for alcohol advertising on broadcast media
10. Continue to offset remaining alcohol advertising by funding positive messaging across all media
11. Introduce additional restrictions on external advertising on licensed venues and outlets
12. Establish an independent authority to monitor and initiate complaints about alcohol advertising and sponsorship
13. Establish a mechanism to identify and act on serious or persistent breaches of advertising standards
14. Establish a multi-stakeholder committee to periodically review and assess Advertising Standards Complaints Board decisions and pre-vetted advertising
To read the full report click here.