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Get real on alcopops, says Maori Party.

Get real on alcopops, says Maori Party.

Tariana Turia, Health spokesperson

2 May 2008

The Maori Party agrees with Alcohol Healthwatch*, who warn that controls on alcohol simply have not worked and harm is increasing as a result.

“We are alarmed at the continuing rise in consumption of alcohol products designed to appeal to young people,” said Tariana Turia, health spokesperson for the Maori Party. “In a society where we have a legal purchase age but not a legal drinking age, it would seem as if there is nothing stopping our young people drinking,” she said.

"We believe that legislation is urgently required which targets alcopops, as one measure of a campaign to address the harm of a boozing culture. “The government and the National Party were very bold in banning party pills – now they must step up to the plate and protect young people from alcohol-related harm. “It is not realistic to rely on industry self-regulation of alcohol advertising aimed at young people, who are a major source of profit for the manufacturers and their shareholders. How socially responsible is that? ” she asked.

“We have to get real. If we are concerned about the future for our young people, we must do what we can to reduce early drinking and harmful drinking” said Mrs Turia.

“Alcoholic milkshakes and alcopops (spirit-based pre-mixed drinks) are both potent and popular, and advertising blatantly targets young and even underage drinkers”

”Alcohol appears to be readily available, to be highly visible and to be normalised in a permissive environment” said Mrs Turia.

“We know that Maori youth drinkers may be drinking less regularly than non-Maori drinkers, but when they do drink, they are drinking more heavily”.

“Banning alcopops or putting heavy taxes on them like several European countries have and Australia is currently considering, may help to reduce the harm to young people and society as a whole”.

“We will be recommending to the Minister of Health that alcopops become targeted as a key way of changing the drinking culture our young people are growing up in” ended Mrs Turia.

ENDS


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