Alcohol HealthwatchMonday 23 August 2010, 5:57PM
Alcohol Healthwatch says New Zealanders can feel short-changed
by the Government's response to the Law Commission's report on
Director Rebecca Williams says although the reform package
includes some positive measures, as a whole it is merely a
compromise that is unlikely to have much impact on the very issues
the government says it wants to address.
"The Government has failed to address the pricing and marketing
of alcohol and has not lowered the blood alcohol limit for driving.
It has also recommended a split purchase age without any evidence
or support for this.
"Increasing the price and restricting the marketing of alcohol
are proven to be the most effective strategies for reducing early
drinking and heavy drinking which are at the heart of our hazardous
"Failing to directly address these compromises the health and
safety of New Zealanders and does not respond to the significant
public support for more comprehensive change."
Ms Williams says the Government was warned by the Law Commission
not to "cherry pick" the recommendations and it seems that is
exactly what they have gone ahead and done.
"Yes the Government has given communities and parents greater
responsibility, but without including the other measures
communities will not have the support they need to control local
harms resulting from excessive drinking.
"With the continued unbridled marketing and promotion of
discount liquor to our communities and young people, the rate and
effectiveness of addressing our drinking culture will be
Of the submitters to the Law Commission 86 percent supported
banning or restricting all advertising of alcohol in all media, 76
percent supported introducing a minimum price on alcohol and 77
percent supported increasing current excise tax on alcohol. In
addition 78 percent supported increasing the minimum purchase age
with 68 percent preferring 20 years. Only 12 percent
supported a split age.
Ms Williams says the Government has picked light the weight
measures and packaged them up as significant law reform.
"New Zealanders deserve better from this once in a generational
opportunity presented by the Law Commission's report."