Labour in retreat

The Herald reports:

  MP Charles Chauvel is calling for a minimum price on , but there is no consensus among his party about what that price should be.

This is trying to have your cake and eat it to. It is like a party announcing their taxation policy and saying “Oh we favour taxes going up, but we won’t tell you to how much”. A policy with no detail on what they want the minimum price to be, is not credible.

Before the 2011 election, Labour MP argued in the House for a $2 minimum price per standard drink in Parliament. She said this would bump up the price of the $6 bottles of wine which young women “pre-loaded on”, while not affecting a $15 bottle of wine.

National has argued that this would mean no bottle of wine – which usually contained 7 to 8 standard drinks – could be bought for less than $16.

Ms Dalziel’s office yesterday said that the MP used the $2 threshold as an example, and it was not Labour policy. It was up to the Justice Minister to decide on the threshold, and if minimum pricing was voted on in the House, Labour MPs would vote individually on it.

Crap.  Here are her exact words:

we should set a minimum price that would prevent wine from being sold for less than $2 for a standard drink

Does that sound like an example? It is a clear statement of what the minimum price should be.

This was not a one off. Labour’s spokesperson has been very consistent. At the first reading in 2010 she also said:

The priority is to increase the price of dirt-cheap alcohol, and that is why I am arguing for minimum pricing. I refer to the $5.99 bottles of wine. At that price, three young women can buy five bottles of wine to preload on, rather than buy two bottles of very good wine for the same price. The ones who buy five bottles of $5.99 wine are the most price-sensitive buyers. They are the ones who will change their behaviour when prices go up. Do not let anyone tell us that it will do otherwise. That is the reason for a minimum price per standard drink. The $2 per minimum standard drink price would not touch a $15 bottle of wine. That would stay the same price, but it would slightly more than double the price of the $5.99 bottle of wine.

It would touch the $15 bottle of wine. My Central Otago Pinot Noir is 14%, which for 750mls is 8.3 standard drinks. That would mean a minimum price of $16.60. I generally avoid the $6 bottles of wines, but you get many good wines for $11 or so, and Lianne is advocating they increase 50% in price.

I hope that MPs in Parliament will not let Labour get away with their policy of saying we believe in minimum pricing, we want to pass a law to enable it, but we will not tell you what the minimum price should be. Labour should be honest and tell New Zealanders what they think the minimum price should be.

Maybe it is even more than $2 a standard drink?

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