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Select Cmmttee Pussyfoots Around Alcohol Promotion


9 December 2004


The Health Select Committee has let New Zealanders down, in failing to recommend an inquiry into alcohol advertising, sponsorship and marketing, as requested in our petition, said Dr Viola Palmer, from the Group Against Liquor Advertising.

The Select Committee report recognises the serious health and social effects of alcohol, but fails to recommend appropriate action. It is as though they saw a sinking liner and sent a small life raft to help. This Committee, which has the responsibility to guide policy on health issues affecting New Zealanders, has proved disappointing. It is no exaggeration to say that New Zealand is in the grip of a binge drinking epidemic, which is fuelled by advertising.

The request for an inquiry was a very modest one, which did not commit anyone to anything, said Dr Palmer. Yet they did not even manage that. It would have been an opportunity to look at all aspects of alcohol promotion, and reach a conclusion based on evidence.

There is ample evidence to implicate alcohol advertising and sponsorship in the harm people experience from alcohol. Further research is not what is wanted. Some courageous action is what is needed.

Instead the Health Select Committee opted to recommend another review of alcohol regulation. Tinkering with the rules around regulation will do very little to reduce the lure of alcohol advertising to children and teenagers in particular.

Legislation has curbed the harm from tobacco, but politicians seem afraid to address alcohol.


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