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Change to the drinking culture on the horizon


Alcohol Action NZ sees a change to the drinking culture in New Zealand on the horizon
5th annual conference in Wellington tomorrow

Sir Geoffrey Palmer will open the 5th annual Alcohol Action NZ conference tomorrow. The conference is called Action on Alcohol: Change is Coming (see attached programme booklet). Sir Geoffrey’s speech (also attached) is titled “Alcohol Policy in New Zealand: Unfinished Business” and reviews the National-led government’s failure to fix the alcohol laws in the five years since the comprehensive Law Commission review of the liquor laws he led during 2009/2010.

The conference is also hosting the visits of three of the most eminent alcohol scientists in Australia: Professor Kypros Kypri (New South Wales), Dr Peter Miller (Victoria) and Professor Mike Daube (Western Australia). Each will draw out a specific aspect of the theme, Change is Coming:

Professor Kypri – how alcohol change in society comes through focusing on the system rather than individuals
Dr Peter Miller – how culture change requires governmental leadership using evidence-based policy change
Professor Daube – will provide a challenging and informative presentation on how people can get involved in facilitating the required changes.

Professor Jennie Connor, New Zealand’s pre-eminent public health physician working in the alcohol area, will be giving two presentations: firstly, a stocktake on what has been achieved so far (including what hasn’t been achieved so far); and providing a call for action for the priorities for change from here.

Rebecca Williams, Director of Alcohol Healthwatch, will be presenting on the progress (or otherwise) of Local Alcohol Plans.

On the horizon is the probable passing of the Land Transport Amendment Bill reducing the legal limit for adult driving from 0.08 to 0.05. This is the first major alcohol reform for many years in New Zealand, and although more than one proper reform like this one is necessary to bring about positive change to New Zealand’s damaging drinking culture, this will represent a first step forward.


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