Experts do not understand it is about a balance

August 20th, 2010 at 6:26 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

There is compelling international evidence that increasing the legal purchasing age reduces harm and saves lives, a United States professor and expert has told MPs.

Yes it does. Putting the purchase age up to 30 would save lives. So would putting it up to 40. Banning spirits would save live. Bannign motor cars would reduce the road toll.

Any moron can come up with a list of measures to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. A group of seven year olds could probably do so as a class exercise. But they all miss the point.

The point they all miss, is what impact does this have on adult New Zealanders and their ability to have a drink without causing harm.

The arrogance of some of these experts is best characterised by this quote from Professor :

“So, even though the science points strongly to the four key actions described above, our leaders could very well allow ideology to trump science. This brings to mind political regimes we tend to look down on with great disapproval.”

Sellman’s taxpayer funded lobby group has demanded that everything they recommend must be implemented by the Government, without question. f not, then it means we are some sort of third world country or dictatorship.

What fucking arrogance.

I encourage Professor Sellman to go form a political party, and campaign on his agenda. Once he wins  general election, he can lecture us on what the Government must do.

Sellman is like many zealots in this field. They think it is only about the “science”, They don’t realise it is also about rights of New Zealanders.

Personally I am glad we have a Government that doesn’t give the zealots a veto on policy. That actually thinks adult New Zealanders have certain rights.

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36 Responses to “Experts do not understand it is about a balance”

  1. Psycho Milt (2,366 comments) says:

    Sellman isn’t the first person to mistake his opinion for “science” and presumably won’t be the last. Doesn’t mean the rest of us should indulge him in his delusion.

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  2. Viking2 (11,277 comments) says:

    DPF: Personally I am glad we have a Government that doesn’t give the zealots a veto on policy. That actually thinks adult New Zealanders have certain rights.

    Sensible sentiments David if only it was applied evenly.

    One could point to things like the Global Warming, ETS, Smacking, youth rates, speed limits, the destruction of individuals rights yesterday to drink their own alcohol at a concert, foreshore and seabed, smoking dope, etc.
    I look forward to you vigorously criticizing the National parties action on all these issues, for they have all the hallmarks of exactly the same actions and capitulations of the above Professor and his sycophantic group of sponsors.
    Actions that the National Party have blithely supported to their eternal shame.

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  3. MrTips (150 comments) says:

    I agree with you DPF, but knowing Doug Sellman as I do, I would point out that NZPA doesn’t always get the reporting context right. He is a zealot and does live in a bit of a bubble, granted. But his opinion has been coloured by years of dealing with only the 2-3% who abuse drugs of various sorts. He also knows that to get attention you make provocative statements.

    He and his supporters want something to happen regarding alcohol abuse. And for years governments in NZ have turned a blind eye to it, among other social ills. I don’t agree with his method, but I can see where he is coming from.

    And no, he’s not a teetotaller.

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  4. flipper (3,847 comments) says:

    Yes, good stuff PDF

    Sellman appeared with one Caswell (a so called academic) from Akld, did he not?

    Alcoholic beverages have been her taxpayer funded lifes’s work and we have never
    had a single benefit from that investment. Like Turner from Hamilton, a zealot.

    Back to Sellman. Who funded his trip to NZ?

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  5. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    Well said DPF.

    I would simply say Sellman and everyone is looking at the wrong goal. Harm reduction is not the right goal when considering blanket policy that captures the great majority of people who drink responsibly. As you say, harm reduction applied to the road toll would mean banning cars, or forcing them to drive no more than 5km/h. The correct goal is welfare maximisation in population-wide policy, and harm reduction when thinking about policy that targets people drinking poorly. What Sellman is doing is trying to penalise everyone and hoping to catch a few bingers in the cross fire.

    Sellman and the MoH is also deeply disingenuous on some points. Alcohol consumed in moderation has measurable, uncontroversial health, social, and income benefits, which Sellman curiously never mentions and which the Ministry of Health either downplays or denies outright. Other things being equal you live longer and earn more by being a moderate drinker.

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  6. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    MrTips, who cares where Sellman is coming from. He is a professional lobbier who can’t quite bring himself to acknowledge the fact that 90% of all drinkers are responsible, and is doing everything he can to shut down or reduce their enjoyment. It is a classic case of penalising all the wrong people. And he’s doing it with your money and mine. Shame on Doug Sellman.

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  7. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    I agree with Ben, target the wrongdoers.
    Make being drunk in public an offence and make driving with any alcohol in you an offence too.

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  8. Jibbering Gibbon (200 comments) says:

    Personally I am glad we have a Government that doesn’t give the zealots a veto on policy. That actually thinks adult New Zealanders have certain rights.”

    What rights? The right to get drunk? Or the right to freedom in all things? The right to choose? No, freedom to choose has never and will never been a right. Even if there was only one man on earth, he’d have to strive for his independence, or interdependence if you prefer. Man and his rationality aren’t the centre of the universe. Forget about rights – they are completely arbitrary. Rights are for activists and zealots.

