ACT on Palmer Report

Great release from Rodney and Heather:

“The Law Commission’s reported proposals on alcohol are frankly ludicrous”, ACT Deputy Leader Heather Roy said today.

“They cannot possibly pass the government’s tests for good regulatory and tax policy.”

“It seems the Commission wants to take New Zealand back to the days of punitive excise taxation and nanny state regulation of shop trading hours, closing times for bars and the purchase age.

“We have been there and done that with alcohol policy and it didn’t work,” Mrs Roy said.

Since liberalisation that commenced in 1989, consumption per head has declined significantly and there has been no increase in hazardous drinking. The vast majority of New Zealanders have a responsible attitude to alcohol.

“The tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries, and New Zealanders at large, have hugely benefited from less repressive policies on alcohol over the past 20 years. Imagine overseas visitors coming to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup and finding it closed.”

Any law changes will be passed before the RWC. It will be interesting to see how that contrasts with plans for the RWC to be hosted by 4 million kiwis, and venues like party central.

ACT Leader Rodney Hide said “The Government needs strategies that target the small percentage of drinkers who cause the problems. This could include better enforcement of existing laws, greater penalties for drunken and disorderly behaviour, banning orders and public naming and shaming of serious offenders, stricter welfare policies for alcohol and drug abusers and less access to services such as ACC.”

This is the key. I’ll support measures that target problem drinkers, rather than those that target everyone who likes to have a drink.

As one example, I think introducing a drinking age of 18 (with an exception for direct parental supervision) would do far more in targeting the problem, than raising the purchase age to 20, making it illegal for a 19 year odl to buy a bottle of wine.

At present it is totally legal for 14 year olds to get pissed on spirits, if done on private property.

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