The policy that Labour is not saying much about

November 11th, 2011 at 1:27 pm by David Farrar

Buried in their health policy is confirmation that will bring in minimum pricing for . Lianne Dalziel has twice said in Parliament that it should be at least $2 a standard drink. These posters hence reflect the minimum will cost under – it might be even more than that.

If you decide to stick these posters up anywhere, make sure you stick an authorisation statement on them, as they would then be an election advertisement. While they are on my blog, they represent my personal political view online and are exempt.

They would look very good on university and polytechnic campuses, and in supermarkets and bottle stories I reckon!

If people thought Labour’s 1958 “black budget” was bad, wait until their 2012 budget if they win. The black budget only doubled the tax on alcohol which put prices up around 30%. Labour’s policy would see the price of many forms of alcohol actually double in price!!

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130 Responses to “The policy that Labour is not saying much about”

  1. tvb (4,326 comments) says:

    I might vote labour if this is their policy. Alcohol is far too cheap allowing the drunks to get drunk.

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  2. Murray (8,844 comments) says:

    Good plan tvb, moonshining will make me rich.

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  3. gump (1,620 comments) says:

    This is one of the few Labour policies that I would happily support.

    The price of alcohol has become absurdly cheap, and the negative externalities of alcohol consumption are carried by tax-payers like myself.

    Around 80% of the hospital emergency department admissions in NZ involve alcohol related incidents. Not to mention the huge social costs that are caused by binge drinking.

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  4. tristanb (1,126 comments) says:

    If gump and tvb want, I’m sure the retailers would appreciate them paying double for alcohol. So next time you buy your bottle of wine for dinner, I want you to give the supermarket girl an extra $10. Does that sound fair?

    Or is it only okay when it is you two deciding what other people have to pay?

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  5. Manolo (13,518 comments) says:

    Gump, I guess you would support similar policies on cars and petrol (road fatalities), or fast food (obesity) or anything else.

    Proof that wowserism is alive and well in today’s New Zealand.

    If you want to pay more at the counter, just chip in and the shop will be happy to take your dollars.
    You have no right to impose absurd and unjustified eye-gouging alcohol prices on the rest of us, moderate drinkers.

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  6. Richard D (5 comments) says:

    “and the negative externalities of alcohol consumption are carried by tax-payers like myself.”

    Got a cite for that which isn’t the rubbish BERL report (which assumes, for example, drinking alcohol has no private benefits)? Alcohol excise is a billion dollars a year.

    “Around 80% of the hospital emergency department admissions in NZ involve alcohol related incidents.” this is just bullshit. Even ALAC’s own website says that 18-35% (big margin of error there!) of injury-related admissions (so excluding emergency department presentations for non-injuries. When come back, bring truth.

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  7. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    tvb and gump- I work my arse off all week (paying loads of tax to support unemployable pothead Labour/Green/Mana voters) and you are trying to take away my ability to finally relax on a Friday after work with a quiet beer or two down the pub?? With all due respect please fuck off and let me enjoy my well deserved ale in peace….

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  8. alex Masterley (1,507 comments) says:

    Labour, the curse of the drinking classes.

    All joking aside, Labour doesn’t really get it. Policies like this will affect their core support and simply drive more voters away from them.

    And from a diferent perspective I don’t recall seeing the tax generated by this impost appearing in the calculations labour has produced to support the expenditure contemplated by the policies that they have released. Or was this a rabbit they were going to pull out of the hat.

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  9. scrubone (3,091 comments) says:

    I’d put a short line above the word “current” to separate it from the message – being the same colour it confused me at first glance.

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  10. Than (450 comments) says:

    Price increases only punish responsible drinkers. They’re the ones who cut back when the price goes up. Heavy drinkers will still buy alcohol regardless.

    Increasing alcohol prices just means the government is taking more money from people with an addition, and putting more financial stress on them. It will almost certainly lead to increases in crime and family violence.

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  11. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    A quickfire survey of the people in my office at the moment confirms that the ‘Joe Average’ responsible drinker feels rather kicked in the guts by Labour’s plans to punish them for the mortal sin of enjoying a quiet beer after work….

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  12. wreck1080 (3,857 comments) says:

    I like this one. ‘Specially if it annoys the drunken inconsiderate dickheads around my neighbourhood.

    I guess this is where a lot of the extra $60 a week labour is promising for dole bludgers will go.

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  13. jem (49 comments) says:

    This will have ONE effect and ONE effect only.

    People will start doing what I do already, Homebrewing all their own beer , which will lead to liquor store Retailers going out of business…

    NET result. nothing but increased unemployment!

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  14. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    Longknives: “I work my arse off all week (paying loads of tax to support unemployable pothead Labour/Green/Mana voters) and you are trying to take away my ability to finally relax on a Friday after work with a quiet beer or two down the pub??”

    Nope – you’ll pay far more than $2 per standard drink at a pub, so this won’t affect you and so you can go ahead and vote Labour safely. If anything, Labour’s policy would be a boon to the hospitality industry as it will close the gap between what drinks cost when served on a licensed premises and what they cost when purchased to take away from one. Which is why the Hospitality Association (which represents your local pub) actually supports it (see http://m.nbr.co.nz/article/ban-supermarket-sales-alcohol-needed-hanz-nn-87625).

    alex: “And from a diferent perspective I don’t recall seeing the tax generated by this impost appearing in the calculations labour has produced to support the expenditure contemplated by the policies that they have released.”

    That’s because they are not talking about an increase in the excise tax … just a rule about how much you can sell something for. So the Government doesn’t get any more money out of this (in fact, they’d LOSE money if it is effective in reducing consumption).

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  15. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    “A quickfire survey of the people in my office at the moment confirms that the ‘Joe Average’ responsible drinker feels rather kicked in the guts by Labour’s plans to punish them for the mortal sin of enjoying a quiet beer after work….”

    If they are paying less than $32 for a dozen beers at the supermarket or bottle store, they are drinking a shitty product. So they should THANK Labour for forcing them to pay more, as this means there is no longer any financial reason to settle for Tui or even (shudder) Rheineck, when they could be drinking Tuatara or Harringtons instead.

    Of course, just to repeat … if they are buying their drinks in a pub, nothing will change. Better go back and inform your office mates of that point, unless you deliberately want to mislead them.

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  16. jem (49 comments) says:

    AG ..”If they are paying less than $32 for a dozen beers at the supermarket or bottle store, they are drinking a shitty product. So they should THANK Labour for forcing them to pay more, as this means there is no longer any financial reason to settle for Tui or even (shudder) Rheineck, when they could be drinking Tuatara or Harringtons instead. ”

    WHAT??? Sorry, but Ive never heard a bigger load of hogswash in all my life. You think that, if the cost goes up, then people are more likely to pay MORE for an even more expensive beer? I can only assume this is “Labour Mathmatics 101″.

    I make my own homebrew for 60c / 750ml bottle..why would I go to the supermarket at $2/330ml???

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  17. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    jem,

    Don’t you feel bad that your selfish actions are contributing to the problem you outline?

    Furthermore, if everyone starts homebrewing, who will supply the materials for that activity? Hence, there actually are 2 consequences, aren’t there? A reduced alcohol market (with consequential layoffs) and an increased homebrewing market (with consequential increased employment).

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  18. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    Jem,

    I was taking the piss, whilst being a beer snob. Sorry to confuse.

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  19. leftyliberal (642 comments) says:

    I don’t see why a $24/dozen rather than $12/dozen will do much to affect the problem drinkers. The price point where it starts to hurt kicks in much later than that. To be effective it would have to be so expensive that it would amount to a form of prohibition, and we all know how well that works.

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  20. Lance (2,628 comments) says:

    Labours Neutron Bomb?

