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Supermarkets: Under-Aged Drinkers Under Spotlight


NEWS RELEASE
8 December 2002

Supermarkets put under-aged drinkers under the spotlight

A new campaign to make it even harder for under-aged drinkers to buy wine or beer is being launched in New Zealand grocery stores nationwide.

Foodstuffs and Progressive Enterprises, which between them account for almost all supermarkets in New Zealand, have joined forces to introduce the "ID required, if under 25" campaign, which rolls out from tomorrow (Monday 9 December).

The campaign will see greater scrutiny at the till. If checkout operators are unsure whether a shopper is over 25 years of age, they will be asked for identification when purchasing alcohol.

The campaign will be supported instore by a logo displaying the message "If we think you're under, you'll have to hand it over - ID required, if under 25." The logo will also feature in Progressive and Foodstuffs' advertising material in coming weeks.

Foodstuffs operates the New World, Pak 'N Save and Four Square brands. Progressive Enterprises owns Foodtown, Countdown, Woolworths as well as Big Fresh, Price Chopper and Three Guys.

Although both organisations already have comprehensive systems in place to prevent minors from purchasing alcohol, Richard Umbers, Progressive Enterprise's Chief Operating Officer, believes the campaign will give the supermarket industry an added level of surety when it comes to the sale and supply of liquor.

"By joining forces, the supermarket industry is making it quite clear that it is aiming for zero tolerance when it comes to minors purchasing alcohol," he says.

"We hope our customers see that, and comply when ID may be requested at the checkout," says Mr Umbers.

Managing Director of Foodstuffs (Auckland), Tony Carter, says the campaign is validation of supermarkets' commitment to improved compliance with the Sale of Liquor Act.

"Both Foodstuffs and Progressive are very aware of their responsibilities when it comes to the Sale of Liquor Act, and this combined initiative demonstrates our commitment."

"We are confident that this campaign will lift the profile of the issue among our staff and customers and improve our compliance with the Act," says Mr Carter.

A recent undercover operation was undertaken by Wellington's District Licensing Agency last week. Checks on 21 liquor sellers were undertaken, with underage volunteers used in controlled liquor purchase operations. Although eight bottle stores and convenience stores failed to check for identification, it was reported that the supermarkets challenged the volunteers and refused to sell them liquor.

Progressive and Foodstuffs says while this is extremely encouraging and was an endorsement of existing systems, the new campaign would lift the barrier for under-aged purchases even higher.

ENDS


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