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Limit alcohol in RTDs, limit harm

Phil Goff
MP for Mt Roskill

24 August 2012

Limit alcohol in RTDs, limit harm

The Government’s back down over restricting the alcohol content in RTDs (Ready to Drink) is gutless, and will mean more harm is caused to young drinkers, says Phil Goff.

The Mt Roskill MP is proposing an amendment to the Alcohol Reform Bill to limit the alcohol level of RTDs to no more than 5% and 1.5 standard drinks per bottle.

“We know RTDs have a strong appeal to young people. It is part of New Zealand’s teenage binge-drinking culture which we must address,” Phil Goff says.

“The Law Commission reported that the high levels of sugar in RTDs mask alcohol content, making them an attractive and easy drink for young people. And it was concerned that RTDs are specifically marketed at young people.

“Alcohol levels in these drinks can be as high as 8-12% and sometimes up to 20%. Is it any wonder our young people are getting themselves into trouble drinking RTDs?

“The Government’s Bill significantly waters down the Law Commission’s recommendations to curb the huge cost of alcohol abuse in our country. This latest back down to liquor industry interests further undermines an effective response.

“Frankly it’s gutless and the Minister should be ashamed,” Phil Goff says.

“Getting the alcohol industry to regulate itself is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. They’ve had years to implement a more socially responsible approach and they haven’t done it.

“It’s Parliament’s role to reduce the human, social and economic costs of alcohol abuse, especially to the young. The Government has caved in to lobbying and threats by heavyweights in the liquor industry.

“The amendment I am proposing is a moderate measure. It does not ban RTDs but will limit their alcohol content and hopefully reduce the harm they cause.

“I hope my fellow MPs will consider this proposal carefully, as one way we can effectively reduce the teenage binge drinking problem that concerns so many New Zealanders,” Phil Goff says.

ENDS

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