Zealotry exposed

August 30th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Supermarkets are drug “pushers” who are selling high quantities of discounted wine and should be viewed the same as dealers dishing out Ecstasy pills or morphine.

It may seem extreme but it’s a view that Professor , director of the National Addiction Centre and spokesman for the Action Group, is taking quite seriously.

Need more be said. Alcohol Action are not the voice of a balanced group. It is an extreme voice, pushing policies that few New Zealanders would agree with. Sadly, it seems to be the group that the Law Commission gave the most weight to.

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57 Responses to “Zealotry exposed”

  1. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    I completely agree. Drug pushers should definitely be allowed to dish out ecstacy pills or morphine at supermarkets at a discount. Sadly lobby groups that want drugs to still be banned are not the voice of a balanced group. As with alcohol, it is the few extreme abusers that give ecstacy a bad look whereas the majority of society can manage their recreational drug use just fine.

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  2. kowtow (7,978 comments) says:

    I’ve noticed more and more of this newspeak where alcohol and tobacco are referred to as “drugs”……bollox.

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  3. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    Sadly, it seems to be the group that the Law Commission gave the most weight to.

    Heck I wouldn’t be surprised if the Law Commission was the group Alcohol Action gave the most weight to. The LC’s report was openly biased in favour of action on alcohol from the first page to the last.

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  4. GPT1 (2,106 comments) says:

    That dude really needs a hobby.

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  5. redeye (638 comments) says:

    At our local supermarket you have to pass through the bottleshop to enter the place. I have no problem with them selling the stuff but forcing everyone (including suffering alcoholics) to pass by the the discounted drug just to get their bread and veges is tantamount to pushing. And should be recognised as such.

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  6. mikeysmokes (269 comments) says:

    Dont the Portugese have an across the board decriminalisation policy? Most illegal drugs are no worse than alcohol so why not tax the stuff and turn it into a health issue rather than a criminal one?

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  7. kowtow (7,978 comments) says:

    Yeh, those supermarkets are real bastards,forcing fatties to look at sweets at the checkouts, there should be a law against it!

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  8. kowtow (7,978 comments) says:

    ps sugar is a really dangerous drug and should be banned!

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  9. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,834 comments) says:

    redeye – change your supermarket.

    I object to having to zig zag through all those endless bloody rows of fruit and vegetables whenever I go to buy a few bottles of decent booze at a good low price. Got some Wolf Blass Preseident’s Selection the other day for $19. Usually over $40.

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  10. redeye (638 comments) says:

    kwotow you ought to work in an A&E department for a week.

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  11. bobux (349 comments) says:

    Sellman comes out of the article sounding more like a placard-waving crank than someone whose advice the government should consider.

    No mention that 80% of the adult population choose to consume alcohol. Or that the health benefits of consuming low levels of alcohol are looking more and more certain. Or that NZ consumption levels are around average for a developed country (higher than US/Canada, lower that Australia, UK, most of Europe). Or that per-capita alcohol consumption peaked in the late 80s, long before supermarkets were allowed to sell the stuff. (I can’t find absolute alcohol availability stats for the past couple of years, but I would be astonished if it has surpassed the 85/86 peak).

    An almost unfailing sign of a fixed obsession is when someone starts to fantasise about an alternate universe in which the great evil they are battling simply didn’t exist. As in “Imaging if people never started eating animals..” or “If nuclear weapons had never been invented…”

    Sure enough, Sellman delivers with “If alcohol was invented today…”

    Sorry Professor Sellman, but humans discovered alcohol over 5000 years ago. It helps us to cope with the reality of life – perhaps you should try some.

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  12. redeye (638 comments) says:

    Adolph, some of us don’t get a choice.

    Alcohol directly killed 1000 New Zealanders last year. How many did those bloody veges kill?

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  13. redeye (638 comments) says:

    “Sorry Professor Sellman, but humans discovered alcohol over 5000 years ago. It helps us to cope with the reality of life – perhaps you should try some.”

    Arab traders traded in opium in the 7th century. Apparently it helps those having trouble dealing with reality. Great logic bobux.

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  14. RightNow (6,844 comments) says:

    Adolf – “Got some Wolf Blass Preseident’s Selection”. Which supermarket? I’m in for some of that.

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  15. Brian Smaller (4,029 comments) says:

    Redeye – get Woolworths to deliver your groceries so you wont be tempted. What about the diabetes sufferers forced to walk past all that processed food, or the vegetarians forced to walk past meat, or the rest of us who are forced to listen people like you and Dr Sellman.

    The world doesn’t revolve around you poor recovering alkies.

    One more thing – what supermarket do yo shop in that you have to walk in through their alcohol section? I shop regularly at Pak N Saves (Petone, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Wanganui), New Worlds in Lower Hutt and Wanganui and Levin. I never walk past booze to get in.

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  16. BlairM (2,307 comments) says:

    Just fuck all the wowsers, is all I have to say. It’s my body. It’s my liver. It harms no-one but me, and if it harms someone else, we have this thing called THE LAW that prosecutes me for such indiscretions, and I take responsibility for my actions.

    I like buying a martini at 7am at the Supper Club off K Road, and I want to continue to have the right to do so. Because I am not a criminal, and I like to have fun, and that is my definition of fun. So fuck Geoffrey Palmer and fuck Simon Pedobear Power, I am an adult. Treat me like one and leave me alone.

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  17. mikeysmokes (269 comments) says:

    Be good if they sold good scotch at the supermarket

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  18. Brian Smaller (4,029 comments) says:

    mikeysmokes – fuck yes. I only buy a bottle or two a year but if they could get good prices for decent scotch I would be in. Just don’t tell redeye, he/she might get tempted.

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  19. mavxp (495 comments) says:

    If he has ever been to Europe he will know that very tasty plonk is easily had for a measly 3-4 Euro in the local supermarche’s.
    These countries are sensible about alcohol consumption. So availability and cost of plonk is not the problem. It is our culture that needs changing. I’d also say that it is primarily alcopops, cheap beer, and plastic bottle spirits that cause problems not a nice pinot on sale for $12, unless kids have developed a classier taste in alcohol lately that I am unaware of.

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  20. PaulL (5,986 comments) says:

    1. It is a drug, in the sense that it is mind altering
    2. It is healthy in small doses, in the sense that those who drink a moderate quantity of alcohol have better health outcomes
    3. Ideally (to me), we’d tax it by volume of alcohol, not by percentage of price. So good wine would get cheaper, cheap wine would get more expensive. Life’s too short to drink cheap wine. Also, for National, most of their supporters would be in favour of this change
    4. The stupid analysis that suggests that 2 drinks a day makes you an excessive drinker is just that – stupid. 1 drink is healthy, 2 is still marginally healthy, 3 takes you to about the same as drinking none. I’d say you’re getting unhealthy around 4-5 a day (remembering we’re talking standard drinks, so that’s about 2-3 glasses of wine, 3-4 beers)
    5. If you don’t like how your supermarket layout their isles, shop somewhere else. If there’s only one supermarket, tough. There is no good reason I’m aware of why the govt should tell shopowners how to organise their shops. And I for one would be deeply suspicious of any suggestion that we should be doing that.

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  21. Repton (769 comments) says:

    The LC’s report was openly biased in favour of action on alcohol from the first page to the last.

    You mean, their report reflected their conclusion? Shocking!

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  22. bobux (349 comments) says:

    redeye

    I was pointing out that it is fatuous for Sellman to speculate on how the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs would classify alcohol if it were a newly-discovered drug, because it isn’t a newly-discovered drug. I am unclear where the flaw is in my logic, or how this relates to opium.

    I note you haven’t responded to me pointing out that NZ alcohol consumption is pretty much what you would expect from a middle-income developed country, and there isn’t much actual evidence we are a sinking beneath a sea of booze. Or that people drank more BEFORE booze was available in supermarkets.

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  23. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Or that the health benefits of consuming low levels of alcohol are looking more and more certain.

    Are they? According to what?

    Has there ever been a blind, controlled, randomised study on alcohol consumption?

    Sure, you can look at people who drink and people who don’t drink, and look for differences. But since drinking is the norm, people who abstain usually have a reason for it. It’s hard to find a group of people who life entirely “normal” lives, except they never drink alcohol.

    Despite what you may read in the lifestyle pages of the newspaper, I have my doubts that there is actually good evidence that alcohol is good for you.

    (of course, this is not the same as saying “there is good evidence that any alcohol is bad for you” — I doubt that is true too)

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  24. bobux (349 comments) says:

    Ambrose Bierce, an American writer, included the following definition in his “Devils Dictionary’, published in 1911 at the height of temperance fervour.

    Rum, (noun) Generically, fiery liquors that produce madness in total abstainers

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  25. Repton (769 comments) says:

    4. The stupid analysis that suggests that 2 drinks a day makes you an excessive drinker is just that – stupid. 1 drink is healthy, 2 is still marginally healthy, 3 takes you to about the same as drinking none. I’d say you’re getting unhealthy around 4-5 a day (remembering we’re talking standard drinks, so that’s about 2-3 glasses of wine, 3-4 beers)

    @PaulL: How do you know this?

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  26. MT_Tinman (3,064 comments) says:

    # Adolf Fiinkensein (1,661) Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    redeye – change your supermarket.

    I object to having to zig zag through all those endless bloody rows of fruit and vegetables whenever I go to buy a few bottles of decent booze at a good low price. Got some Wolf Blass Preseident’s Selection the other day for $19. Usually over $40.

    You and me both.

    In fact this fruit and vege pushing has become so bad locally I’ve started buying wine online from the NZ wine society.

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  27. bobux (349 comments) says:

    Repton

    Good point. You generally can’t do randomised trials on human subjects involving widely-used substances like alcohol. But you can look at large-scale epidemiological studies. These pretty consistently show that moderate drinkers have better health than both non-drinkers and heavy drinkers. There are lots of obvious potential flaws -e.g some of the ‘non-drinkers’ may be reformed alcoholics, who have already wrecked their livers (known as the ‘sick-quitter effect’). Or the non-drinkers may have other distinguishing factors making them more unhealthy, such as poverty or ethnicity.

    However, even when you control for these potentially confounding factors, those pesky moderate drinkers keep coming out ahead. For an example, see the following paper by Rim and Moats.

    The evidence discussed above provides substantial support for the hypothesis that moderate drinking reduces the risk of CHD. Beer, wine, and spirits all have demonstrated significant benefits. These benefits are likely mediated through strong and lasting effects of alcohol on HDL cholesterol, fibrinogen, and glycemic control. The “sick-quitter” hypothesis and the concern that moderate drinkers lead a healthier lifestyle may explain a small proportion of the benefit attributed to alcohol in some studies, but recent studies which have removed sick quitters, updated alcohol and covariate information on diet and lifestyle factors, and separately documented benefits of alcohol among healthy and unhealthy populations further add to the evidence that moderate alcohol consumption is causally related to a lower risk of CHD.
    http://www.annalsofepidemiology.org/article/S1047-2797(07)00004-X/abstract

    (CHD = coronary heart disease)

    (Hat tip to Eric Crampton – I think that’s where I first saw this paper linked.)

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  28. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    Alcohol directly killed 1000 New Zealanders last year. How many did those bloody veges kill?

    As startling as that statistic is, it is irrelevant.

    We know

    a) drinking is enjoyable

    b) when people weigh costs and benefits of consumption they over-estimate health costs of alcohol, just as they do smoking.

    The mere fact that alcohol use occasionally kills people is neither here nor there. People more than take that into account when making consumption choices. Let them.

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  29. MT_Tinman (3,064 comments) says:

    Alcohol directly killed 1000 New Zealanders last year. How many did those bloody veges kill?

    Taking out the road-death and accident people, all the rest.

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  30. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    Repton: you’re obviously a wowser so I’ll be brief. There is a difference between a) asking a question, and b) writing a 500 page report, disguise it as investigating anything. What the LC did not do is assemble all the evidence and soberly assess it. It simply counted all the costs and then said there ought to be changes, 153 of them. Show me the chapter on the benefits of alcohol consumption. That is a disingenuous process i.e. a sham that sucks up a ton of resources for no point other than to gather a political consensus. And the only reason you do that is because the evidence is not on their side.

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  31. bobux (349 comments) says:

    ben

    …and soberly assess it.

    This is the first time I have missed DPF’s old Thumbs Up/Down system for signalling approval of exceptional posts.

    I take my hat off to you, sir.

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  32. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Shit, for a second there I though I was reading a Matt McCaaarten column about the demise of the Act party!

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  33. BeaB (2,085 comments) says:

    The first miracle of Jesus was to whip up more booze for a wedding. That’s good enough for me.

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  34. roger rabbit (45 comments) says:

    I will drink to wine ;o)) ,montana sav blanc $8.95 New world , fuck i hate the wine haters ,WHAT BORING GOD FEARING SHITS they must be. Fuck the the countries dying ,the bulk of workers are paid shit, we have old national sqrewing us again with another FUCKER with a i luv everyone but really (there is money to be made in the future ) I LICK MAORI PARTY BUTT the most HONE KEY, and dicks want to remove the crutch to get most of us through the next day A DAMN NICE GLASS OF WINE ,fuck run up the northern motorway into the traffic , TOSSERS,

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  35. redeye (638 comments) says:

    So I can presume from the responses here that most poster believe any form of prohibition is fucked? Correct, or is this subjective? Do we include P, Heroin…?

    You unfortunate drunks are no different to any of the other drug addicts. Desperately attempting to justify why their drug of choice shouldn’t be restricted in anyway.

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  36. roger rabbit (45 comments) says:

    Another god fearing prick ,with another (lets distroy life and joy)complex, run up the motorway into the traffic (no one cares) joy killer,(some of his post follows SIGH)
    You unfortunate drunks are no different to any of the other drug addicts. Desperately attempting to justify why their drug of choice shouldn’t be restricted in anyway.
    castrate wine drinkers and force them to read DPF blog??? redeye (169) right

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  37. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    Alcohol directly killed 1000 New Zealanders last year.

    Methinks it was a factor in creating far more than that ;-)

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  38. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Blair:

    Just fuck all the wowsers, is all I have to say. It’s my body. It’s my liver. It harms no-one but me, and if it harms someone else, we have this thing called THE LAW that prosecutes me for such indiscretions, and I take responsibility for my actions.

    I like buying a martini at 7am at the Supper Club off K Road, and I want to continue to have the right to do so. Because I am not a criminal, and I like to have fun, and that is my definition of fun. So fuck Geoffrey Palmer and fuck Simon Pedobear Power, I am an adult. Treat me like one and leave me alone.

    Ok Blair…just for that Im letting you back into Club Liberty…..keep it up.

    ;-)

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  39. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Redeye: So I can presume from the responses here that most poster believe any form of prohibition is fucked? Correct, or is this subjective? Do we include P, Heroin…?

    You unfortunate drunks are no different to any of the other drug addicts. Desperately attempting to justify why their drug of choice shouldn’t be restricted in anyway.

    The only regulations needed are the rule of objective law which protects the rights of the peaceful and non aggressive while punishing the threatening,the violent and the destructive.Anything else is busybody rights violating tryanny and has no place in a civil society.

    If you think otherwise piss off to North Korea where your type is appreciated.

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  40. James (1,338 comments) says:

    The first miracle of Jesus was to whip up more booze for a wedding. That’s good enough for me.

    Yep….old Jesus wasn’t all bad.

    ;-)

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  41. bobux (349 comments) says:

    redeye

    You unfortunate drunks are no different to any of the other drug addicts. Desperately attempting to justify why their drug of choice shouldn’t be restricted in anyway.

    Classy, redeye.

    Not winning an argument, so you start piling on the abuse. How do you know I am a drunk? Why do you assume I think there should be no restrictions on alcohol sales?

    Any chance of you commenting on the fact that NZ’s alcohol consumption trails that of Denmark, Switzerland, Ireland, the UK, France and Germany, among others? Any chance of you accepting the evidence that light drinkers are healthier than non-drinkers? Any chance that you will admit that alcohol consumption has fallen since the 1980s?

    No, easier to just label your opponents as drunks, isn’t it.

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  42. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    “So I can presume from the responses here that most poster believe any form of prohibition is fucked? Correct, or is this subjective? Do we include P, Heroin…?”

    Well, yes, prohibition is fucked. But you may be able to better argue for prohibition of substances like heroin and cocaine which, I recall from what Dave Gittings – from Victoria’s school of psychology – said at some stage, are not easily accessible as the components required in their production are not easy to get into the country. Prohibition where components are easily accessible and easily produced, alcohol, marijuana, P = big failure.

    However, this is not about prohibition – given alcohol is not prohibited and widely accepted in society. To be honest, this can’t really be about harm either, given that there are many illegal recreational substances which are less harmful than legal recreational substances and also that there are also mortality benefits to alcohol (j-curve: http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.com/2010/07/j-curve.html, http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.com/2010/08/j-curve-science-versus-politics.html, and http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.com/2010/08/j-curve-science-versus-politics.html). It also isn’t about costs, given that the excise tax more than covers the external costs (regardless as to whether the tax is actually being distributed to go towards the costs – http://ideas.repec.org/p/nzt/nztwps/02-25.html I doubt there has been significant move upwards since 2002 despite what the BERL report states). Hell, the BERL report was commissioned to wholly ignore benefits which should come into consideration when giving costs (and I’m not even going to get into the methodology which was used). So can somebody please remind me what this is about again?

    Seems to me it’s about the imposition of a group of small-minded people who have ideas as to what other adults should or should not do to themselves, and if that’s all there really is as justification, they can fuck right off.

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  43. Brian Smaller (4,029 comments) says:

    The first miracle of Jesus was to whip up more booze for a wedding. That’s good enough for me.

    Yep….old Jesus wasn’t all bad.

    ;-)

    Then when everyone had the munchies he rustled up some fish and bread.

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  44. pseudonym123 (5 comments) says:

    *groan* at the zealots. I’m gonna say what everyone knows but rarely says. Drinking is funny. Drinking more than two drinks is fun. If you are not hurting other people (assaulting etc) um, who’s business is it? I usually get drunk once, occasionaly twice a week.

    If you don’t think it is fun or drinking becomes a problem in your life, don’t drink/seek help.

    I like to not pay a ridiculusly high price for alcohol as I am at University, thank you supermarkets and liquor sales. I also like pre-mixed beverages that have an alcohol content higher than 5%, eg. I like 8% bourban/gordans gin and tonic/wild turkey pre-mixes, they taste better than 5% sugar water rtd’s. I also like wine, love a good lindauer sale.

    Cannabis too is fun.

    Stop messing with mine and many others recreational activities nanny state govt, whatever colour that may be (red or blue).

    :)

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  45. redeye (638 comments) says:

    Bobux I’m not having an argument so I couldn’t possibly be losing.

    If however you would like to debate something how about starting with my original point which was; supermarkets forcing everyone, including those suffering from alcohol addiction, to walk through their grog presentation every time they go to buy their cornies is no different to a Coke dealer waving a bag of primo under a reforming addicts nose. It’s pushing in the true sense of the word and should be called what it is.

    Brian I don’t do the shopping. I earn the income in our family and someone else has the pleasure of spending it. But she shops at Motueka New World. I believe Fresh Choice is the same but it’s in the poorer end of town you know.

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  46. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    “supermarkets forcing everyone”

    Nobody’s being forced to go to the supermarket. They make the choice.

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  47. Tauhei Notts (1,652 comments) says:

    I love red wine with beef or lamb, but tonight the missus served up pork.
    What wine do you people suggest that goes with roast pork.
    I also like decent chardonnay with chicken or fish.

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  48. PaulL (5,986 comments) says:

    Pinot with pork?

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  49. mikeysmokes (269 comments) says:

    Although I disagree with Redeye I think he makes his point well.

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  50. pseudonym123 (5 comments) says:

    Haha.

    “Drinking is funny”

    Edit to my post: ‘Drinking is fun’…and funny!

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  51. MT_Tinman (3,064 comments) says:

    # Tauhei Notts (720) Says:
    August 30th, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    I love red wine with beef or lamb, but tonight the missus served up pork.
    What wine do you people suggest that goes with roast pork.

    Had a good, inexpensive Shiraz with roast (shoulder) pork last week.

    Worked for me.

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  52. Rufus (648 comments) says:

    Roger Rabbit 3:15 and 4:03

    On the contrary, Redeye has not presented any evidence to suggest he/she is either God-fearing, nor a prick.

    Redeye is simply arguing a point.

    Please be polite.

    Rufus

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  53. Southern Raider (1,756 comments) says:

    Redeye lives in Motueka and is complaining about booze being a problem. Probably because he doesn’t need to get drunk because of all the Golden Bay Green.

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  54. Southern Raider (1,756 comments) says:

    Redeye there should be no prohibition on anything unless it poses a high risk to society or a reasonable chance the average user will end up dead.

    Based on the above
    - alcohol, cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine etc are okay
    - P, herion etc bad

    That should be the basis of the decision. If 99% plus of the population can take something if they wish and not harm someone else or end up dead then why put these stupid restrictions in place.

    Also like BlairM it pisses me off that some old fucks who are just about dead anyway what to tell me what time I should go home on a Friday or Saturday night even though I don’t and haven’t ever heard anyone else by my actions.

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  55. Viking2 (11,286 comments) says:

    redeye (170) Says:

    If however you would like to debate something how about starting with my original point which was; supermarkets forcing everyone, including those suffering from alcohol addiction, to walk through their grog presentation every time they go to buy their cornies

    Brian I don’t do the shopping.

    So what’s your argument. You don’t shop so where is your problem. Oh I see you want to tell the rest of us how we should go about our daily chores and what we should or should not see or do.

    No he is not arguing a point, he is attempting to tell the rest of us how he thinks we should be run by the communists on a daily basis. The Govt. is bad enough now without encouraging them to put more restrictions on our lives.

    Don’t like freedom the go to North Korea or some other such country where they will take it away from you willingly.
    Some people are just born without brains. FFS

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  56. wat dabney (3,724 comments) says:

    …but forcing everyone (including suffering alcoholics) to pass by the the discounted drug just to get their bread and veges is tantamount to pushing. And should be recognised as such.

    Surely if they’re physically forcing people into their premises they are also guilty of kidnapping?

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  57. bobux (349 comments) says:

    Redeye

    If however you would like to debate something how about starting with my original point which was; supermarkets forcing everyone, including those suffering from alcohol addiction, to walk through their grog presentation every time they go to buy their cornies

    I am not convinced the practice is widespread, and note that you seem to be relying on a sample size of one Motueka supermarket that you don’t visit. I AM the household’s designated shopper, and none of the six supermarkets I am familiar with force shoppers to walk through the alcohol section as they enter. At worst, they sometimes put a pallet with carrying marked-down wine close to the butchery section, where most people walk past it.

    (Incidentally, they normally put alcohol near the checkout as it tends to be both heavy and breakable, which is not a combination shop owners want you wandering the aisles with. Behavioral analysis shows that walking past an abundance of fruit and veg boosts your total supermarket spend – probably due to some deep-buried impulses from a few thousand years of farming/gathering. Hence modern supermarkets force everyone to walk through this section on the way in).

    It wouldn’t bother me at all if supermarkets did make me walk past beer and wine to get to my cornies. If it bothers you, I suggest you write to the supermarket and complain. Better still, write to your local paper and try to start a petition. Small-town businesses tend to be very keen not to offend their regular customers.

    If this really does bother anyone other than you and Professor Sellman, it shouldn’t be too hard to force a local change.

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