Is Labour going to whack up alcohol price and the purchase age?

August 14th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Labour’s policy says:

implementing the recommendations from the Law Commission Report on

The Law Commission recommended

  • Increasing the purchase age to 20
  • A 50% increase in the excise tax on alcohol

So one can only presume that Labour is committed to moving the purchase age back to 20, and to a 50% tax hike on beer, wine and spirits. I thought this deserved some publicity.

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70 Responses to “Is Labour going to whack up alcohol price and the purchase age?”

  1. Manolo (14,031 comments) says:

    Doug Sellman, supreme wowser, must be in seventh heaven. Socialist Labour has secured his vote.

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  2. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    I’m absolutely certain that increasing the tax on alcohol won’t increase black market sales and encourage home brew such that the overall effect is that the tax take reduces overall. Prohibition works right, it’s been proven over and over – just like socialism.

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  3. Rich Prick (1,720 comments) says:

    The Waitakere Man will be pleased.

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  4. redqueen (582 comments) says:

    Be careful, DPF, you could be accused of hacking into Labour’s website and accessing information not intended for public knowledge… ;)

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  5. EAD (1,286 comments) says:

    They’re as bad as each other. Smoking, blood alcohol level, drinking taxes, this sh*t won’t end until the Politicians control every single aspect of our lives.

    Like the previous article on cultural awareness, all these bastards want to do is control how you think, eat, drink, sleep and they want to know what you’re doing all of the time. Nothing is off limits for our permanent political class.

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  6. ShawnLH (5,661 comments) says:

    I have no problem with raising the purchasing age.

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  7. soundhill1 (269 comments) says:

    Alcohol is a main recreation now we are densifying accommodation in cities and taking away their parking spaces. I think it is good not to entice youngsters into dependence. Can’t help thinking of Robin Williams and was it the danger in trying to withdraw from alcohol and maybe the unpredictable effects of anti-depressant drugs used to “help”? How do we balance company profit against human sufferig?

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  8. EAD (1,286 comments) says:

    This crap started with Geoff Palmer and really got going in 1999 when Clark came to power.

    Ever since then Politicians have felt that it is their divine right to rule over us rather than to serve us. Time to kick the bums out.

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  9. Rich Prick (1,720 comments) says:

    redqueen, indeed, only the Hager could confuse browsing a web-page with “hacking”.

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  10. Tauhei Notts (1,746 comments) says:

    The reason for the poor turnout at elections is that young people do not realise that in a democracy the most important thing a person can do is vote.
    Drinking piss is NOT the most important thing a person can do in a democracy.
    To suggest that people are old enough and wise enough to vote, but that those same 18 and 19 year olds are not old enough to drink grog; that is the height of stupidity.
    Leave the drinking and voting ages at “18”.

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  11. insider (1,028 comments) says:

    Sponsored by DB? Joke!

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  12. ShawnLH (5,661 comments) says:

    “How do we balance company profit against human sufferig?”

    I think the issue of balance hit’s the nail on the head. Prohibition does not work, but neither does open slather. Getting the right balance is not easy, and, buy and large, the drinking age aside, I think National has hit the right balance.

    There is far too much evidence that teenagers cannot deal with alcohol, that the teenage brain is just not equipped to do so. On that basis I think the drinking age should be raised. But raising the price of alcohol would solve nothing.

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  13. soundhill1 (269 comments) says:

    burt: “Prohibition works right, it’s been proven over and over” Though there were no records kept of alcohol consumption in USA during prohibition, the consumption when measured just after it was half that measured just before it. It did not get back up again till the time of the Vietnam war. I sometimes wonder how USA would have fared in WWII if prohibition had not occurred in the 1920s.

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  14. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    ShawnLH, if these measures are intended to address alcohol abuse, explain why the correlation appears to be that countries with laxer alcohol regulation have fewer alcohol induced problems, and why after the decrease in NZ’s drinking age the level of problem drinking in the youth population has reduced? I can understand that as we all get older we’re more inclined to be upset at young people having fun, and we get more distant from our own past as young people having fun. But that’s not a reason to ignore the measured statistics.

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  15. mikenmild (11,662 comments) says:

    ‘But raising the price of alcohol would solve nothing’
    Likely to lower demand overall, but I’m not sure that it is a particularly good way to target alcohol abuse.

