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MPs care more about business than alcohol abuse

MPs care more about business than alcohol abuse

The Greens are dismayed that members of the Health Select Committee have rejected out of hand a proposed inquiry into the effects of alcohol promotion.

“It is extraordinary that Committee members who claim to be concerned about alcohol abuse have turned down a petition for an inquiry into alcohol advertising and how it is contributing to problem drinking,” Green MP and Deputy Chair of the Health Select Committee Sue Kedgley said. “It simply doesn’t make sense.”

Green Drug Policy Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos said: “It is pretty weird that some MPs are calling for the drinking age to be raised while at the same time rejecting something as basic as an inquiry into the effects of alcohol advertising.

“It’s particularly hypocritical for United Future to continue to support the aggressive promotion of alcohol while demonising and criminalising cannabis users. Alcohol is widely recognised as the major drug problem in New Zealand, yet United is more concerned about keeping its business-friendly image than doing anything about it.”

Ms Kedgley said the Health Select Committee report sidestepped the issues and failed to deal with the role of alcohol advertising in normalising and glamorising alcohol.

“It would be bizarre for Parliament to raise the drinking age, if at the same time it refuses to look at what factors, such as alcohol advertising to children, contribute to problem drinking,” Ms Kedgley said.

She said the present self-regulatory regime for alcohol advertising was weak and ineffective.

“It lacks punitive powers and is captured by the alcohol and advertising industries,” she said. “Frankly it is little more than a regulatory façade.”

Ms Kedgley said the Green Party wants to see the phasing out of alcohol sponsorship, the cessation of alcohol advertising on all media, and other measures such as a prohibition on alcoholic drink products marketed at young people and safety warnings on alcoholic drinks.

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