Nude, boozy fundraiser causes concern

Last updated 05:00 11/08/2011
Controversial calendar: The Alcohol Advisory Council says the North Otago Rugby Union's latest calendar looks like “a low-cost Speight's beer promotion rather than a sporting club fundraiser''.

CONTROVERSIAL CALENDAR: The Alcohol Advisory Council says the North Otago Rugby Union's latest calendar looks like “a low-cost Speight's beer promotion rather than a sporting club fundraiser''.

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The Alcohol Advisory Council has expressed concern about a calendar featuring nude North Otago rugby players surrounded by Speight's beer as a fundraiser for junior rugby.

The calendars, which are a first for the North Otago Rugby Union, are selling for $20 each and have been on sale for a month with 1000 distributed.

Chief executive Colin Jackson was not concerned about the calendar's racy nature. He said it was "good fun" and hoped people would understand it was for a good cause.

"They don't have to buy it if they don't want to.

"I'm sure everyone will enter into the good taste and good faith that we entered it in."

He said sales had been steady with some sponsors purchasing multiple copies for clients and staff.

It was the major fundraising project for junior rugby in the province this year and an initiative of North Otago first five-eighth Ben Patston.

"He's done a good job. He's got the players involved," Mr Jackson said. "They came on board. It's good that our players want to help out."

The calendar caused concern with the Alcohol Advisory Council when it was approached by The Timaru Herald yesterday.

Chief executive Gerard Vaughan questioned whether those producing the calendar had considered the impact on young people.

Mr Vaughan also questioned the prominence of alcohol in the photos in the calendar. Speight's is a sponsor of the union.

"The photos ... looked like a low-cost Speight's beer promotion rather than a sporting club fundraiser," he said.

Research published in 2009 showed advertising and other promotions influenced the drinking decisions of young people, he said.

"This provides strong evidence to argue that young people should not be exposed to alcohol advertising, sales promotions and sponsorship."

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- The Timaru Herald

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