Over the barren news slumber of the summer holiday period, it’s always intriguing to see what dubious university research pieces, and the outlandish claims they support, are strategically wheeled out as guaranteed headline-grabbers.
By February, such strident attempts to secure the elixir of news coverage would be long gone. This summer’s gold medal performance would have to go to the Department of Public Health researchers at the University of Otago’s Wellington campus (UOW).
Their study, published in the latest NZ Medical Journal, assessed the nature and scope of alcohol sport sponsorship over a summer of televised sport in New Zealand. They dissected five major sporting events televised two years ago, including cricket, tennis, football and rugby league.
“Audiences were exposed to between 1.6 and 3.8 alcohol brand exposures per minute. For three out of the five events alcohol brands were visible for almost half of the game,” the study reports.
And they want it banned. Ditto for the Greens, who ride the same expedient bandwagon, waging war against booze and fast food, while pledging to legalise recreational cannabis.
These public health researchers, without offering the barest shred of evidence, would have you believe that somehow this juggernaut of alcohol brand exposure, pissing all over televised sport, is fuelling under-age drinking and binge-drinking.
The inconvenient truth is that the latest Ministry of Health statistics clearly indicate a continuing slide in general alcohol consumption – and its abuse.
According to their data, the rate of hazardous drinking among 15 to 17 year olds has dropped to 21 per cent, while among 18 to 24 year olds, hazardous drinking has dipped from 49 per cent to 36 per cent in five years.
An inconvenient truth.