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Bill to get alcohol advertising off TV and radio

13 September 2006

Green bill to get alcohol advertising off TV and radio

The Government's announcement today that it is seeking public comment on alcohol advertising has been welcomed by the Green Party, which last week had its own private member's bill on the issue selected from the Parliamentary ballot.

The Liquor Advertising (Television and Radio) Bill will have its first reading on 11 October. It would prohibit the broadcast of all liquor advertising in New Zealand, except in films made overseas in which the liquor advertisement is incidental to the work as a whole.

"Recent publicity about the legal drinking age has drawn attention to the problems associated with alcohol abuse, but it is a mistake to think that raising the drinking age again will address these problems," Green Party Alcohol and Drugs Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"In fact, the proportion of under-18-year-olds has not changed since the lowering of the drinking age. The problem is wider - the general culture of binge drinking in New Zealand. This bill seeks to address that culture by taking alcohol advertising off the airwaves.

"Since alcohol brand advertising was introduced to broadcast media in 1992, advertising has become the primary source of information for most people about alcohol and how to use it. Invariably, alcohol is associated with desired lifestyle images, effectively normalising and encouraging widespread alcohol use.

"Another private member's bill currently before a selection committee seeks to prohibit alcohol advertising, but only after 10pm, on the mistaken assumption that impressionable children will be tucked up safely in bed by then. Much as we might like this to be the case, it is an unrealistic expectation, and also fails to take into account the impact of alcohol advertising on older teenagers and young adults, who are most at risk at the age when they are beginning to experiment with alcohol and about to become legal alcohol consumers.

"While attention is often focused on the social harms that can be caused by illicit drugs, little recognition is given in New Zealand to the fact that alcohol is the most abused and most socially harmful drug consumed here. This bill is a step towards recognising this harm, by regulating television and radio advertising to minimise it," Mrs Turei says.

ENDS

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