    No silly…. you do it to the other side, not yourselves

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  21. tvb (4,326 comments) says:

    Alcohol is far too cheap. Particularly it is far too cheap to get drunk. Sure the moderate drinker who have one bottle per meal will moderate their consumption if wine has a minimum price of $25/bottle. But the drunks who like 3-4 with a meal will find it too expensive. And a good thing too. ALL drunkards are social pests, yes ALL, and are often dangerous to health a safety. Slam them hard regarding the cost to get drunk.

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  22. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Dalziel belongs back in the loony bin. Such pricing will not discourage drinking and for those families that spend money on booze at the expense of other things for their family and kids, it’ll only mean even less money for the essentials.

    It’s the same as the black market for drugs like P. The sky high price increases the harm the drug causes it does not reduce the harm.

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  23. jem (49 comments) says:

    Hi AG

    Selfish? Why? Because I chose to live on a strict budget, that requires me to have a $5 a week alcohol budget (which with homebrew is quite easy) freeing up the $20or$30/week people might spend , to now go on my kids swimming lessons, buying them healthy food etc. No , I can’t say that I do.

    I agree completely about the homebrew market picking up, but there will also be the knock-on effect for the local beer (and spirit) manufacturers, possibly resulting in more job loses. Of course I have no data to back this up :)

    At the end of the day, raising cost of Alcohol is a “punish everyone” approach to a problem that mainly resides in low socio-economic groups, and typically(but not exclusively) people on benefits. Which could be sorted by the beneficiary card idea.

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  24. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    tvb,

    Rubbish. Wowzers like yourself are pests. Mind your own business or at least come up with a sensible argument to support your position. As pointed out to you alcohol tax generates about a billion dollars a year. This covers the legitimate expenses which the taxpayer should be able to demand back from drinkers.

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  25. Black with a Vengeance (1,787 comments) says:

    Labour’s policy would see the price of many forms of alcohol actually double in price!!

    and how is that a bad thing ?

    I’d even double the price of sugary pop drinks and label both alcohol and pop drinks with pictures of health related diseases directly caused by them and ban advertising them on any sort of media along with sports sponsorship.

    If you want to drink either, then you’d have to be able to afford them as luxury items and know the health risks with a disclaimer that any associated health issues arising from useage will be paid for by the user and not the state.

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  26. adamsmith1922 (890 comments) says:

    I assume Labour will take the increase as tax, thus premium product will cost more, note Dalziel wants miniumum pricing, thus ‘premium’ brands will hike accordingly.

    This is inflationary, gouging and unreasonable, just like Nanny Helen and the wowsers.

    Bollocks – a real vote winner. NOT!!

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  27. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    jem,

    Again I was taking the piss, so sorry for any offence caused. Anyway, homebrewing can in many cases produce a better beer than is sold in tins. My point was that if there IS a major shift in how people get their alcohol from people paying others to make it for them, to paying others for the stuff to make it themselves, then the net result comes out neutral. In the end, people have the money they have to spend, and if they don’t spend it on booze they’ll spend it elsewhere (as you yourself do).

    As for “raising prices won’t change behaviour” … you don’t see so many smokers around anymore, do you? Why is that – anyone know?

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  28. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    adamsmith1922: “I assume Labour will take the increase as tax…”

    Why? Labour’s policy doesn’t mention excise taxes. So why not just have a law that says “no person may sell a product at a price that is less than $2 per 10ml of alcohol contained therein”? There’s no tax involved there at all, so it’d have no effect on “premium products”.

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  29. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    # Black with a Vengeance (530) Says:
    November 11th, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Labour’s policy would see the price of many forms of alcohol actually double in price!!

    and how is that a bad thing ?

    I’d even double the price of sugary pop drinks and label both alcohol and pop drinks with pictures of health related diseases directly caused by them and ban advertising them on any sort of media along with sports sponsorship.

    If you want to drink either, then you’d have to be able to afford them as luxury items and know the health risks with a disclaimer that any associated health issues arising from useage will be paid for by the user and not the state.

    As you wish mein fuhrer.

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  30. Black with a Vengeance (1,787 comments) says:

    ‘premium’ brands will hike accordingly.

    This is inflationary, gouging and unreasonable,

    This is alcohol we’re talking about fella !!!

    hike the premiums, inflate the prices, gouge the lush’s and fuck being reasonable about it.

    You don’t like it, go live somewhere else and drink yourself stupid just not at the cost to our health system.

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  31. jem (49 comments) says:

    AG.
    No offense taken :)
    I see your point, makes sense.

    I do agree with the better beer from homebrew. My personal favourite is the Belgian Wheat beers ;).

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  32. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    AG (1,187) Says:
    November 11th, 2011 at 3:24 pm


    As for “raising prices won’t change behaviour” … you don’t see so many smokers around anymore, do you? Why is that – anyone know?

    Correlation equals causation?

    It could just as easily be attributed to the increased social stigma attached to the activity by advertising campaigns and the like.

    In my view the two drugs can’t be compared. Alcohol alters the mind in a way that nicotine doesn’t. The quest for that effect will remain despite high prices whereas cigarette smoking is generally taken up by teenagers as a means to appear cool. Alcohol has intrinsic value to people’s enjoyment of their evening, weekend, birthdays, weddings etc. Smoking doesn’t provide the same value.

    Note how even during the era of prohibition, widespread alcohol consumption remained bringing with it corruption and threatening the integrity of the law itself.

    Not all drugs are the same.

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  33. Scott Chris (6,036 comments) says:

    Weihana has it right. Nanny wielding a blunt instrument again. I’m happy to see the tax on alcohol commensurate with its social cost, and no more. Same with all drugs.

    Mind you, at least AG’s beer will taste better at $32 per doz. If you want that boutique beer taste, just add some garden soil and lawn clippings to a Tui and double the price. Yummy!

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  34. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance (532) Says:
    November 11th, 2011 at 3:29 pm


    You don’t like it, go live somewhere else and drink yourself stupid just not at the cost to our health system.

    You are wrong. Drinkers contribute enough tax to support the cost they impose on the health system. You may have a point about soft drinks and other unhealthy foods but it is quite clear that the problem is not with the product it is with people who do not eat a healthy diet. Unfortunately you cannot force people to be healthy and you are wasting your time trying.

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  35. Doug (408 comments) says:

    Latest Roy Morgan Labour 26%

    http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2011/4719/

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  36. Black with a Vengeance (1,787 comments) says:

    Drinkers contribute enough tax to support the cost they impose on the health system.

    Unfortunately you cannot force people to be healthy and you are wasting your time trying.

    but you can price unhealthy items out of the market and strategise a campaign to lift awareness. At least then people have an informed choice to make and if they still choose to abuse their bodies then fuck ‘em.

    and it’s more than tax vs cost. It’s the time dedicated to alcohol related issues that could be better spent on something else. Doctors and hospitals have better things to do than deal with aggro rugby munters and booze hags who can’t handle their piss.

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  37. Sofia (852 comments) says:

    I am slightly puzzled.
    If I put a poster up saying it is Labour will bring in minimum pricing for alcohol, what ‘authorisation’ do I put on it.
    It is not my policy. I do not support Labour. It is just information. It does not urge anyone to vote one way or another. They decide that.

    [DPF: it is likely to be regarded as advocating people vote against Labour. I might check that out though]

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  38. burt (8,201 comments) says:

    Labour remind me more and more of Muldoon every day…

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  39. burt (8,201 comments) says:

    but you can price unhealthy items out of the market and strategise a campaign to lift awareness.

    Labour are very very unhealthy for the NZ economy, the last 3 Labour govt’s have proven this. What sort of tax do you suggest we place on voting for Labour in recognition that their policies are destructive self serving policies of envy and bad for NZ.

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  40. Black with a Vengeance (1,787 comments) says:

    Labour remind me more and more of Muldoon every day…

    Key is more like Muldoon if the rumours are anything to believe…DIC

    Drunk and In Charge of a Country

    hmmm…that might explain some classic examples of Key demeaning the office and title.

    Mincing down a catwalk could be explained by lower inhibitions, as could the 3way handshake being caused by impaired judgment and general rudeness.

