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Health Vs Commercial Gain

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Alcohol Healthwatch.jpg
Alcohol Healthwatch.jpg

3 November 2008 - The recent purchase of Liquorland by supermarket interests (Foodstuffs) demonstrates how ineffective our controls on alcohol are and just how vulnerable community health is to commercial interests.

Alcohol Healthwatch director Rebecca Williams says both of the big players in the supermarket arena have been vying for the DB Breweries owned liquor chain with the primary purpose of getting their hands on the lucrative spirit and ready-to-drink (RTD) market. The Sale of Liquor Act allows supermarkets to sell beer, wine and mead only however, supermarket interests have been trying to circumvent this for some time.

Williams is particularly concerned about the effect of supermarket type pricing strategies on the spirits and RTD market. She says RTDs are already driving consumption up and they are predominantly consumed by the young, particularly young women. Price competition and liquor advertising is already very aggressive.

The last thing we need is for RTDs to be cheaper than they already are and for people to be encouraged to consume higher strength liquor through cheaper prices on spirits.

Williams says the Law Commission Review on liquor underway needs to ensure it takes these commercial influences into account and the impact they have on alcohol-related harm. One option would be to require health impact assessment on all major commercial decisions relating to alcohol. Other options include introducing a more effective taxation regime to control price and a minimum price strategy.

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