There's an air of inevitability about the loss of alcohol sponsorship in sport, but that doesn't mean it's right or even logical.
Sponsorship of sport is not the reason for excess in things alcohol. That's down to human beings and the culture they live in - not just those poor, mythical devils who see a beer ad at a rugby match and are somehow forever warped.
Bans solve nothing, but that's the way things seem headed. The Medical Association, among others, are calling for a ban on all liquor industry sponsorship of sports and youth events and for blocking alcohol ads on TV and radio before 10pm. That kind of advocacy (and that opposed to it) is being heard by a ministerial forum on alcohol advertising and sponsorship being headed by former Kiwis coach Graham Lowe.
It's not just New Zealand looking keenly at curbing alcohol sponsorship. In the UK, Labour leader Ed Miliband has proposed tough restrictions on the sale and advertising of not just alcohol but also junk food and tobacco. That would end the 300 million in sponsorships liquor companies plough into UK sport. He also seeks to limit sugar, fat and salt in children's food and a ban on advertising unhealthy products on TV before 9pm.
Labour's research suggested up to 35 per cent of all UK A&E patients and ambulance costs may be alcohol-related and up to 70 per cent at weekend peaks. If true, that's a pretty horrifying stat but, as the conditional language suggests, nailing down precise causes of death, accidents and illnesses and linking them to alcohol can be an inexact science.
The move by Labour - to be implemented if they win power - is part of a growing international trend pioneered by France. Its Loi Evin (the law named after the politician who brought it in, banning sponsorship and advertising by liquor companies) has been in force since 1991. Now there seems to be a concerted effort by campaigners to spread an equivalent across Europe.
The British Medical Association are also chasing a ban. Next year, the European Commission is launching a new alcohol strategy and it's widely believed regulation of sports sponsorship will be included, in line with the World Health Organisation's global strategy to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol.
So New Zealand isn't exactly Robinson Crusoe. But what about France, whose laws have now stretched over 23 years? Surely curbs on advertising must have had a beneficial effect on drinking habits? Well, maybe not.
Last year, a report on French drinking from the European Journal of Public Health said 49,000 French people died because of alcohol - more than 130 a day. That represents 13 per cent of all male deaths in France and 5 per cent of female deaths. In World Health Rankings, alcohol-related deaths rank France 17th in the world. New Zealand is 155th.
That has occurred even with French alcohol consumption decreasing radically in the last 50 years. Critics of the anti-alcohol advertising and sponsorship moves say French drinking has been trending down since then and would have happened anyway, even without Loi Evin. However, France clearly still has a problem. In comparable nations, only five per cent of male deaths were alcohol-related in Switzerland, two per cent in Italy, one in Denmark.
A story surfaced in the Daily Mail last year which said France had seen a sharp rise in the number of people being hospitalised with alcohol-related conditions - a rise of 30 per cent compared with three years previously. Even more surprisingly, hospital admissions for binge drinking by young people rocketed up by 80 per cent.
This in a country where rugby's Heineken Cup is known only as the H Cup. When Liverpool played there recently, they did so in shirts missing their sponsorship by Carlsberg. The Loi Evin was designed to remove from sight - billboards, bus backs, cinemas and TV - alcohol ads that might influence young people to drink.
Doesn't this suggest 23 years of non-advertising and non-sponsorship don't work or are only partially effective? If the Labour laws in the UK are passed, it will affect 11 premiership football teams, end Budweiser's sponsorship of the FA Cup and Heineken Cup, among others. In New Zealand, the All Blacks would be most affected in an overall sports sponsorship market (not just alcohol sponsorship) of about $180 million.
The effect on sport is not really the point. It's the effect on people. Hitting alcohol sponsorship is easy, politically plausible and visible.
But would we be aiming at the right target? The French experience seems to suggest social acceptance, habits of our parents, peer pressure and the need/desire to loosen inhibitions before fun can be had are far more to blame than sport.