    Agressive behaviour associated with alcohol could explain the throat slitting gesture. Even the comedic one liners of ‘show me the money’ can be the boorish and crass loudness alcohol tends to produce in chronic abusers.

    Maybe someone should tell John if he wins the election to leave his mates at home. Of course maybe he’s just a sober dickhead instead ?

    dunno eh…what do you reckon Burt ?

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  41. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    @ blackie “Doctors and hospitals have better things to do than deal with aggro rugby munters and booze hags who can’t handle their piss.”

    As opposed to what, whiny little tossers like you who suckle pinot noir from the public teat via the Labour party?

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  42. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:


    but you can price unhealthy items out of the market and strategise a campaign to lift awareness. At least then people have an informed choice to make and if they still choose to abuse their bodies then fuck ‘em.

    But the item itself is not necessarily unhealthy and even if you single out certain snack foods this doesn’t really change the overall balance of a person’s diet and the level of physical activity they undertake.

    Further, they do have an informed choice, they are simply careless. As Ricky Gervais puts it, no one ever said “How did I get so fat? Was it all the running?”


    and it’s more than tax vs cost. It’s the time dedicated to alcohol related issues that could be better spent on something else. Doctors and hospitals have better things to do than deal with aggro rugby munters and booze hags who can’t handle their piss.

    But what else would they be doing? Treating cancer patients who smoke too much? Treating diabetics who eat too much? Treating people who get injured from sport? Treating people who drive too fast? etc. etc. Why single out alcohol? Alcohol provides value to many people’s lives. That is, they enjoy consuming it. They should be entitled, like everyone else, to pursue medical treatment for the injuries they receive in living their lives. The only legitimate issue is whether or not they pay their fair share so as not to impose their choice on anyone else.

    It is not the job of government to dictate personal lifestyle. The job of government is to create a fair system in which people can coexist and all that means in this context is that people pay their fair share.

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  43. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Sofia,

    I believe the issue is the effect not necessarily your intent.

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  44. Black with a Vengeance (1,787 comments) says:

    whiny little tossers like you who suckle pinot noir from the public teat via the Labour party?

    relax the deathgrip on your veiny blue knob ya wanker.

    I don’t do wine. Do appreciate the odd good beer though. Likin Coopers Pale Ale as of late, don’t mind paying a little extra for a quality product.

    <and am in no way associated with the Labour party.

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  45. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    burt,

    “Labour are very very unhealthy for the NZ economy, the last 3 Labour govt’s have proven this.”

    How so? The current economic climate is not the fault of Labour or National. Over Labour’s 3 terms they did not roll back the major reforms of the Rogernomics era. Public debt remained stable and unemployment was low up until the recent financial crisis.

    So what indicators do you think showed poor economic management from the Labour government?

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  46. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    So an underemployed professional troll with suppressed homo-erotic tendencies and a liking for poncy Australian beer. Are you *sure* you’re not a Labour member/employee/contractor/subcontractor?

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  47. Black with a Vengeance (1,787 comments) says:

    But what else would they be doing?

    How about house calls subsidised by the gov’t. Didn’t family GP’s used to visit sick people in their homes back in the day ?

    It is not the job of government to dictate personal lifestyle.

    so legalise all recreational drugs then.

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  48. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    How about I be the honest one here and just admit that I like alcohol for the effect and it’s not all about the taste. Don’t get me wrong, the taste of a good beer is good but a cheap beer can be good too. Lets not get too pretentious and pretend we’re all connoisseurs of alcohol. :)

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  49. burt (8,201 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance

    Muldoon nationalised everything, controlled the price of everything and dictated what people should be paid – sound like modern Labour? You seem to be ignorant of the fact that National under Muldoon was basically socialist but it seems you remember how destructive socialism was – when it was being done by National. You need to look past the colour of the logo and judge the party by it’s policies.

    Weihana

    Recently, NZ was in recession before the global economic crisis and GDP growth has been shrinking faster than world trend because of Labour’s policies of envy. But more importantly, think carefully about what Cullen said of the economy as labour were leaving office compared to what Treasury said….

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  50. burt (8,201 comments) says:

    Didn’t family GP’s used to visit sick people in their homes back in the day ?

    Yes, and under Labour people use to endlessly visit their GP. We have got past that – lets not go back to reducing waiting lists via reclassification.

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  51. Black with a Vengeance (1,787 comments) says:

    So an underemployed professional troll with suppressed homo-erotic tendencies and a liking for poncy Australian beer

    one more insult and you’re off my christmas card list !

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  52. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    jem – I home brew too, and if I do a cheap brew I get it down to 80c/litre (at 4% abv, excluding equipment and bottling, using Coopers hopped malt kits which come with yeast). Even when I do an all-grain brew it costs less than $2/litre.

    My thoughts are that ratcheting up the price through taxes will increase black market activity, as well as a surge in home brewing, which increases the health risks – basically the same argument that people make about reforming marijuana laws in fact.

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  53. Black with a Vengeance (1,787 comments) says:

    Burt…I’d suggest you don’t have one for the road unless Ernie’s sober and is able to drive.

    So what number Sesame St do you live at anyway ?

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  54. graham (2,332 comments) says:

    I prefer the imported British beers – which, at current prices I purchase by the bottle, definitely NOT by the dozen. Hobgoblin, Old Speckled Hen, and so on. Wonder what this policy will do to them?

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  55. burt (8,201 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance

    Typical, personal attack. I guess you don’t like the reality that Labour are like National under Muldoon…

    I’m surprised the Labour talking points briefing didn’t give you some resonses to people reminding you of this… perhaps they did and they were written by Trevor so the answer was ‘punch them’ which is hard to do on a blog.

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  56. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    He’s at 71 Seasame St, right next door to you blackie, you’re at No. 69 right?

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  57. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance (537) Says:
    November 11th, 2011 at 4:21 pm


    How about house calls subsidised by the gov’t. Didn’t family GP’s used to visit sick people in their homes back in the day ?

    Seems impractical. Every time the doctor is not treating people but is instead driving in his car then he is wasting his valuable time. I’m no expert on the matter but it would seem to me the benefits of house calls would be limited compared to the decreased efficiency of having doctors make such visits. Perhaps there is some limited application for such an idea but I’m not sure it should be subsidized just because some people prefer to stay in their homes.


    It is not the job of government to dictate personal lifestyle.

    so legalise all recreational drugs then.

    I agree. But this does not negate the need for appropriate regulation to minimize the harm associated with particular drugs. But it’s about finding regulation that works and regulations such as proposed by Dalziel will not produce a desirable outcome.

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  58. James Stephenson (2,145 comments) says:

    That’s because they are not talking about an increase in the excise tax … just a rule about how much you can sell something for. So the Government doesn’t get any more money out of this (in fact, they’d LOSE money if it is effective in reducing consumption).

    Are sure about that? The back of an envelope I have here reckons that the government’s doubling its GST take.

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  59. Scott Chris (6,036 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance says:- “Drunk and In Charge of a Country”

    Speaking of which, here’s Rick Perry, possibly the next POTUS, off his face, giving a speech:

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  60. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    burt (5,335) Says:
    November 11th, 2011 at 4:25 pm


    Recently, NZ was in recession before the global economic crisis and GDP growth has been shrinking faster than world trend because of Labour’s policies of envy.

    I don’t see the following graph as confirming either of those propositions.

    http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/keygraphs/fig2b.html

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  61. Black with a Vengeance (1,787 comments) says:

    Burt…

    I guess you don’t like the reality that living in the present encompasses so would prefer to live in the past and create fantasies about what might have been if only Clark and Cullen were more like Key and English.

    Guess that’s why you live on Sesame St and i don’t.

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  62. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Scott Chris (2,632) Says:
    November 11th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Hilarious. Though I’d still prefer Perry over Herman Cain.

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  63. laworder (288 comments) says:

    As much as I like this idea personally, and agree with BWAV and tvb, I can see the downsides of this proposal – those that are really addicted will simply find ways to get the money. A beneficiary card system as proposed by jem would be a better solution, so they could purchase anything except alcohol, tobacco, pokies and pot etc. This would help deal with multiple issues on top of alcohol, but still leaves the problem of what to do about problem drinkers not on benefits.

    Perhaps we will need to bite the bullet and have some sort of ID card required to purchase alcohol either at bars or the supermarket, one which you lose if you are convicted of alcohol related offending (eg DIC or alcohol driven violence which most is). That will be fairer to responsible drinkers while dealing with the problem ones

    Regards
    Peter J
    Webmaster for http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  64. Scott Chris (6,036 comments) says:

    Weihana says:- “Hilarious. Though I’d still prefer Perry over Herman Cain.”

    Rick Perry is probably quite a nice bloke. Mind you, his drunken manner bore an uncanny resemblance to George W sober.

    Re Herman Cain: No doubt you’ve seen this completely bizarre promotional ad:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6VnTqpTqvQ

    Less than a minute long.

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  65. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    The Longlands Sauvignon is $8.99 heavily reduced from an RRP of 16.99
    http://www.vineonline.co.nz/buy-wine/white/sauvignon-blanc/466-te-awa-farm-longlands-hawkes-bay-sauvignon-blanc-2010

    So what is being talked about is elimination of much of the heavy discounting of wine and beer at supermarkets etc. It’s hitting the bottom end of the market – the average bottle would not rise by nearly this amount. The impact on prices at the bar would be relatively minor as the largest share of the cost there is not the drink but the service, venue etc.

    Alcohol is a cause of masses of societal problems, costs the health system a fortune. Of all the ways to raise revenue for the government taxing things like alchohol consumption is probably not a bad thing. If you don’t like the tax or can’t afford it you are able to avoid it.

    As a regular moderate wine, beer and cider drinker this would probably have a marginal impact on me – probably around the decision of whether to go for that second or third drink…

    Obviously it’d be nice if quality beer and wine was cheap and plentiful but the opportunity cost of not raising tax on alchohol is raising taxes on income, wealth or companies or borrowing more. In that context I think alchohol is not a bad place to charge taxes.

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  66. nasska (11,184 comments) says:

    laworder

    We’re trying to get the government out of our lives & our pockets & you moot another nanny state ID card? No thanks!

    Should just about finish off the tourism industry too if our paying guests have to convince a stuffed shirt, regulation ridden bureaucrat that they are of sufficiently good character to be allowed a card.

    Epic fail!

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  67. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Scott Chris (2,634) Says:
    November 11th, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Love the creepy smile at the end. I bet that’s the same smile he uses when he starts sliding his hand up his employee’s skirt.

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  68. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    laworder,

    I don’t think your ID proposal will achieve anything. If alcohol is a large contributor to their problems then they must be an addict in which case they could very easily obtain alcohol by getting their wife or a friend to purchase it for them. Bars may be easier to control but if alcoholism is their problem then their behaviour would not likely change just because they are forced to get their fix from a different location.

    Sounds like a lot of extra administrative cost, a lot of hassle for bar managers, and little to no reduction in harm.

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  69. Brabus (31 comments) says:

    Brewing alcohol is easy, the cheapest I’ve made was apple and pear cider from the trees in the back yard. All I needed to do was spend $6 on some yeast and camden tablets and hey presto lots of lovely cider for me to enjoy. Now not everyone has fruit trees on their property but since fruit and veg are going to become much cheaper under Labour (insert Tui) this entertaining past time will become much more accessible to the common man.

    Vote Labour for cheap cider!

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  70. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Richard29,

    You make a reasonable argument. Problem is you ignore the fact that alcohol is already taxed sufficiently to pay for the cost it would otherwise impose on other taxpayers. It should be no more than what is necessary to recover costs imposed on others.

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  71. nasska (11,184 comments) says:

    Brabus

    …..”Vote Labour for cheap cider!”……

    You sound like just the bloke Labour need to replace their broken arsed campaign manager…..as an election slogan it beats the hell out of anything the socialists have come up with.

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  72. Than (450 comments) says:

    @laworder – a beneficiary card will just result in a return to barter. In a given social circle those on benefits will buy the food for everyone, those with jobs will buy the booze and smokes. The ones with jobs would gain a little bit in the transaction, so you have provided a slight incentive for smokers/drinkers to find work. But that’s not really much to show for a system that would cost tens of millions to set up and administer.

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  73. Kimble (4,426 comments) says:

    The full increase in price of the cheapest alcohol is unlikely to be passed through to the consumer of better, more expensive alcohol.

    The demand for the better alcohol will increase, which will put upward pressure on prices, but I dont think it will result in a flat increase across the board. This change will only affect the poor (i.e. drinkers of cheap alcohol).

    Proving once again that Labour, the party that likes to wank on about caring for poor people, express that care by treating poor people like children.

    The policy will also push people towards stronger (bigger-bang-for-your-buck) alcohol so will actually have the opposite effect of the stated purpose.

    Proving once again that Labour, the party that likes to tell people it is fit to be in government, isnt even competent enough to create a single policy that works.

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  74. RRM (9,784 comments) says:

    Pffft, you shouldn’t be paying less than $16 for a bottle of wine anyway. Life’s too short to drink rodents’ urine.

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  75. adamsmith1922 (890 comments) says:

    BWAV and AG your response to my comments was ill informed. Of course there will be additional tax involved, do you really think minimum pricing will be imposed without taking a piece of the action. Labour will not increase brewers and vineyard margins/profits get real

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  76. gump (1,620 comments) says:

    weihana said:

    Problem is you ignore the fact that alcohol is already taxed sufficiently to pay for the cost it would otherwise impose on other taxpayers. It should be no more than what is necessary to recover costs imposed on others.

    —————–

    Already hitting the turps are we?

    Alcohol abuse costs society considerably more than is recouped through excise taxes. It drives violent crime, causes car accidents, fuels family violence, and harms the health of those who binge on it.

    Most of the harm comes from low-cost alcohol. Raising the price of the lowest priced drinks is a legitimate and reasonable government policy.

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  77. XChequer (298 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance (542) Says:
    November 11th, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    “<and am in no way associated with the Labour party."

    Heh.

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  78. Andrei (2,547 comments) says:

    Whatever harm alcohol does society it pales into insignificance when compared to the harm the Labour party has done over the years.

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  79. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    gump (110) Says:
    November 11th, 2011 at 6:42 pm


    Alcohol abuse costs society considerably more than is recouped through excise taxes.

    No, it doesn’t. I have read the reports and claims that the cost is higher are based on ridiculous arguments such as the reduced output of drinkers from premature death and the use of resources in the production of alcohol. It is ridiculous to consider premature death as robbing society of one’s economic output. Similarly it is ridiculous to consider the use of resources for some purpose as stealing those resources from society.


    It drives violent crime, causes car accidents, fuels family violence, and harms the health of those who binge on it.

    Absolutely, and taking into account these legitimate costs to society, current alcohol taxation is sufficient.

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  80. reid (16,227 comments) says:

    Well said Andrei.

    What diff do they imagine it’s going to make, anyway? The silly mentals. Most problems in any town on any night are caused by a few people who do it too much and/or who get angry when they do it. This is not everyone in the town that night, it’s not even a majority of pissed people in the town that night. It’s always just a minuscule handful of people who cause issues, in those cases. And those tossers won’t care much about price.

    The second problem category are those who do it it too often and that causes long term health issues which takes years to develop and prices go up and prices go down and those people also, will keep doing it regardless of price. They’ll just cut back on fruit and vege.

    Meanwhile the vast vast majority of us who don’t do either of those things (very often), get to suffer Liarbore’s pointless policy, simply cause of a few morons. Crikey, if Liarbore wants everyone to hate its guts by the time polling day arrives, it’s doing fiendishly well.

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  81. plebe (271 comments) says:

    The Conservatives (the party im voting for) has the same dickhead policy on boose in their manifesco, but as im voting for them and not for that old trougher dunne(nationals pimp),i dont think i have a worry.

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  82. tvb (4,326 comments) says:

    Weihana a drunk is a social pest. They should be made to eat their own vomit, watch videos of their disgusting behavior over and over again. Many drunks are violent and rude. They disrupt emergency wards. They assault nurses and doctors. They piss everywhere. Awful awful people.

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  83. Scott Chris (6,036 comments) says:

    Weihana says:- “It is ridiculous to consider premature death as robbing society of one’s economic output.”

    In fact, if you can time it so your liver gives out aged 65, then you’d be doing society a favour.

    Joke: Is life worth living? It depends upon the liver.

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  84. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    @adamsmith1922: “BWAV and AG your response to my comments was ill informed. Of course there will be additional tax involved, do you really think minimum pricing will be imposed without taking a piece of the action. Labour will not increase brewers and vineyard margins/profits get real”

    Oh really? And your evidence for the claim “of course there will be additional tax involved” is … ? And no – the argument “it is Labour, so there must be a tax” doesn’t cut it.

    Also, seeing as we’re chucking allegations of being “ill informed” around, you might care to note that the model for the suggestion of a minimum pricing scheme in the Law Commission’s report is Scotland – where the policy is outlined thus: “Minimum pricing would simply set a floor price for a unit of alcohol, meaning it can’t be sold for lower than that. The more units a drink contains, the stronger it is and therefore the more expensive it will be. A pint of beer contains about two units, while a bottle of wine contains about 10.
    Minimum pricing is not a tax; it is a targeted way of making sure strong drink is sold at a sensible price.”
    See: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Health/health/Alcohol/minimum-pricing

    I await your response to further inform me on this topic.

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  85. Than (450 comments) says:

    @tvb,

    If by “drunks” you mean people who vomit, are rude and violent, and end up in emergency wards, then I agree they are a pest. But these are very much a minority of people who drink. You mentioned people who have 3-4 drinks with dinner – I challenge you to show me a healthy adult who will vomit after having 4 standard drinks with a meal. Many people enjoy more than that without disrupting anyone else in the least.

    Enjoying one drink (or even several) does not make one a drunk. Please try and learn the difference, and then you may be able to make a useful contribution to this discussion.

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  86. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    @kimble: “The policy will also push people towards stronger (bigger-bang-for-your-buck) alcohol so will actually have the opposite effect of the stated purpose.”

    You do get how maths works, right? If 6 beers (containing 6 alcohol units priced at at least $2 each) cost a minimum of $12, then what is the minimum that a bottle of Vodka containing 30 alcohol units will cost? And, as a rational drinker seeking the maximum “bang for your buck”, which would you choose?

    (Hint – that’s a bit of a trick question.)

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  87. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Stupid idea and one doomed to failure. I brew spirits at home but haven’t bothered for a while and have just bought it at the shop. If this comes in I will be incentivized to start brewing again big time and “gifting” my product to many friends who are always willing to be ‘generous”in return. Milton Friedman’s iron law of prohibition will kick in too…home brewers will produce more harder liquor for the same reason as the anti drug nonsense incentivized drug dealers to create crack and meth to get a bigger profit stream in exchange for their efforts.

    For about $6 I can make a 1.125 bottle of very good spirit……Labour should reconsider fast if lessening the negative effects of alcohol consumption is really their goal..

    Privatising healthcare so people have to pick up their own tab for destructive behaviour would sort the booze issue out far better than tax hikes ever will…but then Kiwis aren’t bright enough or moral enough to go with that…

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  88. Scott Chris (6,036 comments) says:

    tvb says:- “Weihana a drunk is a social pest.”

    Public displays of drunkenness are considered culturally acceptable and are mostly harmless. Certainly people should be held accountable for causing a nuisance or breaking the law, but using pricing mechanisms to disincentivise consumption is an unbalanced and ineffectual approach to the problem.

    Not only that, the social emphasis is all wrong. People should be charged with the responsibility of making reasonable choices, not have their choices restricted by regulations that are irrelevant to them.

    It’s like saying no one can go swimming for the sake of the few that will drown. Crazy.

    All you’re going to achieve by doubling the cost of alcohol is to force the poorer addicts and abusers into spending a greater proportion of their income on booze, with only a marginal effect on demand. The richer addicts will continue on regardless. Those who drink responsibly may well end up consuming less, because they are not compulsive drinkers. What’s the point in that?

    BTW, I’m a dry alcoholic, so the tax wouldn’t affect me.

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  89. tvb (4,326 comments) says:

    What I am saying is the price of alcohol should be put up very significantly to act as a deterrent to drunkenness. That is all. A group of people can have one bottle of wine with a meal but 5 or 6 wold be prohibitively expensive. Have one glass of wine with a meal instead of 6 or more. And the poor raising children on welfare should not be drinking AT ALL.

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  90. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    tvb….so home brewers like me,and ones without my level of moral restraint will be supplying those people,and kids, wanting the 5 or 6 bottles…and you can bet things will get even worse than they are now…and that’s because no product whos supply has been left to the black market has ever become safer for people to use and abuse..

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  91. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    How about, if there are indeed people getting drunk and causing trouble, we actually punish them for it and put impositions on them for their own behavior? You know, instead of punishing every single alcohol consumer on suspicion.

    I mean, why don’t we make the minimum price of a car $50,000 dollars to discourage poor drivers and boy racers?

    Is there anyone more holier-than-thou than a tee-totaller? They make vegetarians look tolerant.

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  92. Andrei (2,547 comments) says:

    I’m a tee-totaller, transmogrifier, and I oppose this policy to the core of my very being.

    This is just another example of collective punishment

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  93. reid (16,227 comments) says:

    What I am saying is the price of alcohol should be put up very significantly to act as a deterrent to drunkenness. That is all.

    Weihana what pray tell is wrong with peaceful, quiet drunkeness that doesn’t harm anyone? Most drunkeness is precisely that, you know.

    Or do you disagree?

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  94. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    The best “deterrent to drunkenness” is the real and unavoidable fact of having the full consequences of your own actions sheeted home to YOU via social sanction,monetary cost and police intervention.

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  95. Than (450 comments) says:

    @tvb, price isn’t a disincentive to drunkenness.

    Problem drunks, people who get rude and violent, people who vomit and end up in emergency rooms, they will still buy alcohol no matter how expensive you make it. It will mean they have less money to spend on their children or their rent, but they will buy it anyway. Increasing the price of alcohol only increases the harm their drinking causes to those around them.

    It is average kiwis who will be put off buying alcohol by price increases. Light-to-moderate drinkers who enjoy a glass of wine with a meal or a beer with some friends. Simple pleasures that harm no-one, but yet another victim of the nanny-state.

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  96. Kimble (4,426 comments) says:

    You do get how maths works, right?

    Better than you.

    500ml of vodka costs $30, has 16 drinks. Increase in price of $2 with the new policy. Which translates to $0.125 increase per drink.

    For $32 you could get 12 beers. Current price is $16, so the increase in price is $1.00 per drink.

    Are you brave enough to say that such a relative price increase wouldnt have people substituting vodka for beer?

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  97. Other_Andy (2,576 comments) says:

    @AG
    “Oh really? And your evidence for the claim “of course there will be additional tax involved” is … ? And no – the argument “it is Labour, so there must be a tax” doesn’t cut it.”

    For every dollar, the state takes another $0.13 cents in GST
    On top of that it takes an alcohol tax of 10% of the retail price for beer, 15% for wine, and 38% for spirits.
    For beer that is another $ 0.013 which means beer will be taxed an extra $ 0.143 per dollar.
    For wine that is another $ 0.019 which means beer will be taxed an extra $ 0.149 per dollar.
    For spirits that is another $ 0.049 which means beer will be taxed an extra $ 0.179 per dollar.

