Justice Minister Judith Collins is investigating a minimum price for alcohol.
"I’ve got the Ministry of Justice looking at a minimum price regime - where it’s in place and does it make the difference that people tell me it would?," Ms Collins said on TV One's Q+A this morning.
"But I can also point out to you that the hospitality industry supports a minimum price because it would drive more people into drinking in their establishments rather than drinking at home," she added.
50% tax increase?
The minister also opened the door to future alcohol excise tax increases.
Asked if she would like to see more tax, the minister replied, "Well, it’s something that we’ll look at in the future."
When interviewer Shane Taurima raised a Law Commission recommendation that the government increase the excise tax on alcohol by 50%, Mr Collins said, "Well, that’s something we might do in the future."
"That’s something we might do in the future," she told interviewer Shane Taurima.
"But I also think that you need to look at the fact that we are not trying to actually stop all alcohol sales in this country. This is not like tobacco," she added.
Ms Collins said work was also going on to access health warnings on bottles of alcohol.
Asked if she supported such warnings, the minister responded, "Well, I think it’s not an unreasonable call. I just bear in mind that often these warnings can easily be overlooked because the person who’s pouring the drink isn’t necessarily the person who’s drinking the drink."
Okay with TV ads
The minister was also open to health warnings on alcohol ads and said she would establish an expert panel to offer advice. But she was not opposed to alcohol ads on TV.
"How many 18-year-olds are sitting round watching our mainstream TV stations and getting their ads off them?" she asked, adding: "Actually, the fact is it’s good marketing. But it’s not necessarily driving people to alcohol. But I’ve never drunk a Tui product. Having said that, I do enjoy their ads. I think they’re funny."
She said she was also okay with alcohol sponsorship of concerts, sports and clubs, but not with promotions targeting teens.
Will vote for split age
Ms Collins said she would vote for a split 18-20 drinking age, which she predicted would pass narrowly.
It would be “more efficient” to have party votes on alcohol purchase age, rather than conscience vote, she said.
RAW DATA: Watch Judith Collins on Q+A
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