A digital campaign to share in the vision of a country with less alcohol harm
A digital campaign to share in the vision of a country with less alcohol harm
Uncap Our Potential is a digital campaign that is underpinned by a values and strengths-based approached. It invites New Zealanders to truly imagine the amazing potential we can reach and share, when our nation has less alcohol harm.
The campaign kicks off with two digital stories on social media, with New Zealanders working at the forefront of alcohol harm sharing their vision of a future with less harm. These can be found on the campaign website (click the logo below for visiting the website). Both videos have Te Reo Māori and English subtitles.
Everything we care about will start to improve. With less alcohol harm, we can improve our mental wellbeing, reduce suicide, have safer roads and communities, less family harm, and improve our physical health (e.g. fewer injuries and cancers).
We can open up space to enable genuine connection, conversations, trust and creativity. We can identify evidence-based pathways to this vision, such as supporting effective alcohol pricing policies.
Pro-equity policies must be prioritised to uphold our obligations to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, ending the longstanding inequities in alcohol-related harm between Māori and non-Māori.
We sincerely hope that you also share the vision to uncap our potential. In the words of one New Zealander in our videos, "together we can make it a reality". Please support by sharing the digital resources on the campaign website. Please also like and share on any of our social media platforms:
|UncapNZ||uncapourpotential||@UncapNZ||Uncap Our Potential|
We are calling on you to protect our communities from alcohol advertising:
Reducing community exposure to alcohol advertising through the Auckland Signage Bylaw
The Signage Bylaw 2015 is currently being reviewed by the Auckland Council’s Social Policy and Bylaws Unit. This review presents an opportunity to protect communities from alcohol advertising Auckland.
The review findings will be presented to Auckland Council’s new regulatory committee and to the Board of Auckland Transport after the 2019 local elections. A decision will then be made on the future of the bylaw.
Kids are frequently exposed to harmful alcohol advertising
Exposure to alcohol advertising can lead to children and young people starting to drink alcohol earlier and drinking larger amounts of alcohol.(1,2) New Zealand research shows children are frequently exposed to alcohol advertising, commonly via bottle stores and other alcohol outlets.(3) There are significant inequities in this harmful exposure, with tamariki Māori having much higher levels of exposure.
Health Promotion Agency surveys show that 80% of New Zealanders support increasing restrictions on alcohol advertising or promotion seen or heard by people under 18 years.(4)
Bottle stores not complying with the Signage Bylaw 2015
The Auckland Signage Bylaw contains generic regulations for signage, by sign type and unitary plan zone.(5) Alcohol signage is regarded as no different to other signage, despite the significant harm from alcohol advertising exposure.
Alcohol Healthwatch audited bottle store compliance with the Signage Bylaw, finding compliance was rare. Of particular concern, multiple apparent breaches of the Signage Bylaw was common (81% of premises exhibited 2 or more apparent breaches).(6,7)
Other mechanisms are ineffective
New Zealand has a weak, voluntary self-regulatory code as the main protection against alcohol advertising.(8) In relation to alcohol outlets, this alcohol industry code centres on the content of each advertisement and fails to address both the amount of alcohol advertising that communities are exposed to and the location of advertising relative to sensitive sites (e.g. schools).
Despite the Law Commission Review (9) and Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship,(10) making strong recommendations to restrict advertising exposure in communities (including at licensed premises) there has been no Government action to date.
Leadership is needed
Given the harms associated with alcohol advertising, the known exposure among young people, the lack of protection offered by the New Zealand’s self-regulatory system, and the widespread non-compliance of bottle stores with the Signage Bylaw, leadership is urgently needed from civic and community leaders.
Show your support by signing on to the resolution today!
Red Shoes Rock! is about every day kiwis stepping out in red shoes to build awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) during September. RJ Formanek is an adult living with FASD. Formanek sparked Red Shoes Rock! five years ago when he decided to wear red shoes to stand out from the crowd, get people talking, and make FASD visible - now its gone global!
Join us during FASD awareness month and help continue the conversation.