    So there is an additional tax.
    Yes, really….

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

    GOD NO, this is the last straw, is nothing scared to these socialist fucking aholes??????. Thank God we run a nice little still that would make a brew that would blow the balls off these grippers.

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  99. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    Apparently not, Kimble.

    1 bottle of Vodka (500ml) @ 40% = 200ml of alcohol = 20 standard drinks x $2 each (minimum) = $40 minimum price.

    12 beers (330ml) @ 5% = 200 ml of alcohol = 20 standard drinks x $2 each (minimum) = $40 minimum price.

    You see how “minimum pricing per unit of alcohol” works?

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  100. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    Other_Andy,

    My point was that the difference between current prices for alcohol and the price charged under a minimum pricing scheme is not being taken in tax … so, to use DPF’s example, the $18 extra cost for beer/$8 extra cost for wine is not ALL going into the state’s coffers. On your figures, it would be $2.57 and $1.19 in extra tax. (But, correct me if I’m mistaken, didn’t John Key’s National Government raise GST to 15% a couple of years ago?)

    So yes – it is true there will be more revenue gathered per drink sold (on the cheapest form of alcohol, anyway). Against that, however, is the predicted decrease in the amount of alcohol consumed (and thus sold) … so I think any claim this is just a revenue grab is a bit simplistic.

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  101. tvb (4,326 comments) says:

    ANY drunk yes any drunk is a dreadful creature to be around. Most people only get drunk once or twice a year and that can be tolerated – just. But people who get drunk regularly are just awful. There is NO such thing as a nice drunk. They are all awful. They piss everywhere, they are hung over the next day, bad tempered and dreadful to look at. I want alcohol to be so expensive that people will think twice before getting drunk because of the cost. Home brew has dropped off precisely because alcohol has become too cheap. There will be some who will do it if the price is increased. Some may do a fair job, some will do a bad job and poison the fools that try it. Who cares. I have had a gutsful of booze culture in this country and I want it clamped down hard. Go Labour on this one.

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  102. Than (450 comments) says:

    tvb, you clearly have absolutely no idea about the reality of alcohol and how it affects people. Do you actually know anybody who regularly enjoys a few drinks?

    But feel free to maintain your narrow-minded, bigoted view of the world. Reality will overrule you, and I will be glad when it does.

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  103. wreck1080 (3,857 comments) says:

    He he, I agree TVB. I had Brazilian neighbours a while back —boozed up constantly,during the week as well as weekends. With the booze, came littering, vomiting, loud music ,verbal noise, the odd fight, and generally disgraceful behaviour.

    Not that increasing the price will solve all problems, but, it will lessen them around the fringes.

    Up the price–But,at the same time lets drop petrol taxes to compensate.

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  104. Kimble (4,426 comments) says:

    AG, you are acting as if illiteracy is a virtue.

    First of all I am using 12.5ml per standard drink, hence 16 standard drinks. But it doesnt make any difference.

    Even using your dumbed down example, the vodka’s price increases by 50cents per unit, while the beer increases by more than twice that.

    Again, are you really brave enough to say that more people wont choose vodka over beer when the price differential is reduced to such a degree?

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  105. Kimble (4,426 comments) says:

    I have had a gutsful of booze culture in this country and I want it clamped down hard.

    Of course, the blunt force use of the State is all fine and dandy until it affects something you enjoy. No R18 movies. No violent sports. No loud cars. No bad language. No foreign languages. No fried foods. No jokes about religion. No dancing.

    What a world.

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  106. big bruv (13,679 comments) says:

    Another tax from Labour…who would have thought that?

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  107. laworder (288 comments) says:

    Than wrote


    tvb, you clearly have absolutely no idea about the reality of alcohol and how it affects people. Do you actually know anybody who regularly enjoys a few drinks?

    I think tvb is speaking from personal experience here. His certainly tallies with mine and closely. The people I know and have known that “regularly enjoy a few drinks” do so at the cost of their loved ones in all sorts of ways. Alcohol is an extremely powerful depressant and a disinhibitor as well, an absolutely shit awful combination for a lot of people.

    I dont know if what Labour is proposing is a solution to the chronic alcohol problem this country has (along with a lot of other Western countries). I dont know if an ID card is either. I am open to better suggestions for a solution. God alone knows we need one – and soon.

    Regards
    Peter J
    Webmaster for http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  108. Scott Chris (6,036 comments) says:

    Perhaps tvb and laworder are forgetting that, drunk or sober, some people are just inconsiderate assholes.

    A problem arises in a community that relies too much on Nanny, in that when a neighbour is being a nuisance, rather than band together to show mutual displeasure, all you end up with is a poor old noise control officer flapping bits of paper.

    Anyone wondered why neighbours don’t communicate anymore? It’s because we don’t think we need eachother anymore.

    Basically, a heavy handed state inhibits effective cultural practice and people inevitably learn to become helpless. Look at the welfare system, for instance.

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  109. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    Kimble,

    Apologies – I mistook 10gm of alcohol for 10 ml … Scotland uses the latter measure, we use the former. But let’s agree the point is the same irrespective of how a “standard drink” is defined. The question is, would beer drinkers switch to vodka if the price-per-volume of alcohol is the same for both? There’s reasons to be cautious about a claim this will happen in a widespread way.

    (1) If the purchaser does not have $40 (or $32, or whatever) to spend on alcohol, then they will have to spend less (and thus get less alcohol) – so rather than buying a cheap dozen beers and getting totally hammered, they’ll spend the lesser amount they do have on a half-dozen (or a smaller bottle of vodka) and so get less hammered.

    (2) If a purchaser does have $40 (or $32, or whatever) to spend on alcohol, then the alcohol intake from a 500 ml bottle of vodka vs a dozen beers is the same. So if some people are calculating on a “bang for bucks” basis – as there is at-least anecdotal evidence they do – then it’s a wash. The relative increase in price of each form of alcohol then isn’t then the point … it’s people looking at the cash they have and asking “how pissed can I get using this money?”

    (3) People don’t JUST choose what kind of alcohol to drink based on price alone – there is the fact that at least some people don’t like spirits, etc and prefer the taste of beer/wine.

    (4) The main venue for alcohol sales – supermarkets – don’t stock spirits. So there is no price-point comparison at the place most consumers access alcohol … meaning the displacement activity would require an additional trip to a different retail outlet (i.e. still impose an extra cost on the purchase of spirits).

    So I will admit there is a risk SOME consumers may decide to switch from beer to vodka if the price difference is removed. But I would query how widespread this will be, note that it will not involve an increase in that consumer’s total alcohol intake (although the way the alcohol is consumed may differ – spirits do get you pissed quicker, if drunk in that way), and also note it has to be set alongside the predictable decrease of alcohol consumption overall. So – shades of grey, rather than black and white.

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  110. burt (8,201 comments) says:

    Well I guess Labour need a way to pay for all the extra IRD staff that will be needed for CGT compliance. And hey, it’s not like beneficiaries drink alcohol when struggling to feed their families…. doooh!

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  111. Stevenz (9 comments) says:

    David Farrar,
    Class B (equivalent) drug supporter extraordinaire. How sick is that advert? A responsible attitude not. Cost to society surely outweighs perving to the masses drug addiction? Now if you are true to your ethics you must support cheap nicotine as well, freedom of choice to live not? Advertising of nicotine sticks and supermarket displays of cigs at the entrance. Speak up man I want to know if you or the Nats are simply Big alcohol supporters for votes or thinking people. The answer is obvious.

    [DPF: I support the excise tax being set at a level which covers the external costs of alcohol. Reputable studies have shown it is]

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  112. Kimble (4,426 comments) says:

    AG, this is Econ 101. Vodka and beer are substitutes, lowering the price differential causes some people to go to the now relatively cheaper good. Those people are moving to the relatively cheaper good because of the price change which would be a direct result of this policy.