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  16. ShawnLH (5,661 comments) says:

    “explain why the correlation appears to be that countries with laxer alcohol regulation have fewer alcohol induced problems, and why after the decrease in NZ’s drinking age the level of problem drinking in the youth population has reduced?”

    That’s not what I’m talking about. The issue of teen drinking for me is not about about alcohol abuse, but whether or not the teenage brain is harmed by drinking any amount in the first place.

    “I can understand that as we all get older we’re more inclined to be upset at young people having fun,”

    Ugh. I could care less about teens having fun, I do care about whether or not they are harming their growth and development.

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  17. wreck1080 (3,956 comments) says:

    @ead:: so , i’d suppose you’d support a lowering of the drinking age since any arbitrary age limit is government control.

    Just think, you could have 7 year olds heading into the liquor king and ordering bottles of vodka.

    Personally I think 20 is a good age limit.

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  18. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    Sorry liberal brethren…as far as I am concerned they can put it back to 21…Recent research showing conclusively that the brain is not fully developed until age 25 shows that our forefathers had something when they considered “the age of majority” to be 21..

    It is not as if a 21 years purchase age is unique…half the US states have 21 as the legal limit

    Soundhill: Welcome to the blog where it is very difficult to get banned…I don’t think your figures are right…anything I have read says alcohol consumption actually INCREASED during the wildly unsuccessful prohibition experiment…what is your source?

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  19. alwyn (438 comments) says:

    soundhill1says

    ” Though there were no records kept of alcohol consumption in USA during prohibition, the consumption when measured just after it was half that measured just before it.”

    That may be so but I think you should look at the economic situation at the time. Prohibition was in place from 1920 to 1933. In 1920 the unemployment rate was about 5%, in 1933 it was about 24%. Unemployment stayed very high until about 1941.
    Perhaps people simply couldn’t afford to drink after the reintroduction of booze sales.

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  20. questions (208 comments) says:

    This post: Brought to you by Carrick Graham.

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  21. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    soundhill1

    Though there were no records kept of alcohol consumption in USA during prohibition

    Oh, right. So there was no consumption – just like nobody in NZ consumes marijuana, cocaine, meth or LSD !!!

    FFS – If you want to make the gangs rich – ban a substance people like consuming and stick your dim-bulb head in the sand pretending you have a valid policy. Oh and pat yourself on the back for protecting people from themselves Nanny boy !

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  22. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    alwyn

    NO – The reduced sales post prohibition show that it reduced consumption. No other answer !

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  23. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ David Garrett (6,580 comments) says:
    August 14th, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Well said – totally agree.

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  24. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    Yeah, but most of Europe has pretty much no drinking age, and kids drink a glass of wine with lunch from a relatively young age. I guess it’s possible all that brain softening is the cause of the socialism over there, but I’m not aware of any study that conclusively shows it to be bad.

    To be clear, the fact that the brain is still developing until 25 does not lead to the conclusion that therefore alcohol is bad for people under 25 in a way that’s not true of those over 25. It may be that the brain is developing but that alcohol has no impact. It may be that alcohol helps the developing brain. It may be that the brain keeps developing all your life (neuro-plasticity theory would suggest it does).

    Even assuming all those things were true, and alcohol were bad for developing brains, it doesn’t therefore follow that we should attempt to prohibit young people from drinking. That’s never worked before, and evidence would suggest when we had that policy young people tended to binge drink a lot more, whereas now that they can drink they tend to drink more frequently but less in a sitting. Given that alcohol is generally held to have beneficial effects in low doses (the legendary 2 standard drinks a day), it’s entirely possible that the problem (if one exists) is the dose not whether you drink at all. So a policy that lowers binge drinking would be beneficial.

    (Sorry, just feel like I’ve stumbled into the grumpy old men corner of kiwiblog, in which we decide to stop today’s children from doing what we did when we were young on the basis that we know better. Completely forgetting that when we were young we ignored our parents, and there’s absolutely no chance that doing this will work)

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  25. unaha-closp (1,179 comments) says:

    PaulL,

    (Sorry, just feel like I’ve stumbled into the grumpy old men corner of kiwiblog, in which we decide to stop today’s children from doing what we did when we were young on the basis that we know better. Completely forgetting that when we were young we ignored our parents, and there’s absolutely no chance that doing this will work)

    Nonsense, what you have stumbled upon is a glorious collection of old soaks that merely want the yoofs of today to experience the same binge consumption culture we had. We want the age to be raised again so the young people binge drink more. We want their only access to alcohol to be attending off premises unmonitored venues. We want it made clear that any alcohol they have needs to be consumed as soon as possible (before it is taken away). The good old days.

