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Anomalies With Youth-Targetted Drinks

Statement from the Ministerial Action Group on Alcohol and Drugs

Anomalies With Youth-Targetted Drinks

Some alcoholic drinks manufacturers seemed to be using anomalies in the way excise taxes are charged to target young drinkers, Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor said today.

Mr O'Connor said he was concerned young drinkers were now drinking more alcohol more often than before.

"I am worried about the impact this behaviour is having on young people's health. Parents and others in the community are increasingly concerned about the cheap high alcohol milk-based drinks their children are buying.

"Manufacturers of some alcohol products have deliberately taken advantage of the excise tax regime to develop high-alcohol, low-price drinks targeted at young people."

Mr O'Connor said he had asked officials to investigate Australian legislation, which provides for certain classes of drinks, such as some ready-mixed drinks, to be banned.

"I believe people would support measures to make no-alcohol or low-alcohol drinks preferred over high-alcohol drinks. This could mean making price more of a barrier for young people who want access to alcohol."

Mr O'Connor said that Brian Easton's report "Taxing the Harm: Modernising Alcohol Excise Duties" was timely and the Government would carefully consider its recommendations.

The Ministerial Action Group on Alcohol and Drugs is responsible for the Government's campaign to minimize harm caused by alcohol and illicit drug use. The plan will focus on reducing demand, controlling supply and limiting problems associated with alcohol and drug use. The Group is Associate Health Minister, Jim Anderton; Justice Minister, Phil Goff; Education Associate Minister, Lianne Dalziel; Police Minister, George Hawkins; Youth Affairs Minister, John Tamihere; Customs Minister Rick Barker; and Health Associate Minister Damien O'Connor.


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