A Wellington doctor who is "sick" of dealing with drunk patients says raising the price of alcohol is the best way to combat New Zealand's binge-drinking culture.
Doctor Paul Quigley told TV ONE's Close Up excessive drinking was a problem he saw every week, and said increasing the price is the best way to change society's approach to drinking.
"There's overwhelming international information that if you put economic pressure, i.e. put the price of alcohol up and have a minimum price, that has one of the biggest influences on changing people's behaviour."
Quigley said the Government needs to attach more penalties to the misuse of alcohol.
The call follows research from the University of Canterbury that rates of serious violent crime nearly double close to liquor premises.
The GeoHealth laboratory study estimates 1000 deaths per year are alcohol related, with more than half due to injuries from road trauma, accidents and self-inflicted harm.
Director of Alcohol Healthwatch Rebecca Williams said clusters of liquor outlets and long-opening hours are "asking for trouble".
Williams agreed raising the price of alcohol was the "fairest" way to combat drinking problems.
"About 85% of the population drink. Many of those are not drinking excessively, so they are not going to be paying excessively for an increase in price," she told Close Up.
"Those who are drinking more will be paying more for that alcohol."
However, Williams said raising the price is not the only way to combat the problems. She said the marketing and promotion of alcohol needs to be addressed as well as lowering blood-alcohol levels for driving.
Williams said there is evidence and strong public support for combating alcohol problems, but that politicians are hesitant to make changes.
"Every time it goes down to the politicians, they seem to get cold feet around it.
"They need to step up and take action around it."