New Zealand’s alcohol crisis costs us billions each year. This is to say nothing of the human cost.
Getting to grips with the problem starts with recognising:
- Alcohol is a legalised drug and here to stay.
- Alcohol is currently pushed by powerful commercial forces
Like smoking, however, our heavy drinking culture can be dismantled. The World Health Organisation has set out a clear set of policy directives to do this:
- Price: End ultra cheap alcohol, beginning with a minimum price for a standard drink
- Access: End highly normalised access to alcohol, by restoring supermarkets to being alcohol free
- Advertising and Marketing: Ban all alcohol advertising and sponsorship except objective printed info
- Drink Driving: End legal drunk driving by reducing the adult blood alcohol level to at least 0.05.
In recent years over 3000 people wrote a submission to the Law Commission’s review of alcohol laws. The Law Commission listened to the evidence and wrote a report calling on the Government to overhaul New Zealand’s alcohol laws. Its advice closely follows the World Health Organisation directives.
The Government, however, has dodged the recommendations and instead is trying to get away with saying its minor and ineffectual changes are “balanced”.
At the same time, though, the Government says it is waiting for a public signal.
This is the opportunity to have your say and play your part in creating a wave of pressure by getting friends, family and colleagues involved.