English: Raising prices works for tobacco, not alcohol
Tuesday 5 Jun 2012 12:06 p.m.
Acting Prime Minister Bill English (file)
The Government's not ruling out last minute changes to proposed new liquor laws - but it is unlikely there will be a minimum set price for alcohol.
Acting Prime Minister Bill English says that although there is clear evidence that increasing tobacco prices would cut consumption, he doesn't believe that's the same with alcohol.
“With alcohol there’s a lot of people for whom moderate consumption is just fine, it doesn’t have a detrimental effect on their health or their state of mind,” Mr English says.
“I think that’s the difference.”
Labour is urging the Government to take another look at lowering the drink-drive limit before passing its alcohol reform legislation.
Labour's transport safety spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway says the Government has "kicked for touch" on the issue, despite the Law Commission and New Zealand Transport Agency supporting a reduction in the legal blood alcohol limit from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100 mls of blood.
Mr Lees-Galloway will propose an amendment to the Alcohol Reform Bill to reduce the drink-driving limit, when the legislation returns to the house for its committee stage.
"If this bill is truly about reforming our alcohol laws then MPs from all parties must follow the advice we have received and support this amendment," Mr Lees-Galloway says.
The Maori Party also wants further changes to the bill, proposing limits where alcohol products can be advertised and restrictions on the proximity of liquor stores to schools.
The legislation is intended to tackle New Zealand's heavy drinking culture, with changes to where alcohol can be sold and who can buy it.
MPs will have a conscience vote on whether the purchase age should stay at 18, return to 20, or be split, so 18-year-olds can buy alcohol at bars and restaurants, but only those over 20 able to purchase at off-licences, such as bottle stores and supermarkets.