A 20 year old’s suggestions on the Alcohol Reform Bill

I posted on Your Dunedin: The Woodhouse challenge – influence his alcohol purchase age vote… Andrew White has responded and has agreed for this to be posted:

I am under 20 years of age and I would like to express my staunch disapproval of any attempt to increase the alcohol purchase age. I also oppose a split of the alcohol purchase age. I disagree with many other parts of the Alcohol Reform Bill too. I urge you to vote “no” to any alcohol purchase age increase.

The status quo of being 18 years old to purchase alcohol from bars and liquor stores should be retained. I have no disagreement with tackling the issue of alcohol abuse; that is a valid and important aim. However what the Alcohol Reform Bill would do would be a knee jerk reaction and excessive.

Government should not legislate to discriminate against an entire age group based on the problems and actions of some in that group. By raising the age to purchase alcohol from bars and liquor stores or just the latter the majority of responsible 18 and 19 year olds will be subjected to collective punishment. 120,000 adult New Zealanders aged 18 and 19 should not be made scapegoats for New Zealand’s alcohol issues.

We allow 18 year olds to fight and die for our country, get married, and vote. Furthermore the New Zealand Medical Association has said there is no clinical evidence to suggest that alcohol was more harmful to an 18-year-old than a 20-year-old.

My way to tackle the issue of alcohol abuse is to make alcohol education part of the National Curriculum so all students in state schools will specifically learn about alcohol. Right now one of the learning areas in the National Curriculum is Health and Physical Education which teaches students about mental health, sexuality education, food and nutrition, body care and physical safety, sport studies, and outdoor education.

There is no specific emphasis put on alcohol education. If students all over New Zealand were given an entire lesson on alcohol when they start high school it will give them the information they need so that when they start consuming alcohol they will know the risks associated with it and it may well lead to a change in the alcohol culture in New Zealand.

Once alcohol education is added to the National Curriculum and been in place for at least 10 years I think New Zealand could see a reduction in alcohol abuse in young people and in 20-30 years we could see a reduction in alcohol abuse in older age groups. If you support public schooling then you support education. Education should be given a chance to prove itself with regards to tackling alcohol abuse.

Other parts of the Alcohol Reform Bill that I do not agree with are the national trading hours for liquor stores and bars, and if a “lock in” policy is part of the bill I do not agree with that also. There are legitimate reasons for people visiting these places at any time of the day. Not everyone works 9am-5pm.

There are late afternoon/night shift workers who purchase alcohol from liquor stores or bars after work and students who attend university during the day and work at night also purchase alcohol afterwards.

There are obese people in New Zealand, yet fast food outlets and supermarkets are allowed to be open 24 hours a day. There are problem gamblers in New Zealand, yet the TAB and casinos are allowed to be open 24 hours a day.

These are all issues that will determine my vote in the next election. Please do not support this bill in its current form.

Just to add something further. If you do have a problem with liquor stores and bars opening 24/7 maybe a compromise could be struck where there could be a limit on the amount of liquor each customer can purchase during certain hours -between 4am-8am 2 packs of beer and 2 wine bottles from a liquor store -3 purchases from a bar.

The limit could apply to all ages or just those under 20. These places could also be required to install CCTV cameras outside their premises and sign up to a private security firm who will do drive by patrols between 12am-4am to report any trouble being caused outside the premises.

It would be easy for the authorities to enforce and for liquor stores and bars to enforce. For example, if a person went into a liquor store at 4am and bought the maximum amount of alcohol(which could be 2 packs of beer and 2 bottles of wine) and that same person came again at 6am I think it’s highly likely that the liquor store owner will remember serving that person just 2 hours before. And the police could go undercover and test if liquor store owners are following the law.

At a bar, if a person purchased alcohol at 4am then at 4.30am then again at 5am that would be 3 seperate times a person approached the person serving the alcohol so I think it would be easy for the person serving to remember if a person has come up to the counter 3 times and the police could go undercover to test this too. I know people could just go to a different liquor store or bar but some people may not want to go to the extra hassle and they will still be limited in the amount of alcohol they can purchase from different liquor stores and bars.

And there is already a law making it illegal for bars to serve people who are drunk. If liquor store and bar owners can not afford these extra security requirements then they could be required by law to close at a certain time.

Maori Party on the Alcohol Reform Bill

Te Ururoa Flavell (MP for Waiariki) and the Maori Party are proposing significant amendments to the Alcohol Reform Bill to address alcohol related harm.

Alcohol harm drives Maori Party to propose significant changes to Bill

The Māori Party is proposing significant amendments to address alcohol related harm by making changes to the Alcohol Reform Bill including the restrictions around proximity of liquor stores to schools and tightening up the criteria around trading hours.

“Alcohol is killing up to a thousand New Zealanders each year, and in one third of all crimes the offender had consumed alcohol prior to the offence,” said Te Ururoa Flavell, MP for Waiariki.

“If these statistics were not enough, then one only needs to look at our young people to know we must do all we can to save lives and keep our families from further harm. Nearly one-fifth of all deaths for males and one-tenth of all deaths for females aged between 20 and 24 are attributable to alcohol misuse,” he adds.

