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Concern liquor industry may target holiday kids

Concern at some in liquor industry could target kids during school holidays

Jim Anderton is appalled at a liquor outlet’s current promotion of cheap ‘mudshakes’ made from vodka with caramel and chocolate flavoured milk as a ‘new release’ in the first week of the school holidays.

“The same liquor outlet is selling very cheap 1125 ml bottles of bourbon-style alcohol,” said Jim Anderton.

“It is highly likely that young people are going to be particularly interested in a flavoured milk, ‘vodka mudshake’.

“I am particularly concerned that these promotions coincide with the school holidays.

“The drinking age of 18, and our current alcohol laws require co-operation with the liquor industry to protect children. All members of the liquor industry have to take underage drinking seriously and accept their important role as a supplier of a potentially dangerous product in young hands.

"The evidence of harm to young people, as well as to society at large, of the combination of drugs and alcohol is extremely strong. This is particularly shown in the experience of the Youth Drug Court currently being trialled in Christchurch.

"As part of my responsibilities as the Minister leading the government's ministerial committee on the National Drug Policy, I believe we need a fully co-ordinated and integrated action plan in all relevant areas, especially where they affect young people," Jim Anderton said.

My colleague the Associate Minister of Health Damien O'Connor is also concerned that these products may breach National Guidelines on naming, packaging and labeling of alcoholic drinks and he will meet shortly with ALAC to discuss ongoing concerns with ‘alcopop’ drinks. One issue on the table will be changes to excise duties to counter high alcohol drinks, especially if they appear to be aimed at young people.

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