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Progressive MP endorses Alcohol Action Plan

28 February 2005

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Progressive MP endorses Drug Foundation’s Alcohol Action Plan

Progressive MP Matt Robson is endorsing the Alcohol Action Plan released by the New Zealand Drug Foundation today, calling it “an important contribution to helping society seriously reduce the harm that alcohol is causing, particularly to vulnerable young people.”

The independent foundation unveiled its action plan at the inaugural Alcohol Policy Roundable held at Parliament.

The plan calls for raising the alcohol purchasing age back to twenty, increasing excise duties on alcoholic beverages, strengthening the Sale of Liquor Act to curb under-age drinking, improving the effectiveness of alcoholic sales’ enforcement and improving treatment services.

It also asks political parties to treat these issues seriously as public health policy issues, rather than so-called ‘conscience’ votes, and calls for a ban on television and radio alcohol advertising.

“In 2003, Progressive was one of the four parties that supported changing excise duties to encourage price-sensitive young people to switch away from high alcohol-content (14%-23%) spirit-based drinks in favour of less-potent, lower alcohol-content drinks instead.

The change has worked as it was intended. “Progressive also agrees, however, that further strong measures are needed and we are campaigning as a party in this year's election to have the next coalition agreement empower Parliament as a whole to re-examine the drinking age.

“I hope that prior to the election, my Private Member’s Bill will be selected from the ballot so Parliament can vote on its proposals to raise the minimum alcohol purchasing age back to twenty, to strength provisions relating to the supply of liquor to minors and to strengthen liquor advertising law to better empower people with information on the health implications of alcohol consumption,” Matt Robson said.

“Within the coalition government’s Budget process, Progressive has also over the years secured new funding for treatment services for young people afflicted by substance abuse and the Labour-Progressive government has said compulsory alcohol safety labelling will be introduced if a proposed voluntary industry-administered scheme isn’t effective enough.

ENDS

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