Alcohol consumption overall is falling. The problem appears to be with young binge drinkers not the population as a whole. Enforce the minimum age rules and restrictions on serving to intoxicated people properly and leave the rest of us to get on with drinking responsibly without having to pay for the idiots.
Pubs, bars, restaurants, sports clubs, nightclubs all have a responsibility that comes with their on-license to provide a safe drinking environment and promote and ensure responsible consumption of alcohol. Supermarkets and liquor stores have no such responsibilities with their off-licenses. On-license premises also offer entertainment and social interactions. Off-licenses do not.
The pricing of alcohol in New Zealand provides incentive for off-license drinking without any host responsibility before going out to enjoy the entertainment and sociability at the on-license premises, at the cost of those on-license establishments.
Some ideas I have thought up:
- Differentiate taxing for on-license and off-license alcohol sales. Pushing up off-license prices would erode the incentive for pre drinking, meaning more people go to on-license premises more sober. This in turn would have the effect of increasing revenue of on-license premises, making them less reliant on pushing boundaries of selling to nearly or already intoxicated patrons (after all - that is a significant part of many businesses). This would involve taking on the 'big alcohol' lobbyists of supermarkets and liquor store chains.
- Offer incentives for 'good behaviour' of bars so they are not required to push the boundaries so much by being forced to sell alcohol to nearly or already intoxicated patrons. Tax breaks, rates rebates, cash grants, whatever. We spend taxpayer money on sporting events (America's Cup $5 million today), pieces of art ($800k for Antony Gormley statues in 2015), why not for entertainment of a different type?
If correctly manage to shift our culture, there is opportunity to harness the benefits of the culture around alcohol while reducing the harm. The decision must be made if this is worth the effort, or if we are happy to remove both the costs AND the benefits with our current approach.
The real problem starts when parents do not educate their kids. As long as " adults" feel it is ok for their kids to get as drunk as a skunk the alcohol related problems will not disappear. Lower the limit for drink and drive again. In some European countries it is 0%, so no tolerance at all. When you drink, you simply do not drive. Increase the price for alcohol and fizzy drinks at the retail shops and lower the price for alcohol in the cafes, restaurants and pubs. In terms of education it would be great if kids get really involved in the aftermath effects of drink and drive incidents. That will open their eyes before they do stupid things themselves
The problem is binge drinking. If we made it more expensive in a bottle shop and cheaper in pubs it would fix this. People wouldn't be at home drinking till they can't stand. Being in a controlled environment makes people a bit more civilised. 18 year olds would then learn how to drink like an adult from an adult; not from their 18yo mate who funnels 3 beers at a time. Also, having a person there to cut you off when you've had too much helps.
I would support some increase in tax on alcohol if it's used to empower people to make good decisions through education. An adult, at aged 18, should be permitted to purchase alcohol, or any other legal substance. After informing them, let people decide for themselves. All of your policies (no just on alcohol and cannabis), should be for less regulation, fairer taxation, and more personal freedom and responsibility.
This policy is typical of nanny-state knee-jerk moralising and interference in civil liberties. Rather than restricting alcohol, the legalisation (and controlled supply) of ALL drugs should be implemented.
Also if TOP is aiming for 5% of the vote then it would not appear wise to treat the young voters - who can vote, marry, drive and join the army at age 18 - like children who need to have their decisions made for them by parliament.
This is the first TOP policy that I've completely disagreed with.
New Zealand is an incredibly expensive country to live in and increasingly few luxuries are within the grasp of regular New Zealanders. I think that increasing the cost of alcohol as a means of discouraging consumption will penalise people who enjoy a glass of wine with dinner and are not necessarily part of the pernicious social problem. Better education and working to shift the type of drinking culture in NZ would be more effective. The problem is people drinking to excess and this is a social pressure and reality in NZ. I would like to see the problem
I agree with increasing the excise duty and there should be better labelling around alcopops. But increasing the drinking age is missing the point that alcohol harm is society wide not a problem with youth per se. Here's a well written article from this morning's Dominion Post. https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/94089438/andy-towers-new-zealand-doesnt-have-a-culture-of-youth-drinking As an aside I think if TOP has policies for everything it could end up being counterproductive. I thought it was going to be 7?
I think that raising the legal drinking age to 20 will be in effective (people will get booze anyway, just as teenagers do currently), and relying on pricing mechanism unfairly targets the poor. I think it would be more effective to target alcohol adverising, which is prevalent particiularly around sports/music events. Tackling advertising directly leads to reductions in use- just look at smoking.
I'm not comfortable with the idea that someone can consent to sex and drive a car at 16; vote, and join the police/military at 18 (for example) but not make an informed decision about alcohol use.
The age certainly plays a role, however in our society turning 18 also means the right to be an indiviual (adult), right to vote, right to fight for this country; keep it at 18.
I worked as a bar manager for 5 years and have seen some of the worst when it comes to alcohol. The rules that on-licenses have to follow is more stringent than off-liceneses; can't serve intoxicated people, control of their behaviour etc. etc. What I believe could work is making it cheaper to drink at your local pub than go to the supermarket to get a bottle of wine or a dozen of beer and get drunk at home.
Also, our disgusting thinking pattern that means 'drinking = getting drunk'. Our culture for the lack of moderation and respect for alcohol is one that needs changing, but that would take years/decades & I'm unsure on that part.