RNZ; 31 October 2022
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the government will tackle alcohol law reform, to curb alcohol marketing and sponsorship, but will take time to do it right and won’t be rushed.
It has signalled plans to tackle the issue in March.
On the other hand, swifter changes are on the cards for communities to have more control over the sale of alcohol in their areas, with a new amendment expected to the law to remove liquor companies’ and supermarkets’ avenues for appealing local alcohol policies.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Morning Report that current levels of alcohol marketing in New Zealand do not sit well with her, and many other politicians felt the same way.
Communities had faced difficulties battling issues such as electronic billboards outside schools, marketing and advertising aimed at young people, and online advertising.
But Ardern said compared to the quick and “straight-forward” action that could be taken to amend the local alcohol laws, a slower approach was needed for more significant changes to legislation on alcohol advertising and marketing sponsorship.
“Alcohol advertising and sponsorship … spans across a wide range of areas – this is an area where we felt that: yes, there is an issue here … but it’s something that’s relatively embedded, and often you’ll find examples of where it’s closely connected to other things we really value in our community – community-based sport for instance, so it’s not something you can change quickly,” Ardern said.
“So we just want to make sure that when we look at this area we do it in a really considered and thoughtful way, we’re clear about the impacts it will likely have – where there has been a reliance on those forms of sponsorship and advertising … and we have a plan.”
But Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick told Morning Report the government was not doing enough to reduce alcohol harm, despite multiple reports advising action.