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Kiwis back minimum alcohol pricing

Published: 6:36PM Tuesday August 14, 2012 Source: ONE News

Most New Zealanders support the introduction of a minimum alcohol price, even if it means the end of bottles of wine below $10, according to the latest ONE News poll.

The Labour Party, along with many alcohol advisory groups and medical professionals, wants to bring in a minimum price for each unit of alcohol sold at supermarkets and liquor stores.

The policy has won the support of 54% participants in a ONE News Colmar Brunton poll, with 62% of women supporting the scheme.
Only 42% did not support the scheme, while 3% were unsure.

The results of the survey have surprised Labour's associate justice spokesperson Lianne Dalziel who is campaigning for the policy to be included in the Alcohol Law Reform Bill currently before Parliament.

"Well I have to be honest and say I was surprised, but pleasantly surprised," said Dalziel.

"I think that people have finally cottoned onto the fact that we have to do more than just look at the age, we have to look at some serious interventions."

The regime would likely see an end to cut price liquor in New Zealand where currently one standard drink of wine can be bought for as little as 60 cents, spirits for 81 cents and beer for 85 cents.

But Justice Minister Judith Collins is unconvinced by the results and is continuing to refuse to consider a pricing clause in the Alcohol Reform Bill.

"I think if you ask people if they want to have their $10 bottles of wine suddenly be $16 a bottle, and for the profits to go straight into the pockets of the alcohol industry, I think the answer would be something different," said Collins.

The Bill will be debated in Parliament again in the next few weeks. It is proposing to split the alcohol purchasing age to 18 for bars and clubs and 20 for off-licence purchases, limiting the alcohol content of RTDs, and reducing the hours liquor shops can be open.