I loathe rugby with the same passion that so many Kiwis love it. I hate the thuggery I have seen on the sports news, the ear biting, eye gouging, testicle squeezing and all the fisticuffs and other bully boy stuff. The shots in the dressing room where they are already downing beer from a bottle along with John Key at one time, all boys together.
But most of all I loathe that this ‘sport’ which is followed with absolute fervency in Aotearoa and is seen as ‘the great game’ is the ‘pin up boy’ for Kiwis. There is the endless critiquing of the game and the criticism of the coach every time they don’t win or the captain. It all takes up too much air time frankly. You would think we were competing in a sport that is absolutely universal. It is not! Table tennis and hockey are in the top 10 with of course Soccer as No. 1 in the world. Of course the rise and rise of women’s rugby especially in Aotearoa may change this.
I was slightly startled to see in the latest Star News a photograph where four woman and a man were posing with the Bledisloe Cup with one woman sporting a top with a prominent sign on it ‘Steinlager’.
There is a bill before parliament right now where there is a real opportunity to put people’s health before the sales of booze. Chloe Swarbrick’s ‘Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Harm Minimisation) Amendment Bill’.
It would mean that endless adverts for Kiwi breweries so prominent in front of those attending matches and of course shown on TV would end. And it would stop the new deals being made such as that with NZ Crickets and RTD Pals which was recently announced.
As Tim Chambers from the University of Otago Department of Public Health and many others have repeatedly said ‘exposure to alcohol marketing, including alcohol sponsorship, is linked with increased consumption and also more hazardous consumption in later life”.
Both ACT and National are block voting against the bill, that is hardly a surprise, business must have its way.
For Labour MPs this will be the first conscience vote of the year.
The Sports Minister, and Deputy Prime Minister, Grant Robertson says he has no interest in backing a Bill that’d see the end of all alcohol advertising and sponsoring of broadcast sporting events. In the past, Robertson has voted in favour of various alcohol advertising ban Bills.
His comment ‘It would be a quick and knee-jerk way of dealing with what is a complex issue’, is really unhelpful.
Well Mr Robertson get on with it and do something about it. Booze sponsorship brought in $20 million in 2015.
The harm from this is of course worth much much more. We ignore it at our peril.