Media Releases

Government lacks courage in liquor law reforms

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) believes the government’s package of liquor law reforms focuses too much on young people, while ignoring the impact of alcohol abuse on those aged over 20.

NZNO president Nano Tunnicliff says that clearly there is a culture of heavy among young people and the proposed measures go some way to minimising harm in that age group. “But the reality is that the vast majority of heavy drinkers are aged over 20 and there is nothing in this package which addresses that issue,” she said.

Tunnicliff says nurses will be disappointed the government has not had the courage to take on the liquor industry. “Raising the price and curbing the marketing and advertising of alcohol are essential measures to reduce alcohol harm but the government has not had the courage to tackle those issues in its reform package. The Law Commission’s report was very clear in its recommendations on alcohol price, marketing and advertising. Sadly the government has not taken up those recommendations.”

NZNO is a member of Alcohol Action, a coalition of groups concerned about New Zealand’s drinking culture. It advocates the 5+ solution which includes raising prices, raising the drinking age, reducing the availability of alcohol, reducing the marketing of alcohol, increasing drink-driving measures and increasing treatment options for heavy drinkers.

“Alcohol law reform must tackle all these issues but the government has chosen to ignore reforms that would confront the power of the liquor industry and address the burden on frontline health services that alcohol abuse causes. Such reforms would also lead to substantial savings and increased productivity in the health sector,” Tunnicliff said.


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