Wellington - A New Zealand government review on Wednesday recommended French-style
measures banning alcohol sponsorship of sport in a bid to curb the
South Pacific nation's binge drinking culture.
The ministerial review, headed by former national rugby league coach
Graham Lowe, said it was concerned that alcohol firms used sports
sponsorship to reach young people from an early age and shape their
"In New Zealand there is a strong cultural connection between alcohol
and sport which needs to be addressed," the Ministerial Forum on
Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship found after a two-year review.
"The forum is concerned that young people are not protected from exposure to alcohol sponsorship when viewing sport."
It called for a short-term ban on sponsorship of all sports that are
broadcast or streamed online, followed by a complete ban on all alcohol
sponsorships within five to 10 years.
The complete ban would involve smaller grassroots clubs, for example barring pubs from sponsoring local football teams.
"Many sporting teams and clubs, and individual athletes are 'heroes
of the young' and therefore team kit and equipment with alcohol logos is
a tacit endorsement of the product," it said.
"Further, the association creates positive expectancies around the
sponsoring brand or product and the outcome of alcohol consumption."
It said France had successfully introduced a similar ban in 2010,
calling it "a practical example of how local advertising and sponsorship
restrictions can be implemented".
Steinlager beer is one of the major backers of New Zealand’s most
famous sporting team the All Blacks, including paying for naming rights
of this year's home series against England.
The report recognised many grassroots sporting clubs would struggle
if alcohol marketing was banned and recommended the government fund a
sponsorship replacement programme to help address the shortfall.
But it said action was needed to break the link between sporting
prowess and excessive alcohol consumption that was being fed to young
"Given the revered status of sport and sporting heroes in New Zealand
the forum sees implicit association between alcohol consumption and
sport as unacceptable and too prevalent to leave unattended," it found.
The Association of New Zealand Advertisers said the review had taken
an "extreme" position that ignored international evidence that the
biggest factor contributing to problem drinking was friends and family,
"These recommendations are blunt and blanket and will
disproportionately affect responsible New Zealanders who enjoy a wide
range of sport, arts and cultural events,” chief executive Lindsay Mouat