The Law Commission recommendations.

April 27th, 2010 at 1:26 pm by David Farrar

Their report is here. There are 153 recommendations. They include:

  • A 50% increase in average excise tax on
  • Purchase age from 18 to 20
  • No exemptions for 18 and 19 year olds, even if with parents at a on-license (illegal for someone the day before their 20th birthday to have a glass of wine with their parents at a restaurant – madness)
  • 10 pm close time for off licenses
  • 4 am close time for on licenses
  • no entry policy after 2 am
  • ultimate aim should be to arrive at a point where no alcohol advertising is permitted in any media other than that which simply gives straight product information (certain sports codes will hate this one – also bans Tui billboards)
  • A $250 “notice of debt” on anyone who is held overnight for intoxication (I like that one)
  • drop drive drive limit from 0.08 to 0.05
  • consideration of alcohol ignition locking devices on cars for all convicted drink-drivers (that one also worthwhile IMO)
  • new offence of supplying alcohol to a minor under 18 (worth considering IMO)

There are some worthwhile recommendations, but the ones around a huge tax increase, the and a nationwide closing time are far too nanny state for me.

The report comes over as very wowserish in places, such as:

A familiar refrain we heard in our consultations and the submissions is that moderate drinkers should not be punished for the abuses of a minority.

The statistics in New Zealand tend to give lie to the bald assertion that the “vast majority of New Zealanders drink responsibly”. Instead they suggest that the majority of drinkers get drunk occasionally …

Oh my God. Call the Police. The majority of drinkers have occasionally got drunk. So effing what. Do they bash people up? Do they commit crime?

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41 Responses to “The Law Commission recommendations.”

  1. MT_Tinman (3,043 comments) says:

    It appears that these recommendations are particularly harsh in a deliberate attempt to push a few through while pretending concessions have been made.

    Resist!

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  2. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,830 comments) says:

    Another commission which needs to be terminated.

    Hell, if they really want to fix the problem they should put the legal age up to seventy and only allow the pubs to open on Anzac Day.

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  3. Sean (299 comments) says:

    The vast majority of former Labour Party ministers are out of touch.

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  4. tvb (4,244 comments) says:

    It should be unlawful to be intoxicated in a public place with an on the spot fine and the option to be detained in detox. There is NOTHING appealing about an intoxicated person – ever.

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  5. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    When are they going to realise that the vast majority of problem drinking is done in uncontrolled environments, ie the home, private parties, car parks and the streets. Bars are responsible for less than 30 per cent of consumed liquor in this country and yet will be hit hard if the govt was dumb enough to enact many of these recommendations. I notice there isn’t much mention of supermarkets, where most the wine and beer is sold. Is that because the Law Commission can’t envisage wine-drinking causing a problem?

    There’s a simple remedy for problem drinking and that is to put the onus for responsible consumption squarely on the consumer. There are plenty of laws dictating what bars and retailers can and cannot do, yet there is virtually no sanction on the consumer. Make being drunk in public an offence again. Tell judges to consider the consumption of alcohol around offending to be an aggravating factor rather than a mitigating factor. Hammer anyone who sells to underage consumers and also punish more harshly the parents who seem to think that buying a 15 year old a bottle of vodka is being a good parent.

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  6. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    Although English must be rubbing his hands at the prospect of a massive tax grab, the government should not doubt a minute in sending the report straight to the rubbish bin, where it belings.

    Any attempt to compromise / appease Palmer and his wowsers will be considered a sign of weakness from this already jellyfish-like government.

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  7. lofty (1,304 comments) says:

    I am with bearhunter on this one.

    My daughter attended an 18 year olds “party” at the weekend, at the invitation of his parents,and left very early, along with several other adults disgusted, at the sight of 12 to 20 year olds off their faces.

    She asked the question of the “supervising” adult, what on earth do you think you are doing allowing this in your home? only to be met with, “at least I can watch them here”

    Good parenting skills are lost if that is the attitude that prevails.

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  8. SouthernRight (54 comments) says:

    whoosh pickinsh on drunsk peosplz aginzz. leafs uz alonze – goes pickinsh on jezus lovis or gayz pleash…..

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  9. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    tvb.

    Define intoxicated.

    There are degrees of intoxication, from socially excited through to vomiting mess. Now I for one, enjoy a drink. I like a cold beer on a hot day, or a glass or 2 of wine with a meal. Sharing a few beers over a game of footy with friends is a great pleasure. At times I have been what could be considered drunk, but I still retain the ability to avail myself of public transport, and generally the only medical intervention requred is a couple of panadol the next morning.

