Drinking *hiccup*

That cheeky Robson got his Bill pulled out to raise the drinking age back up. It might make first reading tonight but depends on how quick they go through the order paper.

From the Bill:

This bill amends the Sale of Liquor Act 1989 to raise the drinking age to 20 years, strengthen the provisions relating to the supply of liquor to minors,
and provide a statutory restriction on broadcast liquor advertising before 10pm
on any day, as well as extend the current jurisdiction of the Broadcasting
Standards Authority to include the broadcast liquor advertising issues that are
currently dealt with by the Advertising Standards Authority, a self-regulating
industry body.

Little problem in that we don’t legally have a drinking age in this country. It is a purchasing age. So if this goes any further it will either have to be changed to fit with the Sale of Liquor Act or there will be a radical re-think in the way we deal with drug laws.

The explanatory note does go on about the rising figures of alcohol abuse amongst young people but doesn’t mention whether those figures are unusal in relation to the wider drinking stats, we just assume they are.

There is of course, not mention of the fact that when the drinking age was lowered it was done so on condition that a whole lot of stuff happened. Eg enforcing it for a start, and a decent amount of resources get put into addressing the drinking culture. So what happened?

I was about 20 (if I remember right, drunk a fair bit since then) when the law changed. And I went from legally being able to purchase alcohol to not being able to. Why? Cause I didn’t have legal ID. They created this stupid bloody system. The only ID acceptable was a passport (which I didn’t have), or a drivers licence (cars are EVIL!) or a HANZ card (EVIL EVIL!!). Now I had a valid university student ID. It was made out of plastic and my photo was printed on to it and it had my date of birth on it. To obtain this piece of card I had to prove to a number of institutions that a) I existed and b) I wasn’t fibbing about any aspect of my identity. I also had to fork out a few thousand dollars but that’s another story…. But I couldn’t use this student ID card cause it wasn’t ‘official’. But I could pay HANZ (an organisation I DON”T LIKE AT ALL) money to get one of thier cards. But then it was so bloody easy to rip that system off that heaps of people I knew under 18 had these cards. So I boycotted that.

Instead I developed a lovely relationship with my local wine cellar so I didn’t need ID. It was a double bonus. No interferrence with my identity and I got to make friends with the proprietors of a local small business. Nice.

But you get my point. Heaps of people had valid ID that they couldn’t use and heaps of people were ripping off the system that the officials set in place. In short, it didn’t work and they couldn’t properly enforce it.

Then there’s the addressing the culture thing.

I did some research last year about the expenditure of advertising expenditure on alcohol. I was surprised that it had dropped but what was interesting was the shift around on the type of alcohol advertisers were focussing on. You guessed it, low alcohol cheap stuff. So they dropped the spending on expensive spirits and moved it to cheap beer. Hmm

Those older readers out there may also remember how wholesaler store layouts changed. There was more colour, more specials and more cheap crap.

So how is this addressing the culture? Hmm? eh? huh?

Especially when you consider these facts:

· There is a trend in alcohol advertising towards use of a broad range of media promotion methods such as sponsorship, competitions and special promotions, and to exploit new, unregulated media. Internet controls on alcohol marketing are virtually non-existent and regulation will demand concerted international effort.
· Sponsorship by the alcohol industry has become common in key areas of popular culture including sport, music, film, fashion, television. There is also growing involvement of the alcohol industry in educational institutions. By extending its sphere of influence into these regions, the alcohol industry is maximising youth vulnerability to advertising and their important market potential. Sport is the most developed example of this trend – it has a large youthful audience who are a valuable investment for the alcohol industry in establishing the future long-term adult drinkers. In New Zealand, an unhealthy dependence of sports clubs, teams and events on financial support from breweries has been allowed to develop.
· The alcohol industry has moved with shifts in youth culture by producing new products heavily branded and targeted to respond to these changes (Jackson et al. 2000). Research suggests that new product development by the alcohol industry is having an impact on young people’s drinking and is associated with increased drunkenness and dangerous behaviour. (Cooke et al. 2002)
· The alcohol industry’s marketing budgets dwarf its expenditure on supporting educational and community activities. In 1998 there was approximately $52 million worth of product and sponsorship advertising on television, radio, magazines and press (AC Nielsen, 1999).

(ref: parliamentary library briefing thing)

OK so before I rant on too much. There are a number of wee points in the Bill that I might address later if it gets to committee and I have to make a submission *sigh*. But yeah, in summary, the Bill is stupid, throw it out, young people Vote Green before those old bastards blame you for everything.

Oh yeah, and thought Nandor’s release about this Bill in relation to Youth Week was quite witty.


One response to “Drinking *hiccup*

  1. i had a big argument with an artist friend the other day about alcohol sponsorship and arts.

    he was arguing that alcohol has become a fact of life, needed to keep the people who show up to gallery openings in the ‘established’ ‘art world’ happy; and that if i was working on a project with him he’d insist on getting mac’s to give us some beer and thanking them.

    i wasn’t having it unless we could somehow point out that alcohol can be a nasty drug if misused &c. we ended up shouting at each other.

    point, point.. erm.

    christ, just look at student media. dunno about the other mags but every second article in salient seems to be about how great it is to get totally trashed. wasn’t like that when i started uni five years ago.

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