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Dunne on smoking, drinking and gambling


Dunne on smoking, drinking and gambling

United Future New Zealand leader, Peter Dunne, delivered a wide-ranging speech this afternoon to the annual conference of the Hospitality Association covering the topical issues of underage drinking, smoking in bars and restaurants and the current review of pokie machines.

“The problem of excessive underage drinking will not be countered simply by raising the drinking age from 18 to 20,” he said. “I believe a long-term solution lies in changing social attitudes so that parents and relatives take a much more responsible attitude towards supplying teenagers with alcohol.

“Similarly, off-licence suppliers such as supermarkets must enforce the current laws much more rigorously so that young people do not have such ready access to booze.”

Commenting on the current gaming review, Mr Dunne said this was a difficult area with conflicting goals. “On the one hand, we all want to combat irresponsible and compulsive gambling. But this must be weighed against respecting the rights of ordinary gamblers who enjoy a mild flutter. Also, if we cut gambling revenue, one unhappy consequence is that communities are deprived of a valuable source of income for developing community projects.”

“As for the question of banning smoking in bars and restaurants,” said Mr Dunne, “I believe this is not a question of whether you are anti-smoking or not, this is an issue of combating secondary smoke inhalation, in other words, ensuring people have a right to a healthy, clean environment.

“Accordingly, I think we should be working on setting suitable air quality standards that apply everywhere, rather than narrowly focussing on cigarette smoking,” he said.

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