News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Govt policy based on an unpublished Masters’ project

Media Release – 15th July 2012

Government policy based on an unpublished Masters’ thesis project, at odds with the international peer-reviewed literature

Hon Judith Collins explained on TV1’s Close Up programme that the basis of her government’s policy of not including anything about price in the upcoming Alcohol Reform Bill is research conducted at the AUT.

In reference to raising the price of alcohol she quoted the findings of an AUT Masters’ thesis project stating: “The NZ research [the AUT research] has shown it is unlikely to make a scrap of difference to young binge drinkers”.

“This was really quite an extraordinary declaration by the Minister” said Professor Doug Sellman, medical spokesperson for Alcohol Action NZ.

“Government policy should be based on the best peer-reviewed international evidence available not unpublished Masters’ projects.”

“This research was not even primarily about pricing and drinking behaviour and was not measuring actual drinking behaviour but rather investigated intention to drink which can be quite different. This is why real life drinking behaviour is the standard in this area of research.”

“But this is not a criticism of the student or the supervisors. Students are learning how to do research during Masters’ projects, and are not expected to necessarily advance knowledge. The criticism is directed at the Minister and/or her advisors, who appear to be determined to remain in denial about the central place of pricing in reducing alcohol-related harm”.

“The international evidence is clear, National experts agree, the Law Commission recommended, the PM’s Scientific Advisor advises, and the majority of the public support, a rise in the price of alcohol in order to change the widespread heavy drinking culture that is doing so much damage to New Zealand, not only to drinkers themselves but to innocent others.”

“But Hon Judith Collins, backed by her Prime Minister, and cheered on by the alcohol industry continues to resist one of the most obvious things to do to begin to change NZ’s damaging drinking culture”.

Professor Jennie Connor, Head of Preventive and Social Medicine at Otago University is also dismayed at the misinformation being propagated about alcohol pricing.

“From the day the Law Commission’s report was released the Prime Minister has been saying that increasing the price of alcohol “doesn’t work”. IF the aim is to reduce hazardous drinking and the harm it causes, then there is no doubt that it works” she said.

“The usual approach is to increase excise tax, which has been shown consistently to reduce consumption and reduce to harm. The economic analysis for the Law Commission calculated that a 10% rise in alcohol prices would result in a net fall of $80 million NZD per year in health and healthcare costs alone”

“However, there are advantages of having a minimum unit price of alcohol along with increases in tax.”
“It has been established that hazardous drinkers spend less per unit of alcohol than others, and drinkers compensate for price increases by shifting to cheaper drinks. In the United States, the heaviest 10% of drinkers spend approximately $0.78 per drink compared with $4.75 per drink for the lightest 50% of drinkers.”

“Simulation studies in the UK and the US have demonstrated that targeting the price of the cheapest drinks has the most effect in reducing consumption”.

“There is strong evidence that raising the price of alcohol is the single most effective and easily enacted strategy to change heavy drinkers’ behaviour and thereby reduce alcohol-related harm to everyone”.


Attached: Time_to_deal_with_cheap_alcohol.pdf

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Worldly And Unworldly

"Being Magdalene" by Fleur Beale The situations shown in this youth novel are shocking, scary, and very moving as we experience Magdalene’s struggle to be a perfect girl as defined by the cruel and unreasonable leader of “The Children of the Faith”, as she moves reluctantly into young womanhood. More>>

Whistle Stop: Netball NZ To Implement New INF Rules

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) will implement the new Official Rules of Netball, as set down by the International Netball Federation (INF), from January 1, 2016. Key changes include the elimination of whistle following a goal, amendments to injury time and changes to setting a penalty. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Waiata Aroha

Vaughan Rapatahana on Chappy by Patricia Grace: With this eminently readable novel Patricia Grace returns to the full-length fiction stage after a hiatus of ten years. More>>

'Ithaca' At Q Theatre: Introducing NZ's World Class Cirque Troupe

NZ’s very own cirque troupe is set to become a household name with the premier of its adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey having secured a key season in Auckland. More>>

Music Awards: The Tuis Are Broody This Year

Topping off a sensationally eventful year both at home and internationally, Nelson born brother-sister duo Broods has taken home four Tuis from this year’s 50th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>


Sport: Richie McCaw Retires From Rugby

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby. The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time. More>>


John McBeth: On Jonah Lomu

For many New Zealanders, the enormity of Jonah Lomu's reputation will have come as a surprise... His deeds were watched and enthused over by movie stars and musicians, politicians and superstars from other codes. He reached into the lives and homes of millions and mixed with famous people most New Zealanders would only have read about. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news