Myths, Facts and FAQs

Myth: “Alcohol reform will “punish” responsible drinkers” Fact: Alcohol harm costs this country billions each  year and this burden falls on all of us, drinkers, taxpayers and  non-drinkers alike. The scientific evidence is clear; an integrated  solution to the alcohol crisis, including small price increases, bans on  advertising and removing alcohol from supermarkets, will produce  significant benefits for everyone. These benefits, both financial and  social, will far outweigh minor price rises and inconvenience.

Myth: “Alcohol is a mild social lubricant” Fact:  Alcohol is a Class B equivalent drug: is  addictive, causes aggression and depression, is carcinogenic, fattening,  and causes brain damage and birth defects. Most of us do not normally  look at alcohol in this way – which perhaps explains the appalling.

Myth: “The problem is a small minority of heavy drinkers” Fact: NZ has 700 000 heavy drinkers and over 20 deaths a  week are directly related to alcohol. The annual economic cost is in  the billions.

Myth: “It’s mainly a youth problem” Fact: More than 90% of heavy drinkers are 20 years of  age or over. Focusing law reform on youth is a cynical tactic to shift  attention – and blame – from where it belongs: the adult drinking  culture and what Sir Geoffrey Palmer called the unbridled  commercialisation of alcohol across the whole of society.

Myth: “Law reforms are being pushed by “wowsers” Fact: Alcohol experts and activists are promoting evidence-based policies – not prohibition. Most of us drink.

Myth: “Education and personal responsibility is the key” Fact: These measures, by themselves, are not enough  because commercially forces are so much more powerful. Research has  shown that each time a young person sees an alcohol advertisement their  drinking increases by 1%.

Myth: “We need more research before lowering the drink driving limit” Fact: Over 300 international studies support lowering the blood alcohol limit.

Our previous drink driving limit (0.08) facilitated legal drunk driving.The new drink driving limit (0.05) has been a significant step in the right direction, representing the first true alcohol reform for over twenty years.