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Rate Of Alcohol Levy Irrelevant If Harm Reduction Programmes Aren’t Delivering Results

Kaiaarahi of Kookiri ki Taamakimakaurau Trust and WAI2624 lead claimant Raawiri Ratuu says the debate over the size of the levy does nothing to address the problem at hand: the burgeoning size of alcohol harm in this country.

“Every time we talk about the size of the tax, we are not seeking to address the question we must collectively answer: how do we reduce the impact of alcohol harm, in particular the impact on Maaori?”

“The alcohol levy was introduced in 1978, and it has had negligible impact on harm reduction over the past 46 years. Meanwhile, we’ve seen growing rates of alcohol-related harm to Maaori.”

In response to the review of the alcohol levy released last week, Raawiri is calling for the focus to return to the issue of alcohol harm.

“Talking about tax allows the liquor industry to deflect the conversation and avoid responsibility for the harms their products cause,” Raawiri says.

In response to pleas from alcohol industry advocates for women not to drink while pregnant, the time has come for the industry to be judged by actions, not words.

“If the alcohol industry was serious about reducing harm to pregnant women, the warning labels on their products would be bigger than a band aid,” Raawiri says.

“What actions is the alcohol industry taking to address the harm their products cause? It shouldn’t take government intervention for the alcohol industry to act.”

Raawiri is also calling on advocates to be more transparent about what they have achieved through these distributed funds.

“We should all have confidence that the levy is being invested in the right places before determining what the rate should be.”

Kookiri ki Taamakimakaurau Trust is focused on the bigger conversation about why so many in this country are caught in an intergenerational cycle of alcohol harm, and why so many Maaori are disproportionately affected.

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