    Fewer people may drink (this is so unlikely I reckon it is little more than wishful thinking), but those that do are more likely to drink stronger things.

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  113. Stevenz (9 comments) says:

    David Farrar
    Are you against lowering the Blood alcohol level for driving? Most thinking New Zealanders will be wondering why not save lives. At 80 mg/mL of blood a 20 year old is 80 times more likely to have an accident than a sober David Farrar.

    [DPF: This is a seperate issue to the price of alcohol. I support a zero blood alcohol for younger drivers. For over 25 yr old drivers very very few crashes have a driver with blood alcohol between 50 and 80]

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  114. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    @ kimble: “Fewer people may drink (this is so unlikely I reckon it is little more than wishful thinking)…”

    Seeing as we’re dealing at the Econ 101 level, I trust you will allow empirical evidence into the debate. So, see this article on the effect of a tax on alcopops in NSW:
    “Research by the groups found that the alcopops tax, introduced in 2008, pushed the sale of the popular drinks down by more than 30 per cent in a year.
    While sales of other spirits rose in the same period, the increase accounted for less than half the fall in alcopop sales.”
    http://www.news.com.au/national/fresh-calls-to-hike-alcohol-prices/story-e6frfkvr-1226096237836#ixzz1dS25O9bK

    So, you know … there is a real world that allows us to test hypothesis, rather than just rely on our preconcieved notions.

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  115. Stevenz (9 comments) says:

    DPF Thanks for replying

    I applaud National for it’s zero limit for under 20 drivers. Just as many drivers between 20 and 24 die and of course the 15-19 deaths are only the tip of the iceberg. Over 20 drivers have never been tested between 50 and 80 mg BAC so can you point me to your evidence? Steven Joyce is collecting evidence now but only since August this year. Save us all the three year wait please. 33% of road fatalities involve drugs and alcohol. Most are over 20. 60% think BAC should be lowered and 50% think our current drink drive laws are effective.

    A lower price will encourage poor or young people to drink more preloading etc and inevitably more will be killed. Unfortunate for the rich kids at Kings for instance.

    I was interested in an earlier opinion re Labour not caring for its voters: from my point of view Labour voters on the whole are lower income and a price increase will lower their consumption lowering their risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancers particularly throat but breast and prostate. What is uncaring about that? If price is the only issue for people they must baulk at paying $9 for a glass of wine at a restaurant but do they. If $2 was introduced / standard drink lower alcohol beers would have a price advantage. Of course it is most unlikely that would succeed. $1.50 maybe?
    The Greens not just Labour
    “Support continued use of pricing mechanisms to discourage the use of tobacco and alcohol.”

    [DPF: The annual stats by Land Transport include blood alcohol readings for drivers in fatal crashes. This is only partial info, so I support the Govt in collecting more comprehensive info so a more informed decision can be made in future]

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  116. Stevenz (9 comments) says:

    DPF said “I support the excise tax being set at a level which covers the external costs of alcohol.”

    “For every 100 alcohol or drug-impaired drivers or riders killed in road crashes, 56 of their passengers
    and 26 sober road users die with them. ” CRASH STATISTICS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2009
    Prepared by Research and Statistics, Ministry of Transport

    I just hope you don’t get caught up as a stat. in the external costs.

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  117. Stevenz (9 comments) says:

    David

    Check out http://www.alcoholaction.co.nz/resourcesandreferences downloads “10 facts the alcohol industry don’t want advertised”

    You say labour doesn’t want to talk. The industry is more worried. National doesn’t want alcohol reform to be an issue and postponed it. They were rightly scared that increasing public opinion against their non reform bill
    There are about 600 FAS births a year 1% of 60,000 births. Fetal alcohol syndrome fries your brain. JK is against drugs that fry your brain but won’t put warnings on alcohol. He is more concerned about less dangerous class C cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids. The cost of FAS is estimated at $750,000 over a lifetime/child. If this happens every year then $450M /year. Excise tax is about 800M more in RWC but then more babies are born as well as rapes, assaults and murders. Only $80M is assigned for alcohol addiction and treatment.

    Aggression is caused by alcohol.
    Third of 10 things the alcohol industry doesn’t want to talk about. It does appear the industry is most worried about cost. As for labour not wanting to talk why did National postpone alcohol reform. If JK is so worried about kids frying their brains its time he put more priority into settling this issue. Profit is directly proportional to consumption and most profit is made from heavy binge drinkers.
    I guess another cost you won’t count is Zac Guildford. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10765719
    Is his career ended. Are Izzie and Cory next? Rugby fans like me count this unwritten loss. That is why I abhor your advert blatantly ensuring the price remain cheap relative to income so that young people will keep being addicted. Alcohol is a class B drug highly addictive and with a low threshold to kill that is ignored as it is so ubiquitous. Some parties are taking this on board. Others have their heads in the sand putting the mantra of personal responsibility first.

    Even scarier is Tim Groser and the TPPA negotiations could allow the alcohol industry to sue in future if price is regulated. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1111/S00282/labour-commits-to-regulating-alcohol-as-govt-negotiates-tppa.htm Profit before health again. What are your thoughts on that stupidity? Are you happy giving alcohol companies immunity with a trade deal by a short sighted government who put profit first ahead of the health of its people?
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1111/S00283/open-letter-to-tim-groser-on-alcohol-and-tppa.htm

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  118. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Stevenz (5) Says:
    November 13th, 2011 at 11:42 am

    …a price increase will lower their consumption…

    No, it won’t. An addict will simply make more sacrifices elsewhere in order to fund their drug. Only moderate drinkers who do not purchase compulsively will reduce their consumption whilst the most vulnerable families will be put in an even worse position by alcoholic parents who sacrifice even more necessities for their smokes and booze.

    Do not presume that people will respond rationally to a change in government policy. Alcoholism is inherently irrational which is why this idea is fundamentally flawed. It’s as stupid as thinking the war on drugs works because the price of drugs is high. It simply creates more problems for very marginal benefits.

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  119. Manolo (13,518 comments) says:

    Is Stevenz the wowser Doug Sellman using a new nickname?

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  120. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    AG (1,204) Says:
    November 12th, 2011 at 2:43 pm


    Research by the groups found that the alcopops tax, introduced in 2008, pushed the sale of the popular drinks down by more than 30 per cent in a year.

    So, you know … there is a real world that allows us to test hypothesis, rather than just rely on our preconcieved notions.

    Few would deny that price increases would reduce demand, but the question is where that demand would be reduced. Would it be reduced amongst those drinkers who cause most of the problems or would it be reduced amongst those who are more responsible?

    The problem is not simply the amount of demand for alcohol, it is the irresponsible use of it. Reducing demand is not that much of a benefit if it is reduced amongst those who are responsible and who do not impose their drinking habits on others.

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  121. Stevenz (9 comments) says:

    We have some pseudo research scientists among us. Theories are to be tested. Already done by Baber et al. Do some research. Sir Geoffrey Palmer researched it and provided his evidence. Stop theorising and do some reading. Hundreds of cases overseas showed increasing prices reduced consumption. Common sense economics 101 anyway. That is why big liquor are against this.

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  122. Stevenz (9 comments) says:

    Is Manolo big alcohol in disguise. Give us your unenlightened opinion instead of supposition. I could be Phil goff for all you know. Reasoned opinion please.

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  123. burt (8,201 comments) says:

    Stevenz

    From the website; http://yourshout.co.nz/distilling.html

    Still Spirits Turbo Air Still – $295 Great for when space is at a premium, e.g. campers,motorhomes etc. Air cooled so it uses no water for cooling – ideal for times when water shortages are a problem. Distillation takes just two hours and produces enough alcohol to make a 1 litre bottle. Match it with the Air Still Companion Pack ($79.90)and you have all the equipment you need to make your own spirits ‘on the run’

    How we gonna tax that ? Same with home brew, sales of how brew kit will go through the roof…

    Taxed sales may go down, but we have no idea of actual consumption once we move a higher percentage to home made and black market. Quality will also go down and that has additional cost both monetary and social. But back to putting the price up, the simple economics, wasn’t it to reduce consumption and associated health and social costs not just compound them and hide them from measurement.