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  9. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    David – if ever you wanted proof of the Nats being ruled by zealots, all you need to do is recall their actions over section 59!! (and their action re ETS, the foreshore and seabed [- now theres a barrow pushed by zealots if ever there was] etc)

    I also seem to sense some degree of dependence on alcohol come from your corner – I get the feeling that you would be a lost little boy if you didnt have a glass in your hand – or very close by.

    The one simple undeniable fact is that youth drinking is a shambles, and its got a lot worse since the age was dropped. Now if those who did the drinking were responsible for their own actions (ie paid for the damage done and cleaned up afterwards) then that would be fine by me, but thats not the case.
    Taxpayers do the paying (that includes me) and these drunken bums take up costly space at the hospitals and various other health services – so something needs to be done to drastically reduce it. I doubt the government will have the balls to put the costs where the they should lie – so the next best thing is to make it really difficult for those that are costing the money to cause the damage they currently do.

    Now – while weak leaders do nothing to really address the problem, then youll get the likes of Sellman filling the leadership gap that the government has left open. Dont blame him – you should be directing your comments to Key and his mates.

    [DPF: Barry - I suggest you do not get personal unless you want to get banned. As it happens around 80% of the time when I am in a pub, I only drink non alcoholic]

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  10. grumpyoldhori (2,416 comments) says:

    Damn, those who lie in a bed at the age of ninety having lived the right life must get confused, never having used tobacco, single malt, chased expensive women(there are no cheap women) etc etc etc.
    After all that they do not get to live for ever

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  11. Boloni (63 comments) says:

    barry there is no drinking age only a purchase age, With the right to drink comes responsiblity,Hit those that abuse it with heavy penalities,

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  12. RRM (9,663 comments) says:

    You can lead a horse to water, but can’t make him drink.

    I understand Sellman’s frustration. But he should have kept such thoughts to himself.

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  13. Pete George (23,331 comments) says:

    The one simple undeniable fact is that youth drinking is a shambles, and its got a lot worse since the age was dropped.

    Was it getting worse before the age was dropped? How much did the age change directly affect the problems?

    Much has changed in society over the last couple of decades. In particular, young people are influenced far more now by a wider pool of peers, and popular media (including advertising), than by parents and authority.

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  14. glubbster (352 comments) says:

    While I agree, its not just about rights, DPF. It is also about economics and often politicians, the media, the law commission, lobby groups and even scientists fail to consider the COST side to any policy. Not to mention its unintended consequences.

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  15. American Gardener (554 comments) says:

    “Experts do not understand it is about a balance” – and bloggers do not understand it is about science. Quite possibly young man are psychologically ioncapeable of making wise decisions about alcohol consumption until they are relatively speaking quite old – i.e. in their mid – twenties. The nanny state leit motif from the right is getting old.

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  16. homepaddock (434 comments) says:

    Changing the law will do little to change the attitude. Theodore Dalrymple writes in the Express:http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/192949 on how public drunkenness declined in the 19th century because of public revulsion.

    He concludes:”A nation without sufficient self-respect to control itself will in the end lose its freedom. Self-control will be replaced by government control. We are already far enough down that road. “

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  17. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    In the last national alcohol survey I read (IIRC and 2000), about 20% of 18-24 year old males report getting drunk once a week or more often. ( And that’s their own definition of drunkeness. )

    Noone can believe that this *level* of consumption by *so many* New Zealanders can be good for them or for the country. The only people this is good for is for people who sell alcohol.

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  18. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    Most people do not abuse alcohol though everyone who drinks does get drunk and that can be tolerated from time to time. Perhaps 1-2 times a year. As a non drinker I will overlook a rare drunken offensive episode with the emphasis on rare. More than rare then I am looking for another friend. And I have done that. But people should be allowed resonsible access to alcohol and any measures should be directed at the problem drinkers and that seems to be the approach of the Government. But we have too many bars, many supported by gambling machines, and too many bars are tolerant of the abuse of alcohol, and I am strongly opposed to “alcopops”. If given the chance I would probably ban alcohol and always voted for prohibition until Geoffrey Palmer removed that right. It did at least provide a measure of public opinion on the subject of alcohol.

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  19. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    you sound a bit crabby DPF – draft leg looking a bit “all encompassing”? That split age option’s looking very attractive across the house ne?

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  20. OTGO (525 comments) says:

    It’s quite easy to give up drinking. I’ve done it heaps of times.

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  21. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    “Quite possibly young man are psychologically ioncapeable of making wise decisions”

    AG, ever noticed that lefties proclaim to hate and complain and whine about others using stereotypes, except they also do it a lot, when it suits their purposes? What’s with that?

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  22. quirky_username (22 comments) says:

    Laws that ban things do not necessarily stop them. All it means is that it is an offence to do things. It is illegal to drive while intoxicated, it is illegal to serve an intoxicated person, it is illegal to assault someone, it is illegal to act in a “disorderly” or “offensive” fashion, it is illegal to wilfully damage property, etc etc etc. However, thousands of people appear before our Courts every week accused of breaking the law. Many of these people are also repeat offenders. Some people commit crime, others do not.

