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Anderton slams Hospitality Association

Anderton slams Hospitality Association

Associate Minister of Health Jim Anderton has slammed the Hospitality Association chief executive Bruce Robertson’s claims that the new tariffs levied on light spirits have resulted in younger drinkers buying higher octane spirits.

“It seems to me that Mr Robertson and the Hospitality Association only advocate action based on anecdotal evidence when it suits them.

“I am surprised that they put such weight on anecdotal evidence in the case of the recent increase in light spirits’ alcohol content, for example, when they consistently deny the importance of anecdotal evidence in relation to increased teenage drinking and the lowering of the drinking age.”

“As Chair of the Ministerial Action Group on Drug and Alcohol policy I know that our decisions are based on more than just anecdotal evidence. For example, I personally believe that the decision to lower the drinking age was wrong and I believe that the anecdotal evidence supports me. Our Ministerial Committee, however, wants our policy decisions to be based on the evidence and the jury is still out on the facts surrounding the outcome of Parliament’s decision to lower the drinking age.

“The decision to increase the excise on light spirits to curb the binge drinking of young New Zealanders was a decision based on evidence. The first report on the impact of lowering the drinking age which was released late last year was, however, inconclusive. The Committee expects the next report to be clearer and we will be guided by it.

“If the Hospitality Association wants us to make our decisions on anecdotal evidence then they will make my day and the day of the many, many New Zealanders who complain to me about some elements of the liquor industry which they see as intent on targeting young New Zealanders through advertising and price to drink more and more.

“Mr Robertson just has to pick up the phone to let me know whether he wants alcohol policy based on real or anecdotal evidence,’ said Jim Anderton.

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