The NZ Advertising Standards Authority
The Advertising Standards Authority, or ASA, is a voluntary group comprising advertisers, communication agencies, and media organisations in New Zealand.
The ASA Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol
The ASA develops and oversees the Alcohol Advertising and Promotion Code.
The Code is mostly concerned with the content of marketing, aiming to ensure that advertising is “responsible” and protects children and young people to some degree.
The Code applies to the advertising and promotion for alcoholic drinks to be broadcasted / published in New Zealand and includes all products with an alcohol strength above 1.15% by volume. For the Alcohol Advertising and Promotion Code, consumable products less than 1.15% alcohol by volume will be considered as 'alcohol' if marketed as "a non-alcoholic variant or brand extension that resembles, e.g. in look and/or taste, a product that contains 1.15% or more ethanol by volume".
The Codes were designed to ensure that alcohol advertising and promotions are consistent with the need for social responsibility and moderation, does not appeal to minors and is truthful in presentation.
There are four principles in the ASA Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol, and three principles in the Alcohol Advertising and Promotion Code.
The principles, guidelines, and rules cover all kinds of advertisements including material advertisers share on social media, and the content users generate in response to prompts from advertisers.
No alcohol ads on TV between 6:00am and 8:30pm
The ASA Codes also limit the amount of exposure of alcohol advertising on television. The Code requires that no alcohol advertisements are permitted to be broadcast between 6:00am and 8:30pm. No such limits are required in other media (e.g. radio, internet) and the time restrictions do not apply to sponsorship advertisements.
There are other limits on exposure in the Code. For example, alcohol promotions and sponsorship must not give the impression of dominating the viewing or listening period. In addition, television alcohol advertising must not exceed six minutes per hour, and there must be no more than two advertisements for alcohol in a single commercial break.
No fixed alcohol ads within a 300m sight-line of the main entrance to a school
The ASA Code states that alcohol advertising and promotion may be placed in locations only when available tools and/or audience data are used to target adults.
In addition, advertisers must not place alcohol advertising and promotion on fixed sites within a 300-metre sightline of the main entrance to a primary, intermediate or secondary school.
The Alcohol Advertising and Promotion Code (in full effect from July 2021) addresses Alcohol Sponsorship in Principle 3. To ensure Alcohol Sponsorship Advertising and Promotion targets Adults, Alcohol Advertisers should not engage in Sponsorship Agreements unless Adults are at least 80% or more of the estimated participants or spectators.
If any person believes that an advertisement or sponsorship is in breach of the Code, a complaint can be made to the ASA.
Complaints regarding breaches to the Code
The ASA deals with all complaints.
There is no independent or Government body which takes complaints relating to the Code. This means that New Zealand has a system of self-regulation – the ASA develops the Code and makes the decisions relating to complaints.
Limited penalties if advertisement is found to breach the Code
If an advertisement or sponsorship is found to breach the Code, the only penalty is that the advertisement must be removed.
This means that an advertisement may have been running for many months before a complaint is laid and a decision on any breach is made. The impact of the advertisement or promotion is largely done by then.
There are no criminal or financial penalties unless, in some cases, the broadcaster does not comply with the requirements.
This type of self-regulation of alcohol advertising has been consistently shown in research to be insufficient to reduce the harmful exposure to alcohol advertising.
Ensure that any information provided to young people about alcohol and/or other drugs is factual and accurate, and appropriate for their development
Ensure that information is delivered by someone who has the skills and knowledge to understand the needs of the young people
It is most effective to focus on building and developing life and personal skills – such as effective communication strategies, assertiveness, media awareness, problem-solving, setting goals and leadership. These are the sorts of skills young people will need to support them in making decisions and choices that support their well-being and achieving their potential. These skills can be developed at school, but they can also be developed within the family/whanau and through extra-curricular activities.
Information that focuses only on the dangers of alcohol use, generally isn’t helpful or effective.
If you are going to allow others to supply alcohol to your teen;
- If your teen is going to a party where alcohol is present, the adult hosts must have your express consent to supply alcohol to your teenager. This is the law.
- Be aware of, or be involved in, the planning for any event your teen might be attending to ensure it is appropriate, and that there are adequate safe guards in place. Make sure you know who is in charge and that they are aware of their obligations and your expectations. Check how alcohol will be supplied, how it will be moderated and supervised.Check who else is invited and security measures.
- If you are not comfortable with the arrangements – it’s ok to say no.You can discuss your reasons and alternatives with your young person.
- Discuss your expectations with your teen about any alcohol use and conditions relating to this. You might need to explain the consequences if their behaviour differs from this.
- Prior to the event get agreement from your teen about how long they are able to stay and when you are picking them up or expecting them home.
- Make sure any transport required is organised, and how this will happen.
- Have an emergency/exit plan in place – what to do if your teen feels unsafe or needs to leave the event for any reason.
If problems occur and things go wrong, then check the following advice prepared by the Health Promotion Agency.
As required by law, any supply of alcohol to young people must be done in a responsible manner. Below are some suggestions.
If you are supplying alcohol;
- Make sure you know how much alcohol is being consumed – e.g. pour a small glass yourself or provide alcohol in single serve bottles or cans, and check the number of standard drinks in these beverages. Some might include more than one standard drink. Make sure you stay within the low risk drinking guidelines
- Have non-alcoholic and low alcohol beverages available.
- Ensure substantial food is part of the mix.
- Slow consumption e.g. alternate non-alcoholic beverages if you are allowing more than one drink.
