Talking to Kate Hawkesby on iHeartRadio MP Swarbrick highlighted some of the harms that alcohol causes to New Zealanders. Despite the harm alcohol continues to be promoted through advertising and sponsorship specifically through sports. Many children are exposed to these advertisements which influence their values, expectations and behaviors. According to research presented in The Conversation in 2020, children were exposed to an average of 46 ads for unhealthy products every day including 12 alcohol ads.
We have to recognize that the least we can do with the amount of alcohol harm in the country is stop promoting the most harmful drug that we have,” said MP Chloe Swarbrick, as per NewstalkZB.Chloe Swarbrick, Green Party MP, New Zealand
MP Swarbrick further noted that alcohol costs (at the most conservative level) $7.8 billion according to estimates by the Ministry of Health. Alcohol Action reports the cost is about $70 billion. Either way the excise tax revenue from alcohol which is only $1.1 billion does not even come close to covering the cost.
A 2010 Law Commission Review and a 2014 Ministerial Forum had already looked into alcohol advertising and sponsorships. Both recommending improved regulations on alcohol advertising.
Currently alcohol advertising is self regulated by the alcohol industry. And clearly, self-regulation is failing.
Dr. Nicki Jackson and colleagues published a letter in the New Zealand Medical Journal. It has the telling title “Ineffective, meaningless, inequitable: analysis of complaints to a voluntary alcohol advertising code”. According to the analysis laid out in the letter Big Alcohol violates its own codes in multiple and systematic ways:
- Promotion of health and lifestyle benefits of alcohol,
- Promotion of alcohol as a coping mechanism,
- Sexualisation of women,
- Location of billboards very close to school grounds,
- Promotion of alcohol consumption games, and
- Using “heroes of the young” to promote alcohol.
As Movendi International has previously reported, there is wide public support for improving alcohol marketing regulations in New Zealand. Various public figures, including rugby league legend Graham Lowe, have spoken out in favor of banning alcohol industry sports sponsorships.
MP Swarbrick notes that the bill calls for similar regulations for alcohol as for tobacco which is already applied effectively in New Zealand. The bill is calling to stop promoting and normalizing this harmful substance, specifically to stop exposing children to it.
We need to end the glamorization, normalization and continued socialization of one of the most harmful substances that we know of,” said MP Chloe Swarbrick, as per NewstalkZB.Chloe Swarbrick, Green Party MP, New Zealand