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NZABC Welcomes Drawing Of Alcohol Bill

The New Zealand Alcohol Beverages Council has welcomed the drawing of Green MP Chloe Swarbrick’s private members Bill in parliament today (Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Harm Minimisation) Amendment Bill).

“There has been a lot already said publicly about Chloe’s Bill – quite a bit of it ill-informed and little based on evidence – so we’re pleasedthe Bill will now go through a parliamentary process that will consider evidence rather than hyperbole,” said NZABC Deputy Chair, Robert Brewer.

“For example coverage about the Bill challenges the status of alcohol sponsorship and advertising as causing harm but never acknowledges that, although advertising spend has gone up, we’re drinking 25% less than we did in the 70’s and 80’s and that harmful drinking – particularly among younger drinkers - has also fallen.” said Robert.

“Alcohol advertising is not about getting people to drink more it’s about getting the consumer to choose one brand over another.”

“And the other side of the Bill which wants to remove the businesses and individuals right of appeal as defined under current legislation seems, on the surface of it, removing a fundamental tenant of any good democracy – the ability to challenge bad decisions or matters that will impact trading rights that are not based on evidence,” he said.

Mr Brewer also said that he wondered about the status of the Bill given that government had already announced a full review of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act would kick off this term.

“There is no doubt that current laws could be improved and that the current Act should be reviewed having been in place for over a decade. For example we are already on the record as supporting a change to the rules and guidance for District Licencing Committees making them more able to represent community expectations with regards the granting of alcohol licences,” said Robert.

Consumer research shows New Zealanders are quite comfortable with alcohol advertising and sponsorship. The research shows 58% of Kiwis say current alcohol advertising levels are acceptable or could be more (35% say it’s too much), and 53% agree the level of industry sponsorship of sport is about right or could be more (33% say it’s too much).

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