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Alcohol Reform Bill not to pass before election

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Government is maintaining its impotent response to New Zealand's heavy drinking culture and not even passing the Alcohol Reform Bill before the election, says Alcohol Action.

"The situation is worse than we originally thought and it now looks as if the Government will leave the Alcohol Reform Bill still hanging at the end of this current Parliament," says Alcohol Action spokesperson Prof Doug Sellman.

"After three years of submissions to the Law Commission, public mobilisation, a Select Committee and deliberate delays, the Government now pushes the Alcohol Reform Bill up the Parliamentary Order Paper in order to have the 2nd Reading of the Bill quickly, but it is not prepared to pass it so at least the wheels of alcohol reform can begin turning."

"It has been clear during this long process that the Government isn't yet committed to effective law reform. They are now acting to limit the political fall-out from wasting a golden opportunity by two main lines of spin: firstly, by making it look as if they are doing something; and secondly, by using the alcohol industry's PR line that change in the heavy drinking culture will come through individuals taking more responsibility for themselves."

"The Government has now at least acknowledged what Alcohol Action and many others have been saying," added Professor Jennie Connor, "that there is a serious alcohol problem in NZ communities, and that measures to control pricing, accessibility, alcohol marketing, and drink-driving are going to be needed."

"The problem is they are not yet prepared to actually do anything substantial. We need them to put the interests of ordinary New Zealanders ahead of the interests of the alcohol industry. They have done this with tobacco companies to reduce smoking and they can do the same to reduce heavy drinking".

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