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Top Alcohol Spokesperson Appointed To Health Promotion Board

MEDIA RELEASE – 18/11/11

Government Shows Its Hand In Appointing A Top Alcohol Industry Spokesperson To The New Health Promotion Establishment Board

The government shows its hand on alcohol policy even more clearly today through the announcement of the appointment of Katherine Rich, CEO of the Food and Grocery Council, to the new Health Promotion Agency Establishment Board, which is replacing the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand (ALAC), the Health Sponsorship Council (HSC) and health promotion activities of the Ministry of Health.

“Katherine Rich has been one of the most vociferous defenders of the alcohol industry’s desire to continue to pour as much alcohol into New Zealand society as it can, since she took up her position as CEO of the Food and Grocery Council” said Professor Doug Sellman of Alcohol Action NZ.

“Supermarkets normalise alcohol as an ordinary commodity, and sell it by the ton at ultra-cheap prices up to 24 hours a day.”

“Further, Katherine Rich has used her role as an industry spokesperson to attack community groups advocating a stronger Alcohol Reform Bill for the sake of the health of New Zealanders and a safer society.”

“Katherine Rich doesn’t have a conflict of interest; she has a major conflict of interest. Her appointment to this new Board is totally inappropriate.”

“By appointing Katherine Rich to this position, the government indicates that it wants to have the alcohol industry strongly represented on the new Board of their central health promotion agency,” added Professor Jennie Connor, another medical spokesperson of Alcohol Action NZ.

“This is likely to have a significant dampening influence on measures to promote health through better regulation of the supply and sale of alcohol in New Zealand.”

“Regulation of alcohol price and availability is known to be the key to reducing harm, but by having the industry involved in governance of health promotion the government is signalling it wants the marketplace left wide open.”

“The alcohol industry will continue to exploit New Zealanders, especially young New Zealanders, with this product, which is a Class B equivalent recreational drug”.

ENDS

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