Goal is Social Stigma Against Alcohol Abuse

Family First NZ is welcoming the Law Commission’s report on alcohol, but says that any recommendations should directly and forcefully target drunkenness, underage and binge drinking.

“It is not alcohol that is the problem. It is the abuse of alcohol and the violence and health issues arising from this abuse that is causing so much social harm and cost,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “The ultimate solution is that we need social stigma against drunkenness and binge drinking. Any recommendations taken up by the government needs this ultimate goal in sight.”

The submission by Family First NZ to the Law Commission included recommendations for:
pre-vetting procedure of liquor advertisements or promotions; and alcohol advertising limited to target adult audiences, played later at night on free-to-air tv (at least 9.30pm), and should not be allowed on public billboards. The ads should contain health warnings.
tougher penalties for selling to underage and for public drunkenness (supported by 2/3’rds in a recent poll)
grocery-selling stores should not be able to obtain a liquor licence but this should be extended to supermarkets. The increased availability of liquor shops in residential areas has partly contributed to the culture of excess drinking as evidenced by recent Waikato University research
retailers should not be able to use loss leading to promote the abuse of liquor
consumption by underage teenagers should be illegal, irrespective of parental presence or consent. This may alleviate some of the pressure parents feel to supply alcohol or allow alcohol consumption. It also recognises that any alcohol consumption can be problematic due to their stages of physical and mental development
health warnings to be placed on alcohol products and within alcohol advertising, in the effective way that health warnings have been placed on cigarettes
Raise the drinking age back to 20 – supported by public polls (70%, 75%) and a recent Police Association poll (75%)

“The government must act on these recommendations and make some tough and potentially politically unpopular decisions in the long-term interests of the welfare of families,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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