Alcohol-free Advertising and Sponsorship

We will soon be kicking our campaign on alcohol-free advertising and sponsorship into the next gear - if you'd like to be involved then leave your details and we will be in touch.

Here is some background and things you can do in the mean time:


Alcohol companies are always seeking new ways to increase immediate demand, as well as future demand, for their products

From the way the products are designed (e.g. naming, labelling, packaging) to the way they are advertised and marketed, everything is planned.

Today, more and more advertising is occuring through social media. Drinking is often glamourised as a harmless activity, not showing the full picture of the harm alcohol causes in our country.

Young people and those with addictions are particularly vulnerable to alcohol advertising. Exposure to alcohol advertising is linked with taking up drinking earlier and drinking larger amounts. Advertising also makes it more difficult for people wishing to quit or cut back their drinking and prevents health promotion messages from being more effective.

In our daily lives, alcohol is promoted in a number of places, including the following:

  • advertising on TV, radio, billborads, magazines, social media;
  • clubs or public events (alcohol sponsorship);
  • supermarkets;
  • public transport;

New Zealand Law Commission 2010

In 2010, the Law Commission reviewed our liquor laws, recommending that a three-stage process be implemented to ultimately lead to alcohol advertising being prohibited.

Only Stage 1 of the recommendations were implemented, through provisions in the Act to address the irresponsible promotion of alcohol (Section 237of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act).

The other two stages, however, were not implemented.

Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship 2014

In early 2014, a Ministerial Forum was established to consider whether further restrictions on alcohol advertising and sponsorship were needed in New Zealand to reduce alcohol-related harm.

Following public submissions, the Forum reported its recommendations to the Minister of Justice and the Associate Minister of Health in October of the same year.

Just like the Law Commission did in 2010, the Forum also made strong calls to reduce the harm from advertising and sponsorship. The following steps were recommended in its report:

  • Alcohol advertising, other than that communicating objective product information, should be restricted in all media in New Zealand, including alcohol promotion on the internet and social media sites.
  • All permitted alcohol advertising should be accompanied by health advisory statements. In particular, these health advisory statements should include a warning of the risks associated with consuming alcohol during pregnancy, and drinking by young people.
  • Alcohol sponsorship of sporting and cultural events should be phased out as soon as possible.
  • A portion of the revenue gathered by alcohol excise taxes should be ring-fenced to replace alcohol sponsorship for sport and cultural activities.
  • The self-regulation of alcohol marketing (i.e. ASA) should be replaced with an independent body to manage and enforce the increased restrictions on advertising and sponsorship.

As at November 2017, the report is yet to receive a formal response from the Government. As such, community action is important to enable the above recommendations to be adopted.


How to get involved

Make submissions on draft legislation or policy

Be an advocate for more effective controls on alcohol advertising (including labelling) and sponsorship.

Make a submission – Look out for any opportunities to have a say on the development or review of any policies and bylaws that might help reduce exposure to alcohol advertising and marketing.

Think both local and national

Policies and laws to address alcohol advertising may be at the local level:

  • Policies prohibiting alcohol advertising on Council properties/venues, public transport and at any events sponsored by Council.
  • Policies and laws to address alcohol advertising may be at the national level:
  • Laws, standards and policies on alcohol advertising, sponsorship, labelling, etc.


Advocate for Change

For more information and tips on making submissions and other advocacy action see Mobilising Others.

Encourage your local council to develop policies and bylaws – If your local council hasn’t developed any policies or bylaws to control alcohol marketing, or existing bylaws aren’t working, you can encourage them to take action. They could prohibit alcohol advertising at all Council facilities.