ASIA PACIFIC: NEW ZEALAND
ADVERTISING ALCOHOL IN NEW ZEALAND
Author: Liesl Knox, Hesketh Henry
The manner in which alcohol is marketed, promoted and sold has once again come under intense scrutiny in New Zealand. Alcohol has been identified as the cause of significant social and health-related harm and is implicated in 30 percent of all police recorded offences. Statistics such as this have resulted in substantive pressure on the New Zealand government to introduce greater regulation around both the advertising and sale of alcohol. The government has responded by introducing a bill, currently before Parliament, the Alcohol Reform Bill 2010 (the "Bill").
Late last month New Zealand's Advertising Standards Authority ("ASA") also announced that the Code for Advertising Alcohol (“Code”) will be revised and combined with the Code for Naming Labelling Packaging and Promotion of Liquor.
The four main principles in the revised Code will cover social responsibility, responsibility and moderation in alcohol consumption; alcohol advertisements directed at adult audiences and restrictions relating to sponsorship advertising.
However, some organisations have strongly criticized one significant change proposed in the revised Code which they claim will derogate from the aims of regulating alcohol advertising. The director of a women's health trust has voiced concern that the ASA's decision to remove the Code rule aimed at preventing alcohol advertisements from depicting "unduly masculine themes or portray[ing] unrealistic behaviour" is likely to result in an increase in alcohol advertising that portrays sexist, derogatory and degrading behaviour by men, towards women.
The ASA disputes this view with its chief executive Hilary Souter saying she "was confident the removal of the requirement would not result in a flood of sexist commercials."
This may well be the case, when one considers the type of alcohol advertising already in the market place.