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ALAC says no to loosening up of liquor advertising

ALAC says no to loosening up of liquor advertising

The Alcohol Advisory Council is against any loosening of liquor advertising.

Freeing up current rules around liquor advertising codes won't help New Zealand's current heavy drinking culture, ALAC chief executive Mike MacAvoy this morning told the panel reviewing liquor advertising rules. The panel is chaired by Sir Michael Hardie Boys.

ALAC is also calling for a rationalisation of all alcohol advertising and for all current codes affecting alcohol advertising to be aligned including sponsorship, online and point of sale promotion and naming and packaging codes.

“Liquor advertising, which portrays alcohol as fun, sexy and essential to have a good time, can validate a worrying drinking culture, Dr MacAvoy says.

ALAC is also concerned over the use of sponsorship and Internet marketing, which is currently less controlled.

In its submission ALAC opposed any further liberalisation of alcohol advertising.

“We also vigorously countered arguments by the liquor industry that a loosening up of the codes was warranted on the basis of a drop in consumption.

“It is patterns of drinking we’re worried about. Drinking 14 drinks over one week is a lot different to drinking 14 drinks in one night. Consumption figures are most misleading.”

ALAC called for the start time for television liquor advertising to be moved back from 9pm to 9.30pm. The current 9pm watershed is in the middle of a programme slot with a high number of younger viewers.

Figures show that approximately one quarter of young people between 10 to 18 years old are watching television between 6.30pm and 9.30pm.

Any relaxation in the start time would mean these viewers have greater exposure to liquor advertisements.

Dr MacAvoy says further liberalisation of the advertising of alcohol would be unwise given the emerging evidence of a link between alcohol advertising and drinking cultures, particularly the drinking culture of the young.

“Research shows the number of young people drinking in New Zealand – as a one-off event or over a period of time - to such an extent that they could harm themselves or others remains worryingly high. “

Dr MacAvoy also raised concerns over sponsorship of sporting events by alcohol producers. Of particular concern was the growing sponsorship of media programmes by liquor producers. These programmes and their trailers enable significant brand exposure at times outside the allowed alcohol advertising time of 9pm.

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