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Alac Says No To Loosening Up Of Liquor Advertising

Alac Says No To Loosening Up Of Liquor Advertising

Freeing up current rules around liquor advertising codes won’t help New Zealand’s current heavy drinking culture says the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand.

ALAC was commenting as it finalised its submission for the 2003 Review of Liquor Advertising and Liquor Programme Code. Acting Chief Executive Officer, Paula Snowden, said ALAC was calling for a tightening of the codes and alignment of the range of liquor promotional codes.

“At the moment, there are several codes governing liquor promotion including the advertising code and broadcasting codes and a voluntary packaging and merchandising code,” said Ms Snowden. “We see that bringing these together and trying to get some consistency would mean keeping a tighter grip on content of promotion, would make for easier monitoring and would make compliance simpler for advertisers and broadcasters.”

ALAC is also speaking out against liquor industry calls to extend liquor advertising into 6.00pm news slots and mid-afternoon sports games.

Ms Snowden says ALAC doesn’t accept the inference by industry that there is a cause and effect relationship between the introduction of liquor advertising on television and a corresponding drop in alcohol consumption levels and harm.

“It’s a nonsense to focus on overall consumption as if that means there is less alcohol-related harm. Consumption figures are about quantity of alcohol consumed and are generally statistics on level of available products or sales figures. We should be much more concerned with patterns of drinking,” she says.

“Fourteen drinks a week generally won’t lead to the harm that 14 drinks in one session might. What effect broadcast media advertising has on patterns of drinking is not known.

Of equal concern is the extent of alcohol promotion that is not through advertising. For example, sports ground endorsement, billboards, Internet, and sponsorship. These are loosely or not at all regulated.

“New Zealand has to address the culture of drinking and we need to know what role broadcast media advertising and sponsorship and promotion generally plays in that.

“We therefore, do not support liberalising the current advertising regime and we wish to see it tightened and consistently applied.”

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