Omnipresent and overt alcohol advertising and sponsorship needs to be reined if efforts to change our drinking culture are to be taken seriously, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says.
“The Alcohol Reform Bill is an opportunity to make real changes to the availability and supply of alcohol. It is also an opportunity to change our perceptions of alcohol. Cultural change needs to happen and some of that can be led by Parliament.
“Alcohol is all-pervasive in our communities. Kiwi kids grow up surrounded by alcohol advertising. They are bombarded with messages and images that imply alcohol is a normal part of life and that it should be purchased in large quantities.
“Sporting and cultural heroes that children look up to are regularly associated with alcohol. That needs to be toned down if we are genuinely interested in changing our attitude towards to drinking,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.
“To that end I have developed a series of amendments to the Alcohol Reform Bill that I will propose when it is next debated in Parliament. They are:
1. To remove alcohol advertising on posters or billboards within 300m of schools and early childhood centres.
2. To remove alcohol advertising in cinemas unless the film screening is R18.
3. To move the TV advertising watershed to 9pm.
4. To prohibit using price in alcohol advertisements except in catalogues.
5. To prohibit advertising discounts on alcohol, including in catalogues.
6. To establish an ‘Alcohol Advertising Reform Committee’. This will be a joint Ministry of Health / Ministry of Justice Committee that will also include the Health Promotion Agency.
“One of the measures I want the committee to consider is to phase out alcohol sponsorship in the same way tobacco sponsorship was phased out. This could include the Health Promotion Agency taking on a sponsorship role as the Health Sponsorship Council did with SmokeFree.
“I acknowledge that many organisations rely on alcohol sponsorship just as many organisations once relied on tobacco sponsorship. That is why I want to take this moderate approach to consider the viability of this option and to plan a smooth implementation should it go ahead.
“This is a conscience vote for Labour MPs – they will have a free vote on the Alcohol Reform Bill. While I hope the National Party will support this amendment, if they can’t reach consensus, I hope the Government whips will release their MPs to vote as they wish as well,” said Iain Lees-Galloway.