    Yet there is a prevailing attitude that any consumption of alcohol is bad, and in order to save us from ourselves, measures must be taken. The culture of Binge Drinking is believed by some to have it’s NZ roots in the 6 pm closing, where those wishing to drink has only a short time to drink as much as possible, and kiwis have as a result, drink as much as possible over a longer period. Government policy had the opposite effect of what was intended.

    Has anyone correlated the almost simultaneous effect of lowering the drinking age and eliminating youth rates of pay?

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  10. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    tvb: “It should be unlawful to be intoxicated in a public place with an on the spot fine and the option to be detained in detox.”

    Think about it and you’ll realise how stupid that idea is.

    If an excise tax goes in, I’ll start brewing/distilling my own and I suspect many others will.

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  11. Murray (8,841 comments) says:

    They make any recomendations about “leak” managment?

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  12. Pete George (23,299 comments) says:

    Increasing the price of a $6.00 bottle of wine to $6.60 is going to do what?

    A 10% price increase will have no affect on my alcohol consumption, and I can’t believe it would change the consumption of a 18 or 20 yr old.

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  13. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    Pete, what it will do is make it a damn sight more pricey for me to have my three or four pints down the pub on a Saturday arvo. By the time the breweries and bars clip the ticket my Guinness will go from about $8 to nearly $10. Meanwhile, those wanting to get off their tits can go to Countdown and buy two bottles of wine for the same price.

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  14. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    Nice to see Simon Power has chucked the tax hike option already. Good man Simon, a true friend of the drinking classes.

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  15. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    “A 10% price increase will have no affect on my alcohol consumption,”

    This is because you have a socialist mindset, one that tells you you can change others by taxing people to the hilt, one that tells you to solve the problems of the world by social engineerring of all sorts. Fortunately, it does not work.

    Can you get in your head the notion of freedom? The option of doing as you please WITHOUT harming others? Why do you penalising others in your desire to save the uncivilised?

    North Korea or Cuba appear to be your natural homes. Go, just go.

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  16. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    I like the occasional beer and w(h)ine so I’m not preaching from a tea-total soapbox but just this weekend I was talking with a district court judge (who’s also not tea-total) who made it very clear that a huge percentage of the cases that come before him involve alcohol as an aggravating factor.

    We must admit that if anyone tried to introduce alcohol as a “new” drug today (as they tried with BZP etc) then it would never be allowed and it would almost certainly be classified as a B-category drug.

    DPF says “Oh my God. Call the Police. The majority of drinkers have occasionally got drunk. So effing what. Do they bash people up? Do they commit crime?”.

    Well it seems that far too many actually do!

    Compare alcohol use to firearm use…

    In the hands of mature, sensible people, neither alcohol nor firearms pose a threat to public safety.

    However, when in the wrong hands, both pose a *huge* threat to the safety of innocent members of the public.

    You need to study, pass an exam and pass a background-check plus psychological profile to get a firearms license in order to buy or use (unsupervised) a firearm. However, so long as you’re old enough, *anyone* can walk into a supermarket or bar and buy/use alcohol.

    When we look at the statistics regarding the deaths of innocent people things really show how our lax attitude to alcohol is costing us.

    Every year, significant numbers of *innocent* people die from the effects of alcohol abuse — either as the hapless victims of a drink driver who slams into them or as the target of a booze-fueled violent assault.

    By comparison, firearms are now *FAR* safer than booze. Yes, we have homicides involving firearms but these are far fewer in number and those killed are often “related parties” to the killer. What’s more, the weapons and those using them are more often than not unlicensed.

    If it meant that we could look forward to a significant reduction in the road toll and violence in our society, I’d gladly forgo my occasional beer and w(h)ine in order to save those lives.

    If anyone reading this doesn’t feel the same then I feel sorry for you and consider you to be incredibly selfish. What’s more, you really need to address *YOUR* alcohol problem.

    Alcohol is NOT an essential for life or the enjoyment thereof. As a society, we ought not be prepared to sacrifice the lives of the innocent as a side-effect of our own hedonistic lifestyle.

    (that ought to set the cat amongst the pigeons eh? :D)

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  17. Repton (769 comments) says:

    “A 10% price increase will have no affect on my alcohol consumption,”

    This is because you have a socialist mindset, one that tells you you can change others by taxing people to the hilt, one that tells you to solve the problems of the world by social engineerring of all sorts. Fortunately, it does not work.

