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National’s Shameful Back-Down To Liquor Barons

MP for Mt Roskill

07 December 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

National’s Shameful Back-Down To Liquor Barons
National’s decision to bow to pressure from the liquor industry and not regulate ready-to-drinks (RTDs) is ‘shameful and gutless’, says Labour MP Phil Goff.

“The case for restricting the alcohol content of RTDs to 5% and one and a half standard drinks per container is overwhelming.

“RTDs are marketed to look and taste like soft drinks. The sweetness masks the taste of alcohol and sadly they are drunk like soft drinks, particularly by young people.

“They are a significant contributor to the problem of teenage binge drinking,” said Phil Goff.
According to health professionals, RTDs make up 70% of the alcohol content consumed by teenage girls aged 14 to 17 years old. Massey University’s public health unit points out that binge drinking among this group has doubled in the past six years, largely due to RTDs.

“The amendment to regulate RTDs which I proposed to Parliament and which National voted down was precisely what former Justice Minister Simon Power promised to do when he introduced the Bill to Parliament.

“At that time, he said that regulation was needed to reduce excessive consumption by young people. That’s now gone out the window.

“All it took was a visit by the liquor barons to new Minister Judith Collins for the position to be reversed.

“It’s a disgrace that she caved into lobbying from those who make a profit from selling RTDs and ignored those who have to pick up the pieces from the problems they cause.

“Liquor Licensing Inspectors, the Alcohol Liquor Advisory Council, doctors, police and alcohol abuse professionals all wanted the Government to act.

“Instead, in a gutless back-down, the Minister says the industry should self-regulate. That’s like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse!

“And the National Party’s MPs who had previously supported the move to regulate meekly followed the Minister into the Noes voting lobby.

“It’s time for a Government that’s prepared to do the right thing, rather than one that always gives in to expediency,” Phil Goff said.


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