- Be with them or nearby – you don’t have to hover around them but you do need to be keeping an active eye and ear out, and be available if needed. Avoid letting them take the alcohol away from the home or where you are.
Remember you are not able to provide alcohol to any other young people without the express consent of their parent or guardian.
If parents choose to supply alcohol to a young person, they must do it in a responsible manner. Read the law here.
When considering whether alcohol was supplied in a responsible manner, the court may take into account the following:
- the steps taken by the supplier to supervise the consumption of alcohol:
- whether food was provided with the alcohol:
- whether a choice of low-alcohol or non-alcoholic beverages, or both, was offered:
- the nature of the occasion:
- any arrangements for, or provision of, safe transport:
- the time period over which the alcohol was supplied:
- the strength and volume of the alcohol supplied:
- the age of the minor:
- any other matter it thinks relevant in the particular circumstances.
Government advice is that if a young person does consume alcohol - it should NEVER exceed the adult limits (i.e. <4 standard drinks in an occasion for females, <5 standard drinks for males).
At a licensed premises, alcohol can only be supplied by a parent or guardian in places with a supervised designation (e.g. restaurants, family lounge bars). Some licensed premises are designated as restricted areas - young people CANNOT enter these.
Read this FAQ relating to parental supply of alcohol in New Zealand prepared by the Health Promotion Agency
Our alcohol laws state that:
To buy alcohol:
- You must be 18 years or over. This is called the Minimum Legal Purchase Age. New Zealand does not have a legal age for drinking, unlike the United States.
- If a young person under the age of 18 was to buy alcohol, they could face a fine of up to $2000.
To supply alcohol:
- By law, only parents or legal guardians can supply alcohol to those under 18 years of age.
Others are permitted to supply alcohol to young people ONLY if they have the express consent of the young person’s parent/guardian. Visit Alcohol supplied by others for more information.
The best option is to delay drinking among young people for as long as possible.
New Zealand low-risk drinking guidelines recommend that young people delay alcohol consumption for as long as possible, particularly those under the age of 15 years. It is further recommended that if drinking has initiated, it should occur under guidance, and at low levels and frequency.
There is a bit of confusion out there about whether parents should provide alcohol to their young people and if so, when.
Providing just a little sip to children in order to “teach them how to drink” isn’t advised. The earlier a young person starts drinking the more likely they are to experience alcohol-related harm. It may also have the effect of normalising alcohol consumption. It’s important that young people learn that there are valid options and choices for them not to drink, rather than feeling like they have to drink in order to fit in or be “normal”.
The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 requires that the NZ Police, Licensing Inspector of local council and Medical Officer of Health to work together in the licence application process.
These three regulatory agencies play a key role in alcohol licensing in our country. They are also required to be consulted during the development of a Draft Local Alcohol Policy .
When a licence application is made, the three agencies need to inquire into licence applications and determine whether it meets the criteria of the Act. In most cases, they provide a report on a licence application (although there are different requirements for special licences). All reports are sent to the Council, and there are timelines around this, please click here for a flowchart of the licensing process.
The three regulatory agencies have the duty to work together in order to:
- Ensure ongoing monitoring of licences and enforcement of the Act; and
- Develop and implement strategies for reducing alcohol-related harm.
Both NZ Police and Council licensing inspectors have the power to enter and inspect licensed premises. Maori wardens can also enter premises.
Please visit the following pages for more information:
- NZ Police - http://www.police.govt.nz/contact-us
Public Health Unit for Medical Officers of Health - http://www.health.govt.nz/new-zealand-health-system/my-dhb
- Licensing team at your local council - http://www.lgnz.co.nz/new-zealands-councils/
You will often hear about two levels of decision-making on licence applications; 1) the District Licensing Committee and 2) the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority.
District Licensing Committee
Commonly known as the DLC, this is the local body which makes the decisions regarding local licence applications. The core functions of the DLC are to consider and determine matters within the district they serve, such as:
- Applications of licences and manager’s certificate;
- Temporary authority applications (on/off licences);
- Variation, suspension and cancellation of special licences;
- Referral of applications to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA);
- Conduct inquiries and provision of report required by ARLA;
- Other functions conferred on it by any Act.
The Local council appoints the members of the DLC, which comprises of a chair and two other members.
Normally, DLC members serve a five-year term. Large councils may set up more than one DLC, depending on population size they serve. Smaller councils may also share a DLC with a neighbouring council. Your local council is required to publish a list of their DLC members to the public.
Please check out the following pages for more information:
- Visit Local Government NZ to find your local council - including relevant information on alcohol licensing and DLCs in your local council.
- More details information about DLCs on the website of Health Promotion Agency, please click here.
- Section 186-192 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act –District Licensing Committees, please click here.
Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority
Commonly known as ARLA, this body sits within the Ministry of Justice. They are a national body set up to ensure the Act is consistently and fairly applied by the District Licensing Committees (DLCs). Key statutory functions of ARLA are to consider and determine the following:
- Matters referred by DLCs, e.g. application for licences or renewed licences and applications for manager’s certificates;
- Appeals from decisions of DLCs;
- Appeals against elements of Provisional Local Alcohol Policies;
- Applications by inspectors and police constables for the variation, suspension, or cancellation of licences and manager’s certificates; and
- Any other functions conferred on it by or under this Act or any other enactment.
In addition, ARLA provides guidance to DLCs by issuing practice notes, guidelines or suggestions.
ARLA comprises of up to three District Court judges and any number of other members. Currently, there is only one judge.
You can contact ARLA at [email protected] or 04 4626660.
Please check out the following pages for more information: