Doctors call for stricter alcohol laws

Stuff 19 May 2015
New Zealand’s top medical body had called for a clampdown on our rampant boozing, including banning advertising, raising the drinking age, and increasing taxes.
In a “briefing”¬†published on Tuesday, the New Zealand Medical Association says the Government needs to intervene more heavily in the liquor industry for the nation’s collective health.
“We consider it vital to ensure that policies to reduce alcohol-related harm are based on the best available evidence, not on ideology or on the basis of lobbying by vested commercial interests.”
The last set of liquor law changes, which lowered drink-driving limits and gave local authorities more power over opening hours, did not go far enough, the briefing, entitled Alcohol-Related Harm, says.
Recommendations include raising the drinking age to 20, introducing a minimum price for alcohol, increasing the alcohol excise tax by 50 per cent, and phasing out liquor advertising and sponsorship.
– Raising the legal alcohol purchasing age, for both on and off-licences, to 20
–¬†Raising taxes on alcohol and introducing minimum pricing, using the extra revenue to reduce alcohol-related harm
– Phasing out all forms of alcohol marketing, advertising and sponsorship
– Reducing trading hours for liquor outlets, and restricting density
– Introducing national health targets for problem drinking
– Expanding treatment services for alcoholics
– Improving advice about drinking during pregnancy
– Improving drink-driving countermeasures
– Protecting health measures intended to reduce alcohol-related harm while negotiating trade deals

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