    The laws themselves do not make the difference, education, attitude and culture regarding obeying the laws is what makes the difference.

    It is illegal for a person under the age of to purchase alcohol. No change in the purchase age would save a 14 year old drinking themselves to death if they are so inclined. Perhaps Darwin was onto something? The only thing that can change this is education, attitude and culture.

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  23. Pete George (23,331 comments) says:

    Peer pressure/influence is a major factor, and that is often influenced by “drinking heaps is cool” advertising, to get change that needs to change.

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  24. glubbster (352 comments) says:

    American Gardener, alchohol affects people of all ages, why restrict reforms to those mid twenties and under.
    Your implication is flawed. For example, if alchohol was restricted till someone reaches say 25, the cost of this policy would be horrendous to the hospitality industry, yet 18-24 year olds would still drink, just in uncontrolled envrinoments..basically you are advocating that we bring back prohibiltion, something which has spactacularly failed in the past. You might have scientific knowledge, but your economic, social, political and historical knowledge seems to be almost non-existent. And you have trapped yourself, for if its not about balance and science must be the acid test, then nothing more than your “mid twenties” rule can apply. You cant reply on here saying oh “I only meant it to 20″ as that would be taking into account “balance” wouldn’t it…

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  25. MT_Tinman (3,050 comments) says:

    Personally I am glad we have a Government that doesn’t give the zealots a veto on policy. That actually thinks adult New Zealanders have certain rights.

    Unfortunately we have no such thing.

    What we have is a government who are happy to bow down to the humourless we-know-best nutters and slime who’s only aim is to ensure anything enjoyable is banned.

    A government too gutless to tell these bastards to fuck off and let people enjoy themselves while taking responsibility for their (the peoples’) own actions.

    What we have is a government who are putting a spy camera in every taxi in the land – using the excuse that a few racist thieves do not have the people skills to do the job properly and need protection from those their dishonesty piss off.

    A real shame that this time DPF, you are wrong.

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  26. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    Why is it so hard to let people have control over what they want to put in their body? i never understand these zealots they always lose in the end.

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  27. Boloni (63 comments) says:

    As a publican for about 50 years and owned and run about 20 licenced premises ALL the problems I have experienced are by people over 30,most problems with abuse of alcohol are rarely at licenced premises as the police are very vigilent in this area

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

    New Zealand is infested with people like Sellman, it’s a national disease. It’s an inflection the good people of this nation have suffered under for years. I truly wonder what a shit hole this place would be like if we were to lay down to those that tell us what we should do in the way of drinking, eating, smoking, or raising children,etc, etc. I have no fucking wish to tell Sellman how to live his life, I just wish him and his many ilk would reciprocate the same wish.

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  29. RRM (9,663 comments) says:

    Most normal people are capable of listening to an “expert’s” opinion and then deciding what to do with it SSB. This isn’t something to get mad about.

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  30. Steve (4,522 comments) says:

    Expert.
    X = unknown
    spurt = drip under pressure

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  31. Steve (4,522 comments) says:

    Pressure, oh well off on that tangent of ‘pressure’

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  32. RRM (9,663 comments) says:

    Design me a better car engine Steve. Quick. Three sheets of A4 and a functioning calculator should be all you need.
    What, you don’t know how?

    Not all expert knowledge is mere political totalitarianism. The world is full of people who know and can do all sorts of amazing things. Judging by this thread, tall poppy syndrome in NZ is not merely confined to Rich Poppy Syndrome…

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  33. Viking2 (11,277 comments) says:

    Who made him an expert. UMMM don’t know. Well people around him that wear beards and look intelligent and vote labour. You know how it goes.

    He’ may be an expert in his own opinion but others have different views. His opinions are biased based on his own biases and experiences. Mine may well be different. That doesn’t make me wrong and him right. Doesn’t make him an expert in my opinions, only in his own.

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  34. Shunda barunda (2,966 comments) says:

    The real question is whether or not fresh drunken female teenage meat will still be able to be efficiently supplied to the sleazy grubby, “can’t hold a relationship together to save myself” dirty old kiwi male market.
    That is what this issue is about.
    Who in the hell wants to drink with teenagers for the conversation?
    Stop lying to yourselves.

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  35. RRM (9,663 comments) says:

    ^^^ oooooh! Harsh but true Shunda.

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  36. MildGreens (14 comments) says:

    If the hypocrisy that underpins our ‘all drugs’ policy was capital we would be in surplus.

    No adjustment to alcohol ‘regulation’ can be made effective while the double standards that apply to cannabis (NZ most popular other drug) exist. Ramping up youth targeted partial prohibition of alcohol will serve ony to drive that demograph to illicit alternatives with contingent downsides, just as prohibition of the SAFER cannabis drives people to drink.

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