Toi Tangata opposed to Maori Television’s advertising decisions

With the recent introduction of ‘treat food,’ soft drink and ‘gaming’ advertising on its channels, Māori Television is facing fierce condemnation from the Māori film and health sectors.

Toi Tangata is among the critics of this new decision maintaining that odds are constantly stacked against vulnerable communities. They believe that ideally, New Zealanders and in particular children, would be protected from relentless commercial exploitation and messaging about food through marketing and advertising.

Drawing on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) research there is evidence that television marketing has an impact on the population’s obesity. There are further indications which show that the epidemic of obesity has many drivers, including high levels of commercial marketing of foods and beverages that specifically target children (International Obesity Taskforce).

Toi Tangata Managing Director, Leonie Matoe reveals “it is disappointing that Māori Television has made the decision to accept this type of advertising when we know the negative effect it has on Māori. There is clearly a need for greater leadership and accountability.”

New Zealand food marketing researchers are also behind Toi Tangata providing evidence to suggest that the Advertising Standards Authority’s current industry self-regulatory advertising system, despite some minor improvements, still fails to adequately protect children from exposure to the unhealthy food marketing NZ research.

“Protecting children and vulnerable communities from over exposure to marketing around unhealthy food and beverages is a societal responsibility and with this decision made, the horse has already bolted,” says Matoe.

“But Māori Television now has the opportunity to demonstrate leadership to the industry and establish some Tikanga around the marketing of these products, with options including dictating the hours of advertising to avoid prime children viewing hours and so on.”

Toi Tangata would be eager to work with Māori Television to develop strong and practical guidelines to achieve responsible marketing.

In providing positive leadership around this type of marketing, other broadcasters could follow suit in limiting the negative impacts and effects.