Researchers say that alcohol advertising near schools is a problem for more than half of the kura it sampled.
Findings published in the New Zealand Medical Journal also showed that children from lower decile schools are more likely to be exposed to alcohol advertising. A random sample of 50 schools was taken and researchers counted all alcohol advertisements within a 500m radius. Alcohol Healthwatch said that 56% of schools had one or more alcohol advertisement within the 500m radius.
Health promotion advisor Sarah Sneyd said that low decile schools were the worst affected, with 63% having alcohol advertisements within the area. While the Alcohol Beverages Council maintains that one piece of marketing within 500m is a reasonable level of exposure, school principals say that alcohol remains a big issue. “Alcohol is a significant issue for our youth in New Zealand and I think if you talk to the Auckland police on any occasion, there’s a strong correlation between offending and alcohol abuse with our young people,” said Auckland Secondary Schools’ Principals’ Association president Greg Pierce. “The more we can do to reduce their exposure to it on licensed premises, the better.”
Currently, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has voluntary guidelines for advertising including that nothing should be with a 300m sight line of primary, intermediate or secondary schools. Sneyd labels the voluntary guidelines as “ineffective”. “I say guidelines because they’re just guidelines, they’re not bylaws, they’re not laws, and the ASA isn’t able to put in penalties or fines for people who are breaching that.”