Alcohol Healthwatch spreads global message to prevent harm from drinking during pregnancy this FASD Awareness Day
Alcohol Healthwatch released this message to media this morning as part of their FASD Awareness Day activities. Feel free to use this media release to help your messaging this FASD Awareness Day. See media release here.
Alcohol Healthwatch develops FASD messages for social media
Alcohol Healthwatch has developed FASD messages you can use on your social media for FASD Awareness Day.
These messages are suitable for Facebook postings:
These messages are suitable for twitter:
Don't know? Don't drink digital toolkit
Te Hiringa Hauora (Health Promotion Agency) has developed a digital toolkit of resources that can be used to support your promotional activities for FASD awareness month. You can view the toolkit here.
Pregnancy warning success at last!
On the 17th July 2020, Australian and New Zealand Ministers voted for mandatory pregnancy health warning labels giving alcohol producers three years to include the warning label on their products and packaging. Alcohol Healthwatch says that to their knowledge this is the only pregnancy health warning label in the world that includes both a pictogram and specific text, with the warning heading also required to be in red to attract to attention. This label will add to the other actions that are in place to support healthy pregnancies and is another important step to building strong and consistent messaging about alcohol-free pregnancies being the safest option. (Below is an example of the mandated label)
The '20 year gestation of a pregnancy health warning for alcohol' written by Dr Nicki Jackson, Executive Director, Alcohol Healthwatch, and recently published in the New Zealand Medical Journal Digest, documents the journey to achieving this historic warning label decision.
The COVID-19 situation poses extra challenges for most of us, but especially whānau who are under additional financial stress, and people who are affected by harmful alcohol use, whether it is their own or someone else's alcohol use. People may tend to drink more in an occasion, and more frequently, when they feel stressed. Alcohol is known to negatively affect mental health and wellbeing, and plays a key role in violence and family harm. For some people, staying home plus drinking may put them at extra risk.
Alcohol is also the cause of many injuries and chronic illnesses. These injuries and illnesses put extra strain on hospital and health resources. During the COVID-19 response, we need to do everything we can to reduce the alcohol-related burden on our health system.
Kiwis are strong, resilient and kind to others. Below is a list of services you can use if you have any concerns about alcohol:
Alcohol and Drug services
- Alcohol and Drug Helpline (0800 787 797 or text 8681)
- Kaupapa Māori treatment providers
- Alcohol and drug support operated by the Salvation Army (0800 53 00 00)
Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā (National Māori Pandemic Group)
- Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/TRWU20/
Lifeline and other mental health helplines
- Lifeline (0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357, 0800 828 865 for suicide crisis)
- NZ mental health & addictions helpline: free text or call 1737
- Protecting vulnerable children
Advice on living sober or low-risk drinking
- Living sober
- Tips for easing up on the booze in a time of lockdown
- Low-risk drinking advice
- New Zealand Drug Foundation – useful advice to manage withdrawal, maintain recovery, etc
Healthline for health advice on COVID-19
- Healthline (0800 358 5453) – if you have any health concerns about COVID-19
If there is an immediate threat to your safety or the safety of others, please call emergency services on 111.
Please visit https://covid19.govt.nz/ for the most credible and updated health information on COVID-19.
Consumption of alcohol will not protect you from COVID-19! Check out and share the resources developed by the World Health Organization Europe on what you need to know about alcohol at this time.
The above list is not exhaustive, and there is a whole range of organisations not listed here. Please also visit other sections of ActionPoint.org.nz for all kinds of information on alcohol issues and actions you can take to reduce alcohol harm in your community.
Every decision-maker plays a key role in reducing alcohol-related harm and enabling a healthier, fairer Aotearoa New Zealand. By implementing evidence-based policies, we have the potential to improve everything we deeply care about.
With less alcohol harm, we can; improve our mental wellbeing, reduce suicide and family harm, have safer roads and communities, improve our physical health (e.g. fewer injuries, birth defects and cancers) and lift employment and productivity. Every New Zealander stands to benefit as a result of improved safety and substantial cost savings. Our core services and sectors, such as ACC, police, health, welfare and justice will experience significant gains from reduced harm. The possibilities and benefits are endless.
Independent public opinion polling shows strong support among New Zealanders for more action to be taken on alcohol harm.
