Wowsers wail about Alcohol Reform Bill - but there are five major changes

David Farrar

The Alcohol Reform Bill passed its third and final reading yesterday.

There’s actually a lot of significant changes in it, even though the wowsers are wailing that it doesn’t bring in minimum pricing, so a bottle of wine would cost at least $16.

Lianne Dalziel minimum pricing amendment was supported by most of Labour, all the Greens and NZ First. So expect the price of a drink to skyrocket under a change of government.

There is a glimmer of hope though – Shearer, Mallard, Hipkins, Woods, Cosgrove and Faafoi voted against it.

So what are the major law changes:

  • local alcohol policies can be set determining maximum trading hours in their area and limiting the location of licensed premises. This sensibly recognises that the needs of Wainuiomata may be different to Courtenay Place.
  • stronger rules about the types of stores eligible to sell alcohol and restricting supermarkets and grocery stores to displaying alcohol in a single area.
  • express consent from parents or guardians before supplying alcohol to a minor
  • new liquor licensing criteria, making licences harder to get and easier to lose
  • stronger controls on alcohol advertising and promotion

I think the most important change is that it is now an offence to supply alcohol to minors, without parental consent.

Previously it was only an offence to sell it.

Political commentator David Farrar posts at Kiwiblog.

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How are parents supposed to indicate permission? Text, note, verbally? All easy to fake. This is an ambiguous piece of tripe and will contribute nothing to resolving liquor issues in NZ.

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Sorry, it still fails to address the fundamental problem around the pricing of alcohol, and contiunes to blame the licenced premises / operators for the problem.

Remember why we have licensed premises. So there is some level of control and supervision over alcohol consumption. Now on the assumption that it is a responsible line of thinking, the focus needs to be on getting people back into licenced premises, off the street, out of cars, and into the premise at the of start their night of revelry, not to arrive loaded up, leggless looking for 'action ' (of what ever kind) at midnight. the current mode of night life.

What is the solution? Pricing. Until liquor went into supermarkets, corner dairies and the like, generally the price on premise was 66% of the cost off premise at the wholesaler = incentive to drink on premise.
Now, as a publican, it is cheaper to buy at Pak'nSave than from the brewery = incentive to drink anywhere but the licensed premise.

That's the problem. Those of us in the industry know that but, alas, the people in power can't grasp that simple truth.

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I'm glad miminum price didn't go through. Why should the average responsible adult drinker be punished with exorbitant prices because of the abuse of alcohol by others? An $8 bottle of wine should not be $16. People like me would stop buying so much and the addicts would start stealing to get their fix. Price control will not work, just punish the innocent and increase the crime rate.

The previous poster talks about being in the industry and that we can't grasp the simple truth. The smple truth is that those in the industry are simply grapsy and greedy and are out for every price hike they can get. They hate competitive prices because it is taking way their profits. Oh, boo hoo.

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I have travelled extensively in the last 20 years and in the countries where alcohol is not the problem it seems to be in NZ the laws are much more relaxed.

There are multiple places where alcohol can be bought and consumed within the community.

They are organised so that family can socialise together at the same establishment, where people of all ages are together, albeit the adults may be in one corner having a wine, with their teenage children perhaps in another having a coffee or soft drink.

It is places like New Zealand where the people with limited social experience try to control things and tend to ensure that these establishments are kept out of the community so people have to drive to socialise (little public transport)

That means adults tend to be encouraged to go to one place and younger ones to another.

We have had a history of applying regulatory approaches of various types that have pushed our culture in a direction away from what is the social and responsible norm of other countries. These so-called wowse's have been, and continue to be, the problem - not the solution.

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This bill is a failure for the people but just what the industry wanted. Five major changes - yeah, right! 80% agree it is too weak. National successfully neutered the Law Commission's reform with a diluted, insipid cocktail of ineffective tinkering changes. One hour reduced access here, parents responsible there and alcohol industry still in charge of advertising and marketing a class B equivalent drug. But what do we expect from right-wing bloggers who support taxpayers' funds being wasted on fixing the problems inflicted by an unbridled industry whose only concern is maximising profit and the consequential harm?

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Why denigrate wowsers who sensibly drink non-carcinogenic beverages that don't wreck your liver, brain and heart muscle. Had any heart arrythmias lately as you drink that cheap $8 wine, David, or is $16 your preference? Bloated bloggers need to be responsible for their weight and save the taxpayer and should stick to the evidence. The five majors were: price, advertising and sponsorship, access, blood alcohol and age. So far, access has been the only one admittedly that has been partially addressed. With only one ingredient it is a bland, insipid attempt to offload responsibility from the drug marketers to the consumers. How can Collins think putting alcohol in one corner of a supermarket changes anything? How can one hour off bars at 4-5am make inroads to the problem? How can any parent really know what happens to their child even if no written permission is given? How will they prosecute that? Just imagine the social outcast their child would become if they took on their kid's mate's mother in the courts? You really think that would work?

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