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New advertising guidelines favour industry not kid

15 May 2008

New advertising guidelines favour industry not kids

Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley welcomes the fact that the industry has taken the initiative on children's advertising, but is disappointed that the new guidelines apply to so few hours in a day, in addition to having so many opportunities for the industry to exercise a right of veto.

"The new guidelines sound good, but in reality they allow industry to have the final say and still allow the advertising of unhealthy foods.

"I am particularly disappointed by the hours defined as 'children's programming', which are incredibly limited. On weekday evenings, for example, only an hour and a half are defined as children's programming, when the Broadcasting Standards Authority finds that most children watch television outside these hours."

"The complex method of establishing a product's suitability for screening includes a number of loopholes that allow the industry the final say and let them ignore the expertise provided by the Ministry of Health.

Ms Kedgley points out there is strong international evidence that TV advertisements influence children's food preferences, food choices and requests, and frequently encourage children to consume high sugar, high fat foods.

"When it comes to our children's health we should be erring on the side of caution and protecting them from ads encouraging them to eat food that's bad for their health and wellbeing. Instead, we have a vetting system where the TCAB is given the right to override the findings of experts, including the Ministry of Health, and approve any food product for marketing to children.

"I am concerned that under these guidelines, an industry which is interested mainly with commercial gain can make its own decisions on advertising to children, even without the input of nutritional experts."


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