The evidence-based, pro-equity policies listed below will make the biggest difference to shifting our drinking culture and reducing harm in our country, especially to those who are disproportionately affected. This includes women and children, as they suffer the greatest harm from the drinking of others. Pro-equity polices are also needed to uphold our obligations to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, ending the longstanding inequities in alcohol-related harm between Māori and non-Māori.
Reduce the hours that alcohol can be sold
Increase alcohol prices, on average, by at least 10% through raising alcohol excise taxes
Implement comprehensive statutory restrictions to alcohol marketing and sponsorship
Increase funding for screening and brief interventions for hazardous drinking
Increase funding for compulsory roadside breath testing
Mandate a register of lobbying of designated public officials
- New Zealand’s legislative default trading hours for off-licences (7am to 11pm) and on-licences (8am to 4am) are too long, increasing the serious risk of alcohol harm in communities
- Alcohol outlet density is highest in socio-economically deprived communities
- Community efforts to address alcohol outlet saturation in their neighbourhoods have been unsuccessful
- Councils trying to uphold community wishes for greater alcohol control have faced lengthy and costly legal challenges to their local alcohol policies, largely by the alcohol industry interests (e.g. supermarkets and bottle stores)
- Young people experience disproportionately more harm from their drinking and can be protected by increasing the legal purchase age
- A strong body of research shows that increasing the price of alcohol is the most effective and cost-effective measure to reduce alcohol use and harm
- New Zealand research in 2017 found that alcohol was more affordable than ever before
- 50% increases in alcohol excise tax will increase alcohol prices, on average, by 10% and reduce overall consumption by 5%
- The cheapest alcohol in New Zealand is sold for as little as 68 cents per standard drink
- Wine is taxed at a flat rate that assumes all wine is 10% alcohol strength – this is well below the current alcohol content of wines and represents significant lost tax revenue. The low rate effectively means that the 5th glass in a bottle is effectively tax-free.
- Heavy drinkers are more likely to buy cheap alcohol
- Many countries and jurisdictions have recently implemented MUP, showing positive effects
Low income, heavy drinkers accrue the vast majority of health benefits from Minimum Unit Pricing
- Among young people, exposure to alcohol marketing has been shown to increase the likelihood of starting to drink and drinking heavily
- Persons with alcohol dependence (and those in recovery) are particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol marketing
- Tamariki Māori are disproportionately exposed to alcohol marketing, particularly via alcohol sports sponsorship and shop fronts of licensed premises
- Industry self-regulation of alcohol advertising (through a voluntary code of practice) is ineffective
- Sophisticated and unique targeting of alcohol marketing via digital media platforms is increasing markedly, proving difficult to identify and monitor for compliance and enforcement purposes
- Other countries are implementing comprehensive restrictions to marketing or adopting measures that specifically protect children (e.g. by requiring no alcohol advertising around schools)
- Individuals and communities have a right to know the health impacts of alcohol whether it is cancer, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, poor mental health, family harm, etc
- Alcohol screening and brief interventions in health care settings are cost-effective
- FASD is a lifelong disability that is largely unaddressed, leaving affected individuals and whānau struggling without appropriate cross-sectoral intervention and support
- The number of random breath tests per year continues to fall below best practice levels
- Alcohol is involved in around one-third of all road deaths in New Zealand
- Between 2014 and 2016, for every 100 alcohol or drug-impaired drivers or riders who died in road crashes, 37 of their passengers and 19 sober road users died with them
- In some parts of New Zealand, the rate of alcohol-involved deaths and serious injuries has been increasing
- Many countries now have a blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.02% for adult drivers
Alcohol industry influence
- New Zealand has measures in place to protect tobacco policies, but not alcohol policies, from commercial interests
- In relation to New Zealand’s heavy drinking culture, the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry report noted that “Strong vested interest groups have incentives to resist change.”
- Transparency is essential to an effective democracy
- International experience shows the benefits of a lobby register when developing and implementing strong alcohol control measures
Download the pdf of the scorecard below or here.
Unfortunately, only a few parties have released their policies so far. Details are available at
You can use our scorecard to see how they measure up. When more parties have listed their policies we hope to provide an update!