    (whoosh)

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  18. Pete George (23,299 comments) says:

    Manolo, I was pointing out that I didn’t think the price hike would change my freedom to choose how much I drink, nor would it solve the binge drinking problem. It might mean some would get pissed on less quality booze.

    Anyway, as has been pointed out now, that increase looks unlikely.

    Don’t forget that the price is likely to sneak up through GST increasing anyway. Maybe National saw the dangers in a double whammy and want to protect the GST change.

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  19. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    Aardvark: “a huge percentage of the cases that come before him involve alcohol as an aggravating factor.”

    But they don’t, that’s the problem. In nearly 10 years covering district court proceedings, every time alcohol use has been raised, it has been raised as a mitigating factor – the old “My client would never have done such a thing had he been sober, m’lud” bollocks that defence counsel trots out automatically. And judges would treat it as a mitigating factor. They need to start adding to the standard tariff when the defendant relies on booze as an excuse rather than knocking points off for being in the grip of the demon drink.

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  20. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    biggest scrap will really be over advertising proposals….the main bits (BA/V, age, on/off license changes will go thru in the main – to be in effect post world cup)…you guys are a long way from “the electorate” on this….

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  21. Pete George (23,299 comments) says:

    I was wondering why beer is advertised extensively on TV (including things like how a fridge full of beer is “cool”) and no other alcohol seems to be. Wine does feature in supermarket print advertising, as does spirits amongst wine and beer in liquor store adverts.

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  22. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    If there was an excise tax on firearms, would increasing it 50% stop people being shot?

    I notice there was a question in parliament relating to the 3rd party effects of alcohol on Maori women, and how they suffer the worst. Will making beer more expensive help or hurt these people?

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  23. RRM (9,638 comments) says:

    Call it a rumour or a sound byte, but I heard that France and Spain have less alcohol-related trouble than almost anywhere else, and those are countries where kids learn from a pretty young age that a glass of wine with lunch or dinner is the most natural thing in the world.
    And hence, they don’t grow up the sort of citizens who become dickheads after a few lagers.

    I’m with DPF, there are tax /nanny state aspects to this that just leave me gobsmacked.

    GTFO Law Commission.

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  24. Richard Hurst (796 comments) says:

    Law Commission recommendations = moonshine.

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  25. boredboy (250 comments) says:

    bearhunter I think the point being made was that alcohol is involved in a large, large number of cases rather than the use of it as a mitigating factor.

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  26. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    Unfortunately, alcohol *is* still seen as a mitigating factor by the courts.

    If you walk down Queen Street, quite sober, randomly firing a shotgun and this results in the death of innocent people, you will likely get a *very* stiff sentence (maybe even a murder conviction).

    Play the same game of Russian Roulette by driving drunk down the Southern Motorway and kill the same number of innocent people in a smash and I can almost guarantee you’ll end up spending less time in jail and a lesser conviction.

    Why?

    Because society still seems to have this idiotic belief that alcohol somehow excuses bad behaviour.

    Ridiculous.

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  27. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    “Because society still seems to have this idiotic belief that alcohol somehow excuses bad behaviour.”

    My point exactly. So the Justice Minister should tell judges to come down hard on drink-related offending. That way, the consumer gets to share in the blame as well as the producer/retailer. (And it’s not as if producers are treated equally either. I’d love to see some statistics about how many crashes wine is a factor in annually, because I think the wine industry gets a very easy ride from the “something must be done” brigade.)

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  28. starboard (2,489 comments) says:

    yeah yeah..increase the tax…that’ll fix everything….nanny state fucktards..

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  29. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    These reforms are a discrimination against NZers culture… the Human Rights Commission’s job is to stop such discrimination of one’s culture.

    The 18 and 19 year olds now have case not to vote or fight for their country untill the age of 20..

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  30. cha (3,849 comments) says:

    Call it a rumour or a sound byte, but I heard that France and Spain have less alcohol-related trouble than almost anywhere else,

    Having spent quite some time in Spain and a little time in France my observations are that there’s little alcohol related trouble simply because being intoxicated is a social no-no and being drunk in public is something to be deeply ashamed of.

    .

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  31. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    being drunk in public is something to be deeply ashamed of.

    Thats in spain… but here in NZ we have no shame… just look at the way half of us present ourselves in public… we just don’t give a shit.

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  32. calendar girl (1,203 comments) says:

    aardvark@2:51: “If anyone reading this doesn’t feel the same then I feel sorry for you and consider you to be incredibly selfish. What’s more, you really need to address *YOUR* alcohol problem.”

    Not really one to debate, are you? Just another know-it-all social engineer categorising me (because I hold views somewhat different from yours) as “incredibly selfish” and having an “alcohol problem”.

