Key Points:

The video for an Auckland band's first single has been banned by TVNZ because it depicts preschoolers guzzling milk as though they were on a booze bender.

The Hot Grits' clip for Headlights - produced by Auckland company the Downlow Concept - features about 30 children having an adult night out, first showing them at a house party and then at a nightclub.

Lead vocalist Barnie Duncan told the Weekend Herald the video was intended to demonstrate a childlike greed adults experienced when drunk.

"The song is kind of about that state that you're in at 3am when you don't really know what you're doing."

He said the video supported the Alcohol Advisory Council's message from its hard-hitting television campaign: It's not the drinking, it's how we're drinking.

"I thought, 'This is going to be topical, I wonder if it provides any interesting discussion?' I didn't think our state broadcaster would ban it."

But TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards said the clip was rejected as a filler because it risked breaching Broadcasting Standards Authority codes on the exploitation of children.

"There's nothing inappropriate about children drinking milk ... What's inappropriate is adults using young children engaging in undesirable adult behaviour for the amusement of adults."

She said the panel that vetted the clip was unanimous that it was not appropriate for broadcast.

Among other things, the clip showed groups of young boys drinking heavily and "hitting on" groups of young girls, she said.

TVNZ could have given the clip an AO rating, but the nature of filler clips meant it might have ended up playing next to a children's show.

The video has been picked up by C4 and Juice TV.

Some of the actors in the video were friends' children and others came through a casting director. Their parents were all present during filming as well as hired childcare workers and none had complained about the content, Mr Duncan said.

"The kids were well entertained, they had a ball. The parents thought it was great because they thought it was an awesome thing to have for when their kids got older and they could show them it."

TVNZ banned the Skeptics' 1987 clip AFFCO, which showed the journey of sheep through a freezing works.

The Hot Grits, who describe their sound as "afro soul", formed in 2002 and released their first album, It's Too Drunk to be This Early, in May.

The 11-piece band, which includes Nisha Madhan (Shanti on Shortland Street), is on tour around the country next week for two weeks.

- Eloise Gibson