An alcohol industry group has welcomed a ban on non-government organisations using government health funding to lobby MPs.

Alcohol Healthwatch had been lobbying MPs while receiving almost A$800,000 in funding from the New Zealand government. The Beer Wine and Spirits Council (BWSC) said it was pleased that the organisation will no longer be permitted to mount a negative political campaign against the industry using taxpayers' money.

In a statement to the New Zealand Press Association, BWSC chief executive Nicki Stewart said that one of the funding requirements of Alcohol Healthwatch had been that it had to make approximately five complaints about alcohol advertising every year.

"The industry has worked hard in the area of advertising and, since 1995, the number of complaints about the advertising of alcohol has dropped by 60%, said Stewart. "Of all complaints about advertising in 2002, only 4% - 7% were about alcohol."