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MPs sell-out on alcohol advertising

MPs sell-out on alcohol advertising

The decision by the Health Select Committee to reject an inquiry into the effects of alcohol advertising is a victory for the liquor industry - and a blow to the social and public health of New Zealand, the New Zealand Drug Foundation said today.

"The Health Select Committee has washed its hands of the petition and abdicated its responsibility to reduce the social harm and health risks caused by alcohol," said Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell.

"The Committee was presented with compelling public health evidence that advertising compounds the problems caused by alcohol, yet it chose to ignore this in favour of the liquor industry.

"We need to be clear about this: industry 'self-regulation' is little more than window dressing and an attempt by the liquor industry to protect their profits first over public health and safety.

"The committee has buckled to pressure from the liquor industry and, in doing so, undermined recent efforts to reduce the overwhelming social harm caused by alcohol.

"It's clear that New Zealanders are concerned about the harm that alcohol does to our society. By rejecting an inquiry into alcohol advertising, the Committee has rejected these concerns.

"The only glimmer of hope is that the Government might choose to undertake its own thorough review of alcohol advertising, marketing and sponsorship," he said.

Mr Bell said that it is important to consider the restriction of alcohol advertising as part of a package of measures aimed at minimising alcohol-related harm in New Zealand.

The Drug Foundation recommends comprehensive and integrated measures for government action on alcohol, that include effective enforcement of the law, mandatory ID checks, community control over liquor licenses and returning the drinking age to 20 years old.

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