Alcohol Action NZ is pleased to advise that their conference that was postponed due to the August lockdown will go ahead online next week.
The conference will be held on Friday 19th November, and features four outstanding keynote speakers: Professor Jennie Connor, Rāwiri Ratū, Sir Graham Lowe and Nicky Hager. Media are invited (contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
The theme of the conference is public health action on alcohol, and it comes at a time when there is a change occurring in New Zealand. The public are better understanding the importance of taking a population-based approach to dealing with major health problems, in this instance New Zealand’s damaging drinking culture. The health system is being restructured, and the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act is going to be reviewed.
New Zealanders have a right to be protected from the considerable harm alcohol causes. The government’s upcoming health reforms featuring a Public Health Agency, a national public health service, and a Māori Health Authority reflect the shift that is taking place to ensure better response to threats to public health.
Professor Connor comments: “Successive governments have failed us by taking an unprincipled and ad hoc approach to alcohol policy for more than 30 years. They have put commercial and political interests ahead of the rights and wellbeing of New Zealanders, despite high levels of public support for change”.
“Health, equity and economic gains will follow from adoption of proven strategies to reduce alcohol consumption and harm, as have been recommended by several major reviews and government enquiries in New Zealand, and the World Health Organisation”.
The 5+ Solution was formulated by Alcohol Action NZ in 2009, based on the best public health science available. The solution requires government action: 1. Dismantle marketing, 2. Increase the price, 3. Reduce accessibility, 4. Raise the purchase age, 5. Strengthen drink driving countermeasures, PLUS Increase treatment opportunities for heavy drinkers.
Professor Connor further comments, “Reform of our alcohol legislation must give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and be protected from the influence of those who profit from alcohol.”
Rāwiri Ratū, Executive Chairman of Kookiri ki Tāmakimakaurau Trust, is pursuing alcohol law reform to “reduce the harmful effects of alcohol on Māori because Māori lives matter”. He will provide an update on his Treaty claims and other initiatives.
Sir Graham Lowe, who chaired the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship in 2014, will update on the recommendations made at the time, particularly in relation to the banning of all alcohol sponsorship of sport.
Finally, Nicky Hager will address the conference on the nature of democratic change and the forces that obstruct it. He comments: “Unless public health people are aware of the forces opposing them, good harm reduction policies will keep not being implemented.”
Please note: Rāwiri Ratū and Sir Graham Lowe are also featuring in “Proof,” an RNZ documentary on alcohol made by Guyon Espiner, being screened before this conference, on TV1 at 9.30pm, 15th November and available online from then.
For further comment from the keynote speakers contact:
Professor Emerita, Preventive and Social Medicine
University of Otago
Professor of Psychiatry & Addiction Medicine
University of Otago, Christchurch
General Practitioner and Addiction Medicine Specialist
Chair, Alcohol Action NZ