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MP's comments on alcohol harm reduction disappoint

19 May 2005

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

National MP's comments on alcohol harm reduction very disappointing

Progressive MP Matt Robson, whose Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill is due to be debated in Parliament in early June, says he is disappointed and surprised by comments made to Kapiti Observer by the departing National MP, Roger Sowry.

"Some National and ACT MPs may disagree with the Bill's proposals to strengthen rules on liquor advertising and the supply of liquor to minors, not to mention raising the minimum alcohol purchasing age. That is fair enough.

"But I really don't think it is fair to misrepresent the intention of the Bill in order to condemn it. Mr Sowry surely knows that all around New Zealand, city and regional councils are being confronted with the serious challenge of what to do about very under-age binge drinking, and the associated public health and public order problems.

"In Auckland, for example, our city council has introduced liquor bans in several suburbs which I think is a totally legitimate community response to tackle a serious social challenge.

“And the Otaki Youth Forum of community representatives, parents and police, is actually meeting today to discuss how they can work together to turn the tide against seriously drunk teenagers gatecrashing parties and terrorising neighbourhoods late at night.

"Mr Sowry does the National Party, and indeed all parliamentarians, no credit when he tells his local paper that my legislation would somehow 'stop a parent giving their child a glass of wine at a wedding.' Mr Sowry’s statement is both wrong and silly.

“In effect Mr Sowry is telling the public health experts and the parents in his community that the proposed legislation is ‘silly’.

"It is these sorts of comment that trivialise a serious public health and order issue, not the legislation I am promoting. I would just respectfully urge Mr. Sowry to actually read my Bill, and then to vote according to the interests of the people that he is in Parliament to represent," the Progressive MP said.


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