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  124. burt (8,201 comments) says:

    Stevenz

    No, I’m not the voice of big alcohol, I’m the voice of realism that binge drinkers will just binge on something else if we make alcohol more expensive – Are A&E clinics ready for that, whatever it may be?

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  125. laworder (288 comments) says:

    While I have no doubt that some alcoholics will simply switch to home brewing/ distilling, a lot are disorganised and incapable of planning, and those are the ones that a price increase would affect most. Perhaps a tax could also be levied on home brew kits etc but I can see problems with that too.

    Whatever we do one thing that will definitely be needed is to make treatment far easier to get, and massively increase treatment facility capacity. Why on earth the briliant facilities like Hamner Springs, Rotoroa and others were closed is beyond me, we should have expanded them and built more like them. I seem to recall those closures happened under a Labour Government, although I’m open to correction on that. In some cases compulsion will need to exercised on those that refuse treatment – people in the grip of an addiction to alcohol are incapable of making rational choices for themselves or those around them.

    If you ask me, Stevenz is right in saying that the external costs are much higher than what some studies have found, largely because a lot of the external costs arent easily measured. An example from real life; the partner of an alcoholic ends up taking time off work and develops depression as a direct result of issues arising from the alcoholic’s behaviour. The costs of treatment and the lost work hours are not going to be easily measured, but they are very real, and considerable.

    Regards
    Peter J
    Webmaster for http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  126. Kimble (4,426 comments) says:

    AG

    Seeing as we’re dealing at the Econ 101 level, I trust you will allow empirical evidence into the debate.

    Empirical evidence has no place in Econ 101. There is no way you can properly interpret the empirical evidence without a firm understanding of theory. And it is dangerous to rely on real world stats without understanding its inherent limitations.

    So, you know … there is a real world that allows us to test hypothesis, rather than just rely on our preconcieved notions.

    And this proves my point. An Econ 101 student may think that the real world is a reliable lab within which you can conduct economic experiments. It takes more understanding of Econ than a 101 student usually possesses to be disabused of this notion.

    Economics is not about what is seen. The true value of economics as a field of study is that it provides a very good framework for considering the unseen.

    How good was the measurement in this “test”? How was the control group established? How many factors were controlled for in the study? You need to know all of these things to be even begin assuming that the results of the “test” are applicable to NZ, and this policy in particular.

    If you have no theory to back up your empirical “results” then you are engaging in nothing more than wishful thinking; you hope that what was experienced in NSW was due to the price changes AND you hope that the same thing would happen in NZ.

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  127. Kimble (4,426 comments) says:

    If you ask me, Stevenz is right in saying that the external costs are much higher than what some studies have found, largely because a lot of the external costs arent easily measured.

    This is quite possible, though I would say that many studies into the costs of alcohol over reach in what they call a “cost”, so are more likely to overstate the costs than understate them. To believe otherwise would require you to also believe that the authors of the studies using BS costs have left legitimate costs uncounted, in favour of the BS ones.

    An example from real life; the partner of an alcoholic ends up taking time off work and develops depression as a direct result of issues arising from the alcoholic’s behaviour.

    That is more of an internal cost, and I think it IS included in many studies on the costs of alcohol. The costs of an alcoholic destroying their own family generally fall on that individual and their family. You could stretch and include as an external cost the crimes children from broken homes commit, I suppose, but linking that to alcohol (as opposed to all the other things that simply coincide with alcohol consumption) would be tricky.

    The problem with one study I have in mind in particular, was that they included these things (private costs) but didnt include any private benefits. Those benefits are vital if you purpose is to engage in any genuine cost-benefit analysis.

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  128. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    laworder (84) Says:
    November 13th, 2011 at 11:43 pm


    An example from real life; the partner of an alcoholic ends up taking time off work and develops depression as a direct result of issues arising from the alcoholic’s behaviour. The costs of treatment and the lost work hours are not going to be easily measured, but they are very real, and considerable.

    Further to what Kimble was just saying, in terms of taxation what relevance do these costs have? Why should the government get money because an alcoholic takes time off work?

    Taxation should only be used to cover the external costs which are represented as expenses by government, such as health care. The issue of lost work hours is a matter between employee and employer and the way to resolve such an issue is to ensure that each party has appropriate rights. For instance the employer has the right to dismiss an employee who misses work due to alcoholism. If that worker then becomes a burden on the state then that cost should form part of the calculation of what drinkers owe to “society”. And as Kimble has already mentioned, these costs are already considered in research on the external costs of alcohol, even when such lost work hours do not necessarily translate to a burden on the state.

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  129. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Stevenz (7) Says:
    November 13th, 2011 at 9:58 pm


    Hundreds of cases overseas showed increasing prices reduced consumption. Common sense economics 101 anyway.

    You’re avoiding the issue. The issue is not consumption. The primary issue is external costs and that depends upon where consumption is reduced. If it is reduced amongst the responsible drinkers while the most irresponsible are not dissuaded then it’s hard to see how the external costs will be reduced. Indeed as alcoholic parents forego their children’s necessities for higher priced booze it’s conceivable that the external costs would increase even though demand overall is reduced.

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  130. Stevenz (9 comments) says:

    Burt
    Good points which I agree with. I home brewed myself.. beer It is something that cannot be denied. Increase the price too much and the natural instinct is to find an alternative cheaper source. That is why politicians often jump in and suggest $2/ drink when that may be far too much . The harm will only be reduced with a multipronged attack. Illegal importing home brewing and black market will be difficult to prevent. The aim has never been to have prohibition ,Just correct the excessive marketing and advertising that normalises a chemical as glamorous and sexy. Can our kids grow up and not be influenced by the ubiquitous alcohol? National and Act don’t admit there is a problem. They don’t refer to it as a drug. cannabis is a drug. Alcohol is just something you drink with food. yeah right. Zac Guildford is a classic case of how alcohol is marketed at young rugby players. How Zac can cope in that environment will require lots of help. My own son played for a local club and at 19 he was forced to drink until he vomited. Drinks after every game. Nowhere is the drinking culture more pervasive than in rugby. Do my kids binge yes but isn’t that the norm with our young ones. Did I exhibit a good role model. Never been drunk and enjoy a beer and wine.

    Weihana the 700,000 heavy drinkers aren’t all alcoholics but yes I agree what you say could easily happen. Usually the woman walks with the kids at that point though as happened with my future daughter in law. Alcoholism has far reaching tentacles doesn’t it.
    Manolo
    Three years ago I went to Sellman’s road show on the 10 things the alcohol industry doesn’t want you to know. If I sound like him it isn’t surprising. Not a wowzer> I’m not an expert an ordinary bloke with a scientific background who listens to the evidence of experts. Palmer did that in his report. Essentially Babor et al are the experts and they include Prof Sally Casswell NZ
    Google it to death and do some reading guys. It isn’t all intuitive. Like they predicted education would work but it failed hopelessly- most counter-intuitive. So much so that it was amazing a coroner reported on a Kings student’s death recently and said they need to educate the kids and parents. Well evidence shows that doesn’t work and coroner’s aren’t experts in all fields. It still surprises me.
    Babor et al “Alcohol no ordinary commodity”
    http://www.add-resources.org/professor-thomas-babor-effective-and-evidence-base-interventions-to-reduce-alcohol-related-harm.4549470-76584.html
    On this page there is a link to a video and powerpoint presentation of the key points. This is the evidence of over 300 studies of what was effective. No surpris: price was the best with reservations as Burt has suggested. You can disagree with it but they can’t bs like you and me :)
    Thanks DPF for highlighting an issue that needs discussion even though I find you advert appallingly one sided.

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