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Dunne-Key cover-up on alcohol appalling

Associate Spokesperson on Justice

12 December 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT
Dunne-Key cover-up on alcohol appalling

The decision by Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne to suppress vital research showing huge public support for alcohol reform has undermined the reform process, says Labour’s Associate Justice spokesperson Lianne Dalziel.

“John Key’s approach to alcohol law reform has been driven by a desire not to offend the vast majority of responsible drinkers rather than trying to deal to and minimise the harm alcohol causes in society,” Lianne Dalziel said.

“That’s why suppression of the Health Sponsorship Council’s research --- showing the public are on the side of major reform --- is so appalling.

“Quite clearly Kiwis are not in tune with the John Key-Peter Dunne softly, softly, weak-kneed approach. They want decisive action to curb alcohol abuse, but, for reasons best known only to itself, the Government decided to conceal this research at the time when it could have done most good,” Lianne Dalziel said.

Lianne Dalziel said the research showed that 82 per cent of Kiwis strongly supported increased restrictions on alcohol advertising, 56 per cent supported raising the price of cheap alcohol, and 78 per cent wanted the purchase age raised to 20.

“Yet last year Peter Dunne pulled the plug on the final stages of the research meaning that MPs involved in the alcohol law reform process were denied the information on what New Zealanders actually think.

“Peter Dunne said the $10,000 needed to complete the research and peer review it could be better spent elsewhere,” Lianne Dalziel said.

“This is an astonishing decision. Last year’s health budget was $12.5 billion. Ten thousand dollars is an infinitesimally insignificant fraction of that amount, particularly when the impact of alcohol on health is considered. The entire $10,000 could have been avoided anyway simply by emailing the report to every MP.

“Kiwis can only speculate on what influenced Mr Dunne’s decision, but it is not credible that he did not brief Mr Key or former Justice Minister Simon Power on the research,” Lianne Dalziel said.

“This is the most comprehensive research undertaken in New Zealand on alcohol-related attitudes. The Government decided to ignore it, and in doing so thoroughly undermined the alcohol law reform process.”
Report attached
Alcohol Survey (Word Document)

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