Govt Adopts ‘We Know Better’ On Alcohol

Family First NZ says that the government has adopted a ‘we know better’ attitude to community concerns expressed on the issue of alcohol abuse in our community, and as a result the problems of domestic violence, child abuse, underage drinking and binge drinking will continue.

“The government has tackled the festering sore of alcohol harm with a tickle, and in the process ignored the overwhelming voice of NZ’ers and groups representing families and communities who made submissions to the Law Commission,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “The proposals announced today will only have a small effect, if any, on excessive consumption and underage drinking.”

“Polls over the last couple of years have shown that 2/3’rds or more of NZ’ers want the drinking age raised to at least 20, instant fines for public drunkenness, on-license premises to close by 2am, and the legal blood-alcohol limit lowered to 50. These opinions have been ignored. The government says they are listening – the question is to who?”

“The split drinking age sends a mixed message and also ignores the growing body of medical evidence regarding the harms of alcohol to teenagers and young people.”

“Increasing parental responsibility for underage drinking is not what has been asked for either. NZ’ers overwhelmingly want the age increased and parents want legal backing and enforcement – not more responsibility to try and counter the prevailing culture of excessive drinking.”

“The one positive announcement today is the restricting of the sale of alcohol from dairies and grocery stores. That is a good move for local communities,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Family First is also disappointed with the lack of strong action on health warnings on all alcohol products, loss leading and availability within supermarkets, marketing of RTD’s, and pre-vetting and restrictions on alcohol advertising.

“A failure to increase taxes fails to address the huge costs, estimated at $7 billion by the Ministry of Health and ACC, around the harmful outcomes of alcohol abuse.”

“At a time when we’re trying to tackle domestic violence and child abuse which is far too often fuelled by alcohol abuse, the measures announced today will make little difference.”

“The overwhelming evidence and the science is far more important that populist policies that fail to rock the boat and fail to tackle the problem,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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