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Foundation Welcomes Alcohol Advertising Inquiry

Attention: Chief Reporter
9 March 2005

Drug Foundation Welcomes Alcohol Advertising Inquiry

The Drug Foundation today welcomed the commitment by Government to undertake a Government-led inquiry into alcohol advertising.

The Government announced its response to a report of the Health Select Committee on a parliamentary petition calling for a review of alcohol advertising. The Government noted that previous industry-led reviews consistently resisted further restrictions on broadcast advertising.

"Earlier reviews conducted by the industry into its own activities failed to address the impact that advertising and marketing has on New Zealand's drinking culture. International and New Zealand research tells us that young people are influenced by alcohol marketing - positive views about alcohol promoted by the liquor industry impacts on young people's drinking behaviours," said Ross Bell, Drug Foundation executive director.

"We currently allow the industry to voluntarily self-regulate. What this means in practice is that we have very weak controls over alcohol advertising and the ability for the industry to continually liberalise its advertising to ensure more people and younger people are exposed to their products. The most recent example of this was the industry's decision last year to shift the start time for alcohol advertising from 9.00pm to 8.30pm - that's a time when over a quarter of 10-17 year olds are watching television.

"The voluntary self-regulation regime meant that the Government, while appalled at that decision, could do nothing about it. If we are serious about limiting the harms alcohol causes to our communities, then we need to regain control from self-serving industry interests. Ultimately, we should have a complete ban on alcohol advertising and marketing, alongside other effective policy initiatives", said Mr Bell.

A call to ban alcohol advertising on television and radio is one of the eight recommendations for action on alcohol launched by the Drug Foundation at Parliament on Monday 28 February.

8 Point Plan for Action on Alcohol

1. Increase Excise Tax on Alcohol

2. Return the Drinking Age to 20

3. Strengthen the Sale of Liquor Act to Reduce Teenage Drinking

4. Increase Effective Enforcement

5. Discontinue Alcohol Ads on Television and Radio

6. Allow Communities More Control Over Liquor Licensing

7. Improve Treatment Services Nationwide

8. Discontinue 'Conscience Voting' on Alcohol Issues

ENDS.

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