Focus on Liquor Laws Welcomed

Family First NZ is welcoming recommendations by the Law Commission to confront the issue of alcohol abuse in NZ.
Family First has just put in a submission on the Sale and Supply of Liquor and Liquor Enforcement Bill currently being considered by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee.

“This bill deals with local liquor outlets, parental supervision, alcohol advertising and other issues. Family First supports the intent of this bill in attempting to minimise the harm of alcohol abuse and the increasing availability of alcohol,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “The Law Commission’s recommendations are a welcome addition to the debate.”

“Ultimately, it is not alcohol that is the problem. It’s the abuse of alcohol and the culture of binge drinking that we have allowed to develop – especially among younger people.”

Amongst its recommendations, Family First has called for
* health warnings to be placed on alcohol, in the same way that health warnings have been placed on cigarettes.
* raise the purchase age back to 20 – supported by public polls (70%) and a recent Police Association poll (75%)
* pre-vetting procedure of liquor advertisements or promotions
* grocery stores should not be able to obtain a liquor licence but this should be extended to supermarkets
* consumption by under 18’s should be illegal unless specifically in the presence of their parents
* alcohol advertising limited to ‘target’ adult audiences, played later at night on free-to-air tv (at least 9.30pm), and not allowed on public billboards. The ads should contain health warnings (referred to above)
* banning of ‘loss leading’ with alcohol

Statistics show that 2.8 people die every day from a booze-related illness or accident, 70 per cent of all emergency hospital admissions are due to alcohol, $425 million was paid out by ACC for alcohol- related injuries in 2007, and 340,000 crimes were committed by those on booze or drugs in 2008.

“We cannot continue to put our head in the sand regarding the harm of alcohol abuse and the binge drinking culture that we have,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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