Labour have proposed setting minimum prices on alcohol to try and reduce harmful consumption. There may not be much time to adequately inform the public and discuss this. A large price increase would have widespread effects far beyond simply changing consumption levels.
It would appear that Labour have the support of Green, Maori and Mana parties.
National appear to be against.
Prime Minister John Key appeared opposed to the proposal, saying some people would switch to the lowest quality alcohol rather than drink any less volume.
“I am not convinced minimum pricing will do that much,” he said.
Act are against: Minimum alcohol price penalises everyone:
ACT Leader John Banks today urged Opposition Parties to dismiss Labour’s Alcohol Law Reform Bill SOP which would introduce a provision for a minimum price for alcohol.
“Labour’s SOP is far too broad. Rather than target those who drink excessively, it punishes the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who drink responsibly,” Mr Banks said.
New Zealand First’s position is unknown?
United Future’s Peter Dunne may have the deciding vote.
Dunne has previously stated he was unconvinced a minimum pricing regime would have the desired affect.
However, as Associate Health Minister he won’t have a “defined position” until he receives advice from the department, a spokesman said.
So it could come down to Ministry of Health advice.
Labour’s Justice Spokesperson Charles Chauvel drafted the Supplementary Order Paper relating to minimum pricing because the Government failed to pick-up a Law Commission recommendation on the issue when it drafted the Alcohol Law Reform Bill.
“As a community, we need to get real about what encourages people to binge drink. We know that just like tobacco, the price of alcohol is a big influence on how often and how much we drink. It’s time to get serious about the pricing issue if we’re going to make any significant impact on our binge drinking culture.
“Advertising, availability, and price are all highly significant factors that need to be tackled if this culture change is to come about. National’s Bill does very little to address these factors.
“The minimum pricing amendment is very simple. It will give the Minister power to set a minimum price per unit of alcohol. This power, if properly exercised, will put an end to $6 bottles of wine being sold in supermarkets.
What isn’t said is how much it will put prices up. A small increase won’t make much if any difference. A large increase could have many consequences besides reducing consumption.
I think there needs to be much more information, investigation and discussion.
If Labour’s minimum alcohol price amendment depends on my vote, it is doomed.
So if Act and National are against it then it’s doomed.