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Sherry Tax argument goes flat

Simon Power MP National Party Youth Affairs Spokesman

14 August 2003

Sherry Tax argument goes flat

The Government argument behind the recent 'sherry tax' is turning sour for Jim Anderton, says National Party Youth Affairs spokesman Simon Power.

"When Mr Anderton brought the tax increases to Parliament he told the country it was designed to 'promote safer communities by discouraging underage teenagers and children from misusing alcohol'.

"But it it's now clear the tax is not delivering," Mr Power says.

"Reports this morning say a three-week police blitz on underage drinkers in Wellington has led to more than 80 arrests.

"In the most shocking incident a nine year old girl was found by police who suspect had been drinking vodka," Mr Power says.

"Officers now say there's been a drop in petty crime as a result of their underage drinking crackdown.

"That's evidence that the only way to beat youth drinking is with education and proper policing," Mr Power says.

"National warned Mr Anderton that the 'sherry tax' would fall wide of its target and even the Hospitality Association says youth drinkers have been turning to 'higher octane' spirits to get 'more bang for their buck'.

"If I was being charitable I might say the Government has made an embarrassing mistake, that the older sherry and port drinkers are paying for.

"But it's now becoming increasingly clear that this new excise tax was a blatant revenue grab, with little or nothing to do with youth drinking," Mr Power says.


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