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  33. cha (3,849 comments) says:

    just look at the way half of us present ourselves in public… we just don’t give a shit.

    The going to the shops bare foot wearing black tights or trackies covered with white lint and a ‘muffin’ hanging over the waistband sort of don’t give a shit?

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  34. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    I hear none of these proposals will be implemented before the world cup. Don’t we have a marvelous government, happy to consider imposing laws on it’s citizens but to embarrassed to implement said laws in front of an international audience. Gutless wonders the lot of them, if we have to bend to these nanny state rules why should they not be introduced tomorrow. Are the authorities scared that we will be shown up for a tin pot country and our politicians old fashion brainless fools? Personally I think these law commission recommendations belong down the long drop.

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  35. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    “My point exactly. So the Justice Minister should tell judges to come down hard on drink-related offending”

    According to the district court judge I was talking to, if they hand down a sentence that is too stiff then it just gets reversed in appeal so all that happens is that the taxpayer is charged twice for the procedural costs involved and the offender still gets a slap on the wrist.

    Sucks really.

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  36. tvb (4,244 comments) says:

    I am sure intoxicated can be easily defined – if you want a number 0.8 will do. That is twice the current level for breath alcohol. By the time you get to -0.8 you are drunk and a total nuisance. Intoxicated people are just simply dreadful and should be locked up to detox.

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  37. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    Care to back your generalisation with evidence that everybody who is intoxicated causes nuisance to the standard that it is in the public interest to lockup, or even that everybody causes a nuisance? Haven’t got that evidence? Funny that.

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  38. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    TVB

    0.8 = 80 micrograms of alcohol per milliliter of blood 400 is the breath limit same thing.

    Also reading previous threads on this topic a disturbing number of commenters think 80 is OK to drive with and dont want the level lowered to 50. So your pissed is another mans “I’m OK to drive home”

    There are no detox centers either when the Police Offences Act 1924 was replaced in 1982 by the Summary offences Act 1981 there were to be Detox centers established.

    They never were so the Police cells ended up as the detox center.

    One thing the new act did was take away the offence of public drunkeness .There is no statute for being intoxicated so you will have to pass another law!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to make it so

    People are only held for intoxication for their own protection, so how can this commission set a punishment for something thats not against the law ???and these wankers are lawyers

    Also NOTICE of DEBIT $250 – fuck off, spend sometime working in a police watch house and you will see how much notice people take of this sort of shit. You drink 18 cans of RTD, smoke 4 pipes does anyone realy think another form to sign is going to have any effect whatsoever. Dumb dumb dumb.

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  39. CharlieBrown (921 comments) says:

    Increasing the drinking age to 20 is a pathetically ill-informed thing to do. At 18 you can vote, join the army and die for your country, get married, become a police officer, get elected into government, get a debt… but some morons want to stop these people from drinking.

    How ironic would it be to have an 18 year old cop escort well behaved 18 year olds out of pubs (and face it, most 18 year olds drink as responsibly as other people).

    People say we have a drinking culture that causes untold ills to society. We may have a drinking culture, but it causes no damage, it is the blame culture we have that causes the problems as it causes people to not face up to their problems and behaviour. When someone breaks the law, if they are drunk or not, punnish them to the full extent. Drinking doesn’t cause violence, people do.

    Also, can anyone show me statistics that prove that having 0.08 blood alcohol has caused accidents that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise?

    The authors of this report appear to be morons that want to forcibly impose their will on us all.

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  40. Wally.Anchor (21 comments) says:

    “A Health Ministry survey revealed six in 10 drinkers had become intoxicated at least once in the past year.”
    Wow really? How about that? At least once – in a year? Crikey – STOP PRESS!

    Bruce – mildly surprised by your comment above, but I have to stand up with Calendar Girl – anyone who disagrees with you is automatically wrong? Shame on you.

    We have FAR too many laws already that aren’t policed effectively. No point inventing more to address a perceived problem that possibly wouldn’t be there if current laws & punishment were enforced. Creating more is just creating more that will be ignored (by perpetrators and the police (take traffic revenue generating off them and let them concentrate on the real problems!))

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  41. KevinH (1,149 comments) says:

    Raising the legal drinking age to twenty won’t change a thing out in the community.Young people have had access to alcohol for some years now and will continue to purchase it regardless of the age limit.
    The message we have to get through to young people is that it is not ok to get totally wasted when you go out.There is nothing wrong with a couple of drinks but if you drink to much you will get pissed and sick.So take it easy.

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