9000 submissions virtually ignored in weak Alcohol Bill
MEDIA RELEASE - 25/8/11
9000 submissions virtually ignored in government’s weak Alcohol NON-Reform Bill
GOVERNMENT CHALLENGED TO JUSTIFY WEAK LEGISLATION
The Select Committee on the Alcohol Reform Bill presented its report back to Parliament today.
“This revised Bill is still shamefully weak and ignores widespread public concern about the violence, misery and death caused by dangerous heavy drinking in NZ” said Professor Doug Sellman, medical spokesperson for Alcohol Action NZ.
Alcohol Action is challenging the government to justify why it has ignored the 9000 submissions on the Bill.
“A huge effort was put in by hundreds of experts and thousands of ordinary New Zealanders”, said Prof Doug Sellman. “These submitters are entitled to hear exactly why their calls for stronger measures are being ignored, which are in line with the main recommendations of the Law Commission’s final report and the best international evidence sponsored by the World Health Organisation.”
“The government might be trumpeting the Bill as the most important piece of alcohol legislation for over 50 years, but it is still devoid of any substantial measures that could make a significant difference to the damaging heavy drinking culture in New Zealand”.
“The heavy drinking culture is like NZ Inc travelling along in the BMW at 180km/hour, but after this Bill will still be going 175km/hour”.
“Four key evidence-based measures advocated by Alcohol Action NZ that are remain missing from the Bill are as follows: dismantling alcohol advertising and sponsorship; ending ultra-cheap alcohol sales; reducing the drink driving limit for adults down to 0.05; and alcohol-free supermarkets. Without any of these measures in the Bill it remains an alcohol non-reform Bill” said Prof Sellman.
“At a time when the government is expressing great concern about the cost of health and justice in New Zealand, it is scandalous that they are unwilling to do anything significant about alcohol,” added Dr Geoff Robinson, another medical spokesperson for Alcohol Action NZ.
“Heavy drinking accounts for such a significant proportion of the costs associated with injury, violence and chronic disease through paying for the systems that clean up the mess; the hospitals, police force, courts and prisons. And heavy drinking is one social factor that can be relatively easily dealt with if the government had the will to do so.”
“This National-led government is not taking alcohol law reform seriously.”