    We’ve found a rare Labour party policy we agree with.

    So stuff your lowering the drinking age, reducing alcohol harm, statistically factual malarkey.

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  26. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    Paul: that post is certainly like the Curate’s egg…There is no arguing with at least the first part of your last para…we are (or at least I am) a rather ” grumpy old man seeking to stop our children doing what we did on the basis that we know better..”

    But you seemingly miss at least part of the point…When I began drinking in pubs the purchase age was 20 (having been reduced from 21 when 6 o’clock closing was abolished) and I was 16 or 17…If my memory serves, as long as you weren’t a midget or covered in acne, and you could waltz in with a bit of a swagger even though your heart was doing 120, you got in, and you got served. (Although it was always safer for my mate Mike Lloyd to do the buying…he was bigger than us)

    I am prepared to agree that checking of ages is a lot more careful nowadays…the last time I went “on the town” I remember noticing no-one in the two or three bars I visited who looked markedly underage…

    You say we are trying to influence policy because we “think we know better”, well the fact is we DO know better about a lot of things…scientific knowledge is forever increasing – one of the things you have noted is “neuro-plasticity”…until less than 20 years ago the accepted wisdom was that every time you lost 22 million neurons from getting pissed you never got them back…we now know that is not true…We all used to think that marijuana was a totally harmless drug, based on the fact that people smoking it got mellow rather than aggressive, and you didn’t get a hangover…I was an enthusiastic believer of that doctrine myself…and yes, I most definitely DID inhale…we now know much better…Ask any shrink…

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  27. goldnkiwi (1,513 comments) says:

    21? Might as well be 25 since the brain is still developing past 21. So put up voting age, joining the military and driving licences, ability to marry, all the same since there are cognitive factors at play.

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  28. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    Indeed true DG. But from all that, it doesn’t follow that the right policy prescription is to increase the alcohol purchase age. What I can say for sure is that it will annoy those people 18-20, because it is restricting one of their freedoms. Before we take a freedom off someone we should have a clear description of what we’re trying to achieve, and why our policy would achieve that.

    I hear you saying that you are worried that alcohol might have an effect on the developing mind. I haven’t seen you say that it definitely does have such an impact. So you’re suggesting this on the precautionary principle? There are lots of policies I could suggest on the precautionary principle.

    Next, the proposed intervention would be raising the drinking age. What impact would we expect that to have? Well, we know what the impact was when we lowered it (almost nil, if anything a slight improvement/reduction in youth binge drinking). So, on the facts we have today, the proposed intervention would have no beneficial impact, but would curtail freedoms for a portion of our population.

    You used to be an ACT MP. Did ACT not have some principles by which policies like this would have been judged? I certainly hoped you did when I voted for you!!

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  29. goldnkiwi (1,513 comments) says:

    Nigel Latta seems to have covered some of this quite well the other night. I wonder what he would have become if he hadn’t drunk so much at Uni.

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  30. ShawnLH (5,661 comments) says:

    “Might as well be 25 since the brain is still developing past 21. So put up voting age”

    Well I agree with those two. I don’t think people under 25 should vote.

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  31. ShawnLH (5,661 comments) says:

    “Sorry liberal brethren…as far as I am concerned they can put it back to 21…Recent research showing conclusively that the brain is not fully developed until age 25 shows that our forefathers had something when they considered “the age of majority” to be 21..”

    Well said David. I totally agree.

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  32. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    @goldnkiwi: I didn’t see that. I think I heard of a documentary in which he misrepresented the NZ equality stats to claim that the top 1% were getting richer and the rest of NZ poorer, or some such. But I don’t see what that has to do with drinking ages? Was there another documentary that I also missed? Was it any more well researched?

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  33. unaha-closp (1,179 comments) says:

    And obviously we’ll need to ban anyone over the age of 70 from drinking and/or voting – brain function.

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  34. soundhill1 (269 comments) says:

    @David Garrett “Soundhill: …what is your source?”
    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/e1920/consumption.htm Somewhere around 1910 after which prohibition gradually moved across the USA the consumption of alcohol was according to that 2.6 gallons per person per annum. After prohibition it was more like 1 gallon per person per annum. Then there was a more or less gradual rise back to 2.5 at the time of the Vietnam war though with a bit of a blip rise after WWII.