“No matter how you look at it, alcohol harm is a huge issue and it is sapping our communities of their greatest potential.”

“The Māori Party has been speaking out about the ongoing concerns relating to easy access to alcohol. We supported the efforts of the local community in opposing the application of a Cannons Creek  liquor outlet for a licence to sell liquor directly opposite school gates  and have been concerned that in Whanganui alone there have been four stores open up in just over a year.”

“The Maori Party believes that more can be done to prevent the harm which is associated with alcohol misuse and abuse in too many of our homes”.

“Our changes will ensure that alcohol cannot be bought anywhere between the hours of 3am – 10am and includes a ‘lockdown period’ from 1am – 3am for on-licence retailers”

“Our amendments also include provision for the Minister of Health to set a minimum price per unit of alcohol.”

“Our bill will limit the visibility of alcohol advertising and sponsorship in an effort to de-normalise alcohol. This includes grocery stores, where alcohol will need to be kept out of public view.”

“To address the high number of liquor outlets, we will have a sinking lid policy within territorial authorities so that over time we will gradually lessen the number of outlets. To ensure that smaller towns are not left without an outlet, the sinking lid only applies if there is another liquor store within 5km.”

“Finally, we need to give more community input into tackling alcohol harm. We have seen some heroic action taken by local communities right throughout the country, in trying to put in place protections around the sale and purchase of alcohol.  Our bill will make the proximity to a school a criteria for determining liquor licences and ensure Maori representation is included in the membership of the local committees who determine liquor licences.”

Maori Party SOP details:

  • Make the proximity to a school a criteria for determining liquor licenses
  • Local committees to expand by one to accommodate a mana whenua representative
  • Limit the visibility of advertising/product in grocery stores and grocery shops (so they are not visible in the store, but they are able to be sold)
  • Eliminate advertising and sponsorship of alcohol except inside on-licence premises
  • Sinking lid policy on off-licence retailers (liquor stores) within territorial authorities (replacement of existing stores is the only exception and only if there is not another liquor store within 5km)
  • Trading hours: Changed to 10am – 10pm for off-site, 10am – 3am for on-licence premises with a one-way door restriction period from 1am – 3am
  • Minimum price per unit of alcohol sold (which will be set by Minister of Health) – this follows the model proposed in Scotland

Supplementary Order Paper No 81:

Alcohol Reform Bill
Proposed amendments
Te Ururoa Flavell, in Committee, to move the following amendments:

New heading and new clause 43A
After clause 43 (line 20 on page 51), insert:
Minimum price of alcohol

43A Minimum price of alcohol
(1) Alcohol must not be sold or supplied at a price below its minimum
price on any licensed premises.

(2) Where alcohol is supplied together with other products or services
for a single price, subparagraph (1) applies as if the
alcohol were supplied on its own for that price.

(3) The minimum price of alcohol is to be calculated according to
the following formula:
MPU x S x V x 100
MPU is the minimum price per unit (expressed as a decimal)
S is the strength of the alcohol (expressed as a decimal)
V is the volume of alcohol in litres (expressed as a decimal)

(4) The Governor-General may from time to time, on the recommendation
of the Minister, specify by Order in Council the
minimum price per unit for the purposes of subparagraph (3).

(5) For the purposes of subparagraph (3), where—
(a) the alcohol is contained in a bottle or other container;
(b) the bottle of other container is marked or labelled in
accordance with the relevant labelling provisions, the
strength is taken to be the alcoholic strength by volume
as indicated by the mark or label.

(6) The Governor-General may specify by Order in Council, on
the recommendation of the Minister, the enactments which are
relevant labelling provisions for the purposes of subparagraph (5).

The Green Party say “We support all the measures in Te Ururoa’s SOP but haven’t yet looked at what Labour proposes.” (Kevin Hague as spokesperson).

Labour’s loose SOP on minimum prices

Charles Chauvel clarified things a bit on Labour’s SOP on the Alcohol reform Bill but confirmed the open ended ability of ‘the Minister’ to set an unrestricted mimimum price.

A minimum pricing regime could simply target that product, say by providing for a ceiling or cap of say $12 per bottle of wine so that other beverages were not affected. That would still double the price of the cheapest existing wine which can be bought at the moment for $6. Or it could be more complex.

So ‘it could be double’.

Obviously it would need not to create unintended incentives to purchase other products in lieu of cheap wine on which to preload, or to penalize responsible drinkers.

I don’t know how doubling the price of bottles of cheaper wine would not create all sorts of ‘unintended’ incentives and disincentives.

And any increase would penalise responsible drinkers. This sounds like trying to reassure responsible drinkers to their faces – while whacking them in the back pocket.

All this SOP would do is allow price to go into the mix.

With wide ministerial powers, no limitations, and unknown intentions.

Alcohol abuse is a complex and difficult problem to address, but much more effort needs to aim at the problems rather than catching everyone in the crossfire.

Ref: https://yournz.org/2012/07/05/charles-chauvel-alcohol-reform-bil/