Thursday, December 2, 2010

On NZ's Binge drinking culture

From the3 Family First Newsletter/

Now is the time to 
tackle our binge
drinking culture
Please speak up for families on this important issue
Every report we have read regarding child abuse and family violence says that alcohol abuse is a major contributing factor. A child is hugely at risk when an adult is under the influence of alcohol, and a recent survey by Massey University found that more than half of our sexual and physical assaults occurred while under the influence of alcohol. Our teenagers are binge drinking at an earlier age, and our health and justice system is clogged up with the fallout from our drinking culture.

The binge drinking culture has been spiralling out of control since liberalising laws and controls around alcohol abuse. In 1989 alcohol law changes eased restrictions for off-licence selling including supermarket and grocery stores selling wine, and availability increased as trading hours of on-licence venues were extended. And then in 1999 we foolishly lowered the drinking age, allowed the sale of beer in supermarketsand further increased trading hours.
The government’s response to alcohol laws will have little effect on our binge drinking culture and as a result the problems of domestic violence, child abuse, underage drinking, public drunkenness, repeat drunk driving offences and binge drinking will continue.
Polls over the last couple of years have shown that 2/3’rds to 3/4's of NZ’ers want the drinking age raised to at least 20,instant fines for public drunkennesson-license premises to close by 2am, and the legal blood-alcohol limit lowered to 50. These opinions have been ignored.The government says they are listening – the question is to who?
The lack of strong action on health warnings on all alcohol products, