Alcohol Action NZ applauds the major structural changes to the health sector announced today by the government, because they herald a change to the sale and purchase of alcohol.
Alcohol use is a major determinant of health but the commercial entities that produce, distribute, market and sell alcohol are very lightly regulated in New Zealand. These industries have not been held accountable in any way for the harm that they cause.
Further, this alcohol-related harm is disproportionately experienced by Māori and contributes to inequities in many aspects of life, including physical and mental health.
The rational, evidence-based policy responses to harm from alcohol will no longer be able to be ignored by the new health institutions, when one is charged with co-ordinating the improvement of public health throughout the country, and one is focused on Māori health in particular. “Alcohol Action NZ is confident that the momentous changes announced today will inevitability raise the priority of alcohol reform involving greater regulation of the alcohol industry” said Dr Tony Farrell, chair of Alcohol Action NZ.
“The new structures will enable a more consistent and principled approach to dealing with determinants of health and with inequity, and allow Māori voices to be heard over those who profit from alcohol harm”, added Professor Jennie Connor, a medical spokesperson for Alcohol Action.