Call for ban on alcohol sponsorship of sport after young women revealed as NZ's most extreme drinkers

New research showing young women in their twenties are the most extreme group of Kiwi drinkers has sparked a call for alcohol sponsorship of sport to be banned and taxes to be slapped on all alcohol beverages.

You might be surprised at which group topped the list. Source: Seven Sharp

Seven Sharp reported young women in their twenties are drinking huge amounts of RTDs which were introduced in the mid 1990s and marketed to young people.

The programme bought RTDs containing 25 standard drinks for $47, which works out to just $1.85 per standard drink, or cheaper than a bottle of water.

The director of Alcohol Healthwatch, Dr Nicki Jackson, said sports sponsorship is a big determinant of our drinking culture. 

"Many countries around the world are starting to ban this and I think we have to go down the same road," she told Seven Sharp.

"It's not just in male sports where we see alcohol sponsorship. [It's] even in netball. So I think this is across the board."

Dr Jackson said taxes have to be imposed on all alcoholic beverages. 

"In Australia they tried an RTD tax, but in fact we need it across every beverage. And we haven't had any big increases in the price of alcohol for a long, long time, yet we've seen great action on tobacco."

Dr Jackson said she feels alcohol is being left alone by the Government "and it's probably because of the influence of the alcohol industry".

She pointed out that the Law Commission called in 2010 for tighter alcohol restrictions, but the Government failed to put these into the new liquor laws and instead promised a review panel two-and-a-half years ago. 

"We're still waiting for the Government to respond to that report."

Recovered alcoholic turned alcohol counsellor, Simone Barclay, said today's young women face even greater pressure to drink heavily and don't realise the harm they're doing.

"We are in an environment where intoxication is okay, it's reasonable and it's acceptable. And it's almost socially endorsed. It's the marker of a good night out," Ms Barclay said.

But she says we should all take responsibility.

"We have created this environment, and now we're wanting to position the blame on a certain sector of the consumers. But as long as we focus the lens on them we're never going to make the changes we need to make as a much wider society."