    @alwyn “That may be so but I think you should look at the economic situation at the time. Prohibition was in place from 1920 to 1933. In 1920 the unemployment rate was about 5%, in 1933 it was about 24%. Unemployment stayed very high until about 1941.
    Perhaps people simply couldn’t afford to drink after the reintroduction of booze sales.”
    We would need a wealth table to compare to my consumption table.

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  35. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    Perhaps people simply didn’t tell the truth about their consumption because the illegal sources were still selling alcohol at a price lower than the taxed and legal outlets.

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  36. Harriet (5,118 comments) says:

    “……and I was 16 or 17…If my memory serves, as long as you weren’t a midget or covered in acne, and you could waltz in with a bit of a swagger even though your heart was doing 120, you got in, and you got served…..”

    With respect DG, you were probably only served beer. As that is all that I was served at 16-17 every friday and saturday in the early 80’s. By much older bar staff than they have today. They stopped serving us when they thought we had had enough.

    And you probably tried to hold your piss in the men’s public bar so as to be seen as a seasoned drinker. Not a loser that spewed up or passed out —- like the young now behave.

    The age to work in a pub should be 30. Local police came in and never bothered us – due mostly to that enviroment. We never bothered them.

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  37. Longknives (4,858 comments) says:

    Yet all the kids are voting left..bizarre!
    When I was at Varsity I sure as heck wouldn’t vote for a party that was going to hike the price of booze..

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  38. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    Harriet

    And you probably tried to hold your piss in the men’s public bar so as to be seen as a seasoned drinker. Not a loser that spewed up or passed out —- like the young now behave.

    I’m close to 50 now and I must have had very forward thinking friends and associates. Pretty much everyone I knew who drank at all back then would at some stage get drunk spew and/or pass out. Funny it’s a new thing that only happened with the lowering of the drinking age.

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  39. Harriet (5,118 comments) says:

    burt#

    Sure, we did get a bit pissy and sometimes spewed. But spewing beer is mostly a matter of volume that you get over almost immediatly, and where you can still control most of your actions reasonably ok. Spirits is an entirely different matter.

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  40. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    Harriet: actually no…that was the era (1975 ish) where bands played in all the lounge bars of the booze barns, and you could get jugs of Bacardi and coke…the drink du jour of us young pretenders at sophistication… but you’re half right, most of the boys drank beer…I hated the taste of the stuff until I went to Europe in 1976 and discovered there was a whole world other than Lion Brown…

    And burt is right: we all spewed a few times back then…that tended to happen when you drank Bacardi and Coke as if it WAS beer!

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  41. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    You’re quite right Harriet. Kids these days, it’s a disgrace. I hear they’ve been telling people they invented sex too.

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  42. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    Harriet

    When I was 17-20 we drank whatever we could get our hands on. Gimlet (pre prepared vodka and lime) was bang for buck much cheaper than beer. Ironically, even back then going to the tinny house was the cheapest option overall. 4 of us drinking beer was about $8-$10 each, Gimlet worked out at about $7 each and weed at about $5.

    Perfect example of prohibition missing the mark.

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  43. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    Southern Comfort and L&P. Jack Daniels and coke. Never liked the taste of either, but it was what we could get. Beer when we could get it.

    I’m reasonably confident in saying that a portion of the excess drinking we did was simply because we weren’t allowed to. The remaining portion was because we were young and stupid and embarrassed of ourselves, so once you had a few drinks you could blame everything on that. I suspect somewhat the same as today. Although from what I’ve seen of my nieces, they seem much more confident in themselves and less likely to drink to “be cool.” But who knows what they do when their uncle isn’t around.

    Bottom line to me – young people drink. They do drugs too. They do whichever one is easier to get access to. If they can’t do it in a supervised environment, they’ll do it in an unsupervised environment. If it’s illegal then they’ll sneak out the back and scull it, if it’s legal they’ll perhaps carry it openly, drink it in a place we can see them, and have some level of oversight. Those are the choices. The one where they don’t drink isn’t a real option.

