From 1 October, all Auckland Transport infrastructure, facilities and public transport services will be free from alcohol advertising.
Alcohol Healthwatch celebrates the decision by Auckland Transport to say no to alcohol advertising, given the strong evidence of the harms from alcohol advertising particularly to young people, women and those with alcohol dependencies.
Alcohol Healthwatch Executive Director Dr Nicki Jackson, says, “the position taken by Auckland Transport on alcohol advertising will protect young people from its harm. Exposure to alcohol advertising can be explicit or subliminal and has harmful effects on our communities. It especially reaches children and adolescents given they are our biggest users of public transport.”
Auckland Transport’s Group Manager Metro Service Delivery Stacey Van Der Putten says public transport use in Auckland continues to grow.
“There were more than 92 million trips made on Aucklander's buses, trains or ferries in the past year. The public transport network is continuing to grow, and at Auckland Transport we have to make sure that advertising on our assets is done in a responsible way. This is a no-brainer – we are proud to take leadership and set an example for the community.”
Dr Jackson adds, “We are all exposed to advertising on public transport or at transport facilities, whether we use the bus, train, ferry or drive our car. Alcohol advertising reinforces alcohol use as the norm and this is not the message we want our children to be receiving.
“Those trying to limit their drinking or remain sober also tell us that they actively seek to avoid the strong cues linked to alcohol advertising. We commend Auckland Transport for saying no to alcohol advertising and putting their community first.”
Alcohol Healthwatch believes the policy is a great first step and hopes that other Councils around the country will follow Auckland’s leadership on this important issue.
“Very few councils with public transport facilities have adequate protections in place, despite 80 percent of New Zealanders supporting restrictions on alcohol advertising that can be seen or heard by young people,” Dr Jackson says.
“This policy rightly puts the welfare of its people ahead of profit. We would like to see every local and regional Council across the country require all of their infrastructure and facilities to be free from alcohol advertising. Alcohol Healthwatch would be thrilled to support them in the process.”