Drinking in public places is an important setting to take action.
Many people who go on to commit offences have been consuming alcohol in public places.
Public places may also be a popular setting for young people to drink. They can also be used as places to “pre-load” before entering licensed premises or “side-load” between visits to different bars and clubs.
Public place drinking makes people feel unsafe in their communities and has significant costs to Councils through litter, vandalism and other disorderly behaviour.
Alcohol consumption (and anti-social behaviour) can be normalised when we see it occurring in our everyday settings.
Alcohol bans/bylaws in public places can be useful to address harm in your community.
Restricting alcohol advertisng and sponsorship is one of three 'best buys' evidence-based measures to reduce alcohol harm endorsed by the World Health Organisation. There is strong public support for restricting alcohol advertising and sponsorship in New Zealand in the same way as is tobacco advertising and sponsorship is restricted. Product labelling is important for branding and marketing of alcoholic beverages, but also provides a key platform for including information about risks associated with drinking, particularly the risks of drinking during pregnancy. Research shows graphic pictorial health warnings are more effective than text warnings.
Click on the following to take action on alcohol sponsorship in or concerning:
If you have concerns about alcohol sponsorship within a sports or other club, please also read the section Alcohol and Sports and other clubs.
Remember that the ASA Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol (Principle 4) states that sponsorship should not be undertaken for events where minors (<18 years) are likely to comprise more than 25% of the participants, or spectators. Check to see if this is the case at the club you are concerned about. Effective from July 2021, the Alcohol Advertising and Promotion Code (Principle 3) says that Alcohol sponsorship advertising and promotion must target adult audiences, meaning adults are at least 80% of the estimated participants or spectators.
Find out what you can about how the alcohol sponsorship is being applied and how it is being received, and who is receiving the sponsorship messages.
Be aware of where alcohol sponsorship is being applied in a sporting or cultural organisation or event. What is the benefit for the group being sponsored? Could equivalent benefit be found or sourced elsewhere?
Are children and young people exposed to the alcohol sponsorship? How so? Are they seeing it on television, at sporting venues, in clubrooms, on uniforms, is it on equipment they are using themselves, is it on signage and promotional materials for events? Are the alcohol sponsorship messages reaching our children and young people through social media? Is there branded merchandise in your home linking alcohol brands and sporting and cultural events and teams?
Get clear about what specifically you want to see change and why. The existing rules, principles, and guidelines are very permissive. We can ask for higher standards to be set in our homes, communities, our clubs, our sporting codes. We can ask our community and political leaders for higher standards to be set.
The alcohol industry uses sponsorship of sporting, cultural and social events as a key marketing strategy.
Sport is a key sponsorship avenue for alcohol in New Zealand, and includes naming rights, product placement, signage, logos on uniforms, logos on equipment and playing fields, broadcast deals, and exclusive rights to sell alcohol at events.
Children are often exposed to alcohol branding and consumption through sporting events.
There is strong public support for restricting alcohol advertising and sponsorship.
In New Zealand and Australia, tobacco sponsorship of sporting and cultural events has been banned since the 1990s.
Contact your local council to find out if there is a policy concerning advertising on public transport vehicles and or infrastructure, and if there is any reference to alcohol advertising.
Public transport advertising policies
Many young people use public transport to go about their day-to-day lives. It is important that public transport train stations, bus stops, and vehicles are free from alcohol advertising.
Different agencies (e.g. within Council or Transport) may be responsible for developing and enforcing an alcohol advertising policy on public transport. It is best to check with your local Council. However, contract arrangements will vary, and in some cases decisions about what kind of advertisements can be displayed will rest with an advertising company or with a private transport operator.
It may be likely that any alcohol advertising policy cannot be included in public transport contracts until they come up for renewal. If this is the case, you can always encourage the transport or advertising companies to refrain from placing alcohol advertising.
Alcohol advertising on public transport
Advertising on public transport is another way that alcohol companies advertise to people in our communities. Part of the out of home sector, alcohol companies have placed advertisements on or inside vehicles (buses, trains, ferries etc.), and at stations, bus stops, benches, and kiosks etc. The two main categories are vehicles and infrastructure.
Fortunately, many public transport systems, including Auckland, already have policies in place to exclude alcohol advertising. However, a policy excluding alcohol advertising may not guarantee that a policy is being adhered to.
That said, the impact of alcohol advertising on public transport is still likely to be important, given that people may be exposed to alcohol advertising on public transport on a regular basis.
Does your Council have a signage bylaw or do you need to check the district plan?
Check to see if your Council has a signage bylaw. If your Council does not have a signage bylaw check the district plan to see if there are any requirements around signage or advertising. To find the website of your Local Council, please click here.
Make a complaint if you feel there is a breach of a bylaw or district plan
If your Council does have a bylaw, and you think it is being breached you can make a complaint. You can do the same if the signs at licensed premises are inconsistent with the requirements of the district plan.
Record the details of the advertisement - you can keep track of all signage-related incidents in a log. We have created one for you below.
Take a photo of the possible non-compliant signage
After collecting relevant evidence, raise your concerns with your local Council, as they are responsible for enforcing bylaws and ensuring the district plan is followed.
If your council does not have a signage bylaw
If your council does not have a signage bylaw, check if there are appropriate controls on signage in the district plan or in other bylaws. If there are no appropriate controls, contact your local council to ask if there are plans to develop controls on signage. If not, you could encourage your council to develop a signage bylaw or to make changes to their district plan. Please check out the section on alcohol in public places.
You can highlight the importance of signage controls in your community:
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, please click here;
- Raise community awareness of the harms from alcohol advertising - please check out the sections on seeking others in the community who are interested and get your message across ;
- Write a letter to your representatives at council or on the local/community board to raise your concerns. You may find the template below helpful:
Seeking to have conditions imposed on a licensed premise
When a licence comes up for renewal, you might consider making an objection or requesting conditions be included in the licence. These conditions could include limiting or removing signage and advertising visible from the outside of the premises.
Record the details of the signage and advertising in a log like the one below.
Make it clear in your objection letter what conditions you would like imposed on the licence, here are some examples:
- All signs and advertisements must be fully compliant with local bylaws and district plans
- Limit advertising and signage to the trading name of the premises only
- Maximum of 2 signs visible from outside the premises
- No advertising of alcohol brands or prices visible from outside the premises
- Windows must be clean and clear, with signs limited to 25% of the window area
- No portable signs (sandwich boards, banners/flags, bollard sleeves)
In your objection letter, it may be useful to quote local bylaw(s) or the district plan. Check if there in your area applying to external signage or advertising.
It may be difficult to have conditions imposed on the licence – but you may be able to encourage the applicant to sign an undertaking. An undertaking is a formal written statement (can even be in an email) that the applicant promises to adhere to certain requirements.
Please visit the section on Alcohol Licensing to learn more about objecting to a liquor licence application.