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Drug Foundation welcomes PM to alcohol debate


MEDIA RELEASE
NEW ZEALAND DRUG FOUNDATION
17 JUNE 2008

Drug Foundation welcomes PM to alcohol debate

The New Zealand Drug Foundation has welcomed the Prime Minister’s entry into the long running debate about the proliferation of liquor outlets in communities.

“We’re pleased to see the Government’s stalled progress on alcohol policy getting a welcome kickstart from the Prime Minister. Her concern about the number of liquor outlets is shared by many New Zealand communities, whose voices are often ignored in the liquor license application process,” said Ross Bell.

“Communities need to be given a stronger voice in how liquor licenses are granted. This includes when licenses are applied for and renewed, and more importantly when councils make big decisions about planning for alcohol in the community.

“The Sale of Liquor Act is almost 20 years old and much has changed since that legislation was passed. For instance, the number of licensed premises has increased from just over 6,000 to almost 15,000 today. That is a significant rise and the impact of readily available and cheap alcohol is now becoming more evident,” said Mr Bell.

There is great community concern about the social impact of alcohol but communities find themselves unable to make objections as there are limited grounds on which objections to a licence can be made under the current legislation.

“Improving liquor licensing laws along with addressing cheap booze and liberal marketing practices will go a long way to turning around New Zealand’s poor drinking culture”, said Ross Bell.

The Drug Foundation is urging the Prime Minister and other political leaders to stay involved in this debate.

“To do so demonstrates they recognise how important this issue is to people.”


Ends.

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