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Passing of the Alcohol Reform Bill

Press Release

11th December 2012

Alcohol Healthwatch believes that for the many New Zealanders who have called for alcohol law reform, the passing of the Alcohol Reform Bill in Parliament today will be met with relief. Director Rebecca Williams says that the waiting is finally over, and we can get on with the effective implementation of the new legislation.

She says, “We’ve pretty much known what the outcome of these final stages of the Bill’s progression will be, and that moves to strengthen the legislation would be thwarted. A lot of people have already moved on and started to look at how the new rules can be maximised.”

Williams says the legislation is far from ideal and communities will have to work jolly hard if they are to harvest any safety gains from it. “It has been harrowing to watch the already weak Bill get even further whittled away after the public submission process was over. Alcohol and supermarket interests have certainly influenced the outcomes despite the strong public support for stronger measures.

“The Government has backed down on requiring supermarkets to keep alcohol in one non-prominent area of the store. Now up to 3 areas can be used. They’ve also backed down on plans to regulate the alcohol content of Ready to Drinks (RTDs) or to regulate where they can be sold, leaving this in the alcohol industry’s hands to self-regulate.”

The 12 month lag time before key elements of the new law, such as Local Alcohol Policies, can be implemented will cause further frustration for a lot of people.

Williams says that reducing the affordability and marketing of alcohol, effective policies that were rejected by the Government, remain on the policy agenda. “If this Government or the next thinks that the calls for more effective policies will quieten they are mistaken. These issues and others will remain in the spotlight both here and internationally as pressure mounts on Governments to address the growing burden of alcohol-related harm.

ENDS

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Election Day: Make Sure You're A Part Of It!

Saturday 20 September, is election day, and New Zealanders’ last chance to have a say on who leads the country for the next three years.

“The people and parties we elect tomorrow will be making the decisions that affect us, our families and our communities,” says Robert Peden, Chief Electoral Officer. “It doesn’t get much more important than that, and we need all New Zealanders to use their voice and vote.”

Voting places will be open from 9.00am until 7.00pm on election day. The busiest time at voting places is usually 9.00am - 11.00am.

“Take your EasyVote card with you when you go to vote, as it will make voting faster and easier, and vote close to home if you can. But don’t worry if you forget your card, or didn’t receive one, because as long as you are enrolled to vote, your voice will be heard,” says Mr Peden. More>>

 

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