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  44. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    Oh, and don’t forget the classic – Bernadino Spew-Madly. ;-)

    ( Bernadino Spumante )

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  45. soundhill1 (269 comments) says:

    @burt “Perhaps people simply didn’t tell the truth about their consumption because the illegal sources were still selling alcohol at a price lower than the taxed and legal outlets”. Yes it would be very likely some bootlegging still went on after prohibition. But then you would have to explain a gradual and fairly smooth rise in correct reporting for 40 years. I imagine the figures are sales. Another way to estimate may be to look at social behaviour reports.

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  46. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    PaulL: Sorry, away jousting on another thread…IIRC correctly the booze age has always been a conscience vote…and ACT was – and probably still is – the only party that allows you to vote against the party line…the rule was you first had to tell caucus that you were going to do it and why…to save ambushes from the assholes who claim to be political journos these days I think..I remember split votes on a few things…the Wanganui gang patch Bill being a good example…I was able to persuade Rodders that it was sound idea, but not alas Sir Roger and the blonde bint…

    And your latest is also well said….no-one should be stupid enough to think excessive drinking by the young is ever going to stop…doesn’t stop me worrying about my beautiful daughter though, and what might happen to her when she finds – when she is inebriated- that all men are not gentlemen like her Dad…

    burt: Also well said…I don’t think anyone is arguing for prohibition are they??

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  47. Hamish_NZ (46 comments) says:

    What about a maximum drinking age? Seems only fair to me if someone wants to take it off the yoof then it should be taken of the elderly too. Make it 65 as the maximum drinking age. Can’t have the elderly with their reduced mobility and ease of injury increasing their risk of harm by indulging in a quiet tipple now can we. Think of the cost to the health system of all that elderly drinking!
    What do you mean it won’t happen. Oh that’s right anyone older than you is more intelligent and anyone younger is an idiot. And suggesting any changes for people over 65 is like killing a sacred cow :-D

    The purchase age should stay the same at 18 and their should be a split in the excise tax on alcohol to increase it on off licence purchases and decrease it in onlicences. Simple makes getting pissed at home more costly, and means more people drink supervised in licenced premises.
    Plus think of the economic benefits of such a policy.

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  48. Richard (870 comments) says:

    Labour need to keep this policy quiet. What would happen to their student vote?

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  49. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    @DG: yes, and I understand you worrying about your daughter. But sooner or later she’ll start drinking, and you can’t protect her forever. My point on the ACT principles was more about that a policy should actually have a clear intent, and a clear likelihood of achieving that intent.

    My current read is that your intent is “my daughter doesn’t get into trouble” and your preferred policy to achieve that is raising the drinking age. I don’t think your intent makes much sense (so strike one there, and I wasn’t overly convinced by the previous intent that young people’s brain’s are susceptible so we should protect them). I also don’t think the policy achieves the stated intent. Surely even if you were conscience voting different to party position, you’d be expected to at least have a clear explanation of what you were seeking to achieve, and why the policy would achieve that?

    Sorry I’m hung up on this, but there’s a long distance between “the gummint should do something” and “the government has a clear policy that will have a meaningful chance of improving the situation I’m trying to improve, having due consideration of the likely costs and unintended effects.” The reason we have so much government doing stupid stuff that doesn’t work is because of woolly thinking. I worry that that’s what you’re doing here.

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  50. Rightandleft (670 comments) says:

    The fact about the brain developing until your 25 is only partly true as it averages men and women. Most females finish brain development by age 22 but men often take to their late twenties and can be as old as their early 30s before the brain is fully developed, with the areas controlling impulsive behaviour last to take hold. So 20 or 21 really are just as arbitrary ages as 18. The 21 age is based mainly on physical development rather than mentality. Since we are choosing a random age we might as well be consistent so it makes sense that drinking age is the same as voting age.

    Oh and it is actually 21 in every US state because the federal government passed a law in 1984 which denied federal highway funding to any states with lower drinking ages after a campaign by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. In fact their campaign was based on faulty information. In NZ the youth drink driving rates have only declined in recent years despite our lower drinking age.

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  51. jonar (21 comments) says:

    “But raising the price of alcohol would solve nothing.”

    Um…not according to actual research.

    https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/content/fixing-cost-alcohol

    “What does the evidence say?
    Most of the evidence regarding alcohol pricing is based on taxation policies. What this research shows is that, as prices rise, alcohol consumption tends to fall, and with it, the harms that stem from drinking. Higher alcohol prices can both reduce the amounts consumed by heavier drinkers – by about 1 percent for each percentage rise in price – and help prevent moderate drinkers becoming heavier drinkers. Teenagers are particularly sensitive to price, so raising the cost of alcohol can also help reduce teenage binge drinking. Comparisons of tax rates and prices across US states show increases of as little as 10 cents a drink are reflected in lower levels of domestic violence, sexually transmitted infections and road crashes.”

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  52. Manolo (14,031 comments) says:

    This policy will be supported by KB’s resident jihadist, 100% abstemious as any other devout supporter of the paedophile prophet.

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  53. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    jonar

    So let’s make alcohol more expensive so less young people buy it and then we’ll all shake our hades and wonder why the gangs are suddenly making more money selling weed to young people.

    The bottom line is this: People like drugs. They will get their chemical fix one way or another. Make them deal with organised criminals if you want to lose touch with what they are up to. Go for it – you know best.

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  54. jonar (21 comments) says:

    Burt

    Do you have research that shows that will happen?
    “you know best”…I’m just reporting what the research shows. Argue against it with research proving otherwise if you want.

    Also what’s proposed is raising the price by some amount that reduces harm. The rise in price certainly won’t mean it becomes more expensive than dope.

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  55. pilgrim33 (4 comments) says:

    Personally I’d go with 21 and 200% on sales to under 30 year olds.

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  56. lolitasbrother (746 comments) says:

    I would not mind at all if Farrar could call in Eric Crampton here.
    the pilgrim above is just that you can not be selective in legislation.
    Sometimes when the check out girl calls for confirmation of booze. the older ladies come close to examine.
    yes the supermarket cop, I say do you think I too old to drink , they say ‘it was your fucking Government which gave us super nanny. I maybe vote for dotcrim till nanny die.

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  57. goldnkiwi (1,513 comments) says:

    Well I for one would refuse to go off to war (potentially) at 18 if I wasn’t considered ‘old’ or ‘mature’ enough to drink etc.

    If I recall though when upping the age again was last mooted, that the military were to be exempt? Good way to get people to join the services.

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  58. lolitasbrother (746 comments) says:

    Readers may have noticed critically sharp comments by PaulL.

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  59. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    The studies don’t support that increasing the price only impacts heavy drinkers. In general moderate drinkers are more price sensitive than heavy drinkers, so increasing the price of alcohol has a large impact on “safe” drinkers in order to get a smaller impact on heavy drinkers. Worse, the effect on heavy drinkers appears to be that they reduce their drinking during the week, but still save up for binges. It doesn’t have anywhere near as much impact on their binge drinking.

    Increasing alcohol prices is a policy that makes sense if you don’t accept that people get any benefit from drinking alcohol. In that situation it’s entirely reasonable to punish all drinkers to get at a small number of problem drinkers. But if you accept that people do drink, if you accept that they do so because they enjoy it, and you accept that that enjoyment has a value, then you’re accepting a cost on one group of people to get a benefit in a different (and smaller) group of people.

    At that point you need to explain:
    1. Whether the benefit outweighs the cost. Having regard to heavy drinkers being less price sensitive, and having regard to the larger number of moderate drinkers.
    2. Whether there is any other policy that could get the desired benefit in a more targeted way, with better cost/benefits.

    I would hazard a guess that many of those with alcohol issues also have mental health problems and dependency issues with other substances. Perhaps we should do something about that directly rather than just jumping for the “let’s raise taxes” switch.

    It’s not that it overly impacts me, I don’t drink that much and I tend to drink somewhat expensive tipple. But I find it offensive that we’d like to make drinking expensive for poorer people who actually aren’t doing anything wrong – they have rights too. It probably wouldn’t impact my drinking at all, but for someone working on the minimum wage you’re effectively saying you don’t think they should be able to drink because the guy down the road from them drinks too much. Smacks too much of social engineering for my liking.

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  60. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    @lolitasbrother: sick and on holiday today. I have time to be annoyed. :-)

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  61. ShawnLH (5,661 comments) says:

    “Bernadino Spumante”

    UGH! Don’t remind me! :)

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  62. jonar (21 comments) says:

    PaulL

    http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/project/review-regulatory-framework-sale-and-supply-liquor?quicktabs_23=report

    You should probably read the law commissions report which covers a lot of what you’ve said (contradicting it though)

    “Faced with general price increases heavy drinkers have been shown to switch beverages or drinking locations for example. Some economists argue that this suggests pricing policies are an inefficient way of tackling harmful drinking.
    18.67 However Marsden Jacob points out that this argument fails to take into account the fact that heavy and young drinkers have been shown to favour cheap alcohol. Increases in excise rates “preferentially target low cost alcohol, which is the
    preferred purchase of heavy drinkers and the young. Thus, a uniform percentage increase in excise rates will result in non-uniform price increases with the biggest increase in prices occurring with the key problem groups, i.e., heavy drinkers
    and the young.”

    Also with this comment “you’re accepting a cost on one group of people to get a benefit in a different (and smaller) group of people” you’re ignoring the cost to society of our drinking.

    “In New Zealand the most recent assessment of the costs to government associated with alcohol-related harm were estimated at $1.2 billion in 2005/06,816with estimated tangible costs of $3.7 billion (amounts adjusted to reflect 2008 dollars).817 Other New Zealand estimates of the tangible costs (2005/06 dollars) are $4.4 billion (Easton 1997), $3.8 billion (Devlin 1997)818 and Treasury’s net external costs of $721 million (Barker 2002).”

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  63. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    Yes, and you should probably read Eric Cramptons analysis pointing out where they’ve used measures that are out of line with the literature, and even admitted that in the report.

    Try: http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.co.nz/2014/06/prohibitionist-electioneering.html or http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/alcohol-purchase-age.html

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  64. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    You can also get your teeth into this one. I read all them and looked at the statistics etc. I’m reasonably convinced that Eric’s right. In short the Law Commission have done a shonky review.

    http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.co.nz/2010/04/marsden-jacob-review-continued.html

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  65. PaulL (6,040 comments) says:

    A large part of the argument as I recollect it is that the report explicitly assumes that nobody gets any benefits from drinking, and that costs that should be internal be counted as costs to society (so if I go out drinking, have a hangover, and don’t go to work tomorrow, that’s treated as a cost to society instead of a cost to me).

    The problem with this logic is that I’d only go out drinking and fail to go to work tomorrow if I get more fun out of drinking than I get pain from the hangover and not going to work. That is to say, to me, that tradeoff was a net benefit – I was happy I did it. When they ignore my pleasure and count my lost day of work as a societal cost, of course they’re going to come up with a big cost to society.

    By that logic any time someone doesn’t go to work it’s a cost to society. Going skiing is a cost to society – I could have been working instead. Going to the movies is a cost to society. Any time I’m doing something other than working, that’s a cost to society.

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  66. kowtow (8,733 comments) says:

    The law Commission should fuck off andf mind their own business.

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  67. jonar (21 comments) says:

    “By that logic any time someone doesn’t go to work it’s a cost to society. Going skiing is a cost to society – I could have been working instead. Going to the movies is a cost to society. Any time I’m doing something other than working, that’s a cost to society.”

    Ignoring the fact that if you have a hang over you most likely take a sick day, if you go skiing you take annual leave.

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  68. jonar (21 comments) says:

    “The law Commission should fuck off and mind their own business.”

    It is minding it’s own business…

    http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/about
    “The Law Commission’s role is to promote the systematic review, reform and development of the law of New Zealand. As an independent Crown Entity, its functions are to review the law and make recommendations for improvement.”

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  69. redqueen (582 comments) says:

    @jonar

    There is a big difference between systematic review, reform, and development of the law and proposing things which are, by their very definition, of a political nature (such as the level of taxation or the age of purchase). If you look at other reviews, they tend to stick a bit more to the point…rather than galloping off into the territory of democratic debate (rather than law reform). That said, alcohol reform was a very silly area to engage the Law Commission in the first place, as it’s a highly political arena (best to leave them with reforming Incorporated Societies, the Law of Trusts, and the like).

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  70. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    jonar

    The rise in price certainly won’t mean it becomes more expensive than dope.

    Dude, it already is. Seriously you obviously don’t know what you are talking about. I don’t dispute increasing the cost of alcohol will reduce consumption – that’s obvious and we don’t need a study to understand that.

    The thing I’m trying to point out which you are clearly missing is if it cost me $30 to “get drunk” and $15 to get “off my trolley” on weed AND I’m tight on cash – which will I choose. Think long and hard and read a few studies on this if you need help understanding the reality.

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