Media Release 17 Dec 2014
Family First NZ says that a proposed ban on alcohol advertising at sports events as recommended by a ministerial forum is an important move, but will not solve the binge drinking and alcohol abuse issue on its own.
“The binge drinking culture has been increasing markedly since liberalising laws and controls around alcohol abuse. In 1989 alcohol law changes eased restrictions for off-licence selling including supermarket and grocery stores selling wine, and availability increased as trading hours of on-licence venues were extended. And then in 1999 parliament foolishly lowered the drinking age, allowed the sale of beer in supermarkets and further increased trading hours. The evidence shows that this has failed our families and communities,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“To make any inroads in to tackling our alcohol abuse culture, we need to also target the equally important issues of accessibility, pricing (especially around ‘loss leading’), raising the drinking age, penalties for public drunkenness, placing health warnings on alcohol products, and increasing treatment opportunities for alcohol abuse.”
“The ministerial forum is correct to identify that we need to protect young people and vulnerable people from the harm of excess alcohol use. New medical evidence on accident probability, disease and brain development, along with the Child and Youth Mortality Review, and the recommendations of the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser make it absolutely clear that delaying the age at which teenagers and young people have easy access to alcohol would reduce the level of damage they and society suffer at the moment as well as contributing to their future health and well-being,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“The association of sport with a drinking culture is one of the strongholds of the alcohol industry which needs to be tackled.”
“Ultimately, it is not alcohol per se that is the problem. It’s the abuse of alcohol and the culture of binge drinking that we have allowed to develop through liberalised laws. We must reverse these liberalised laws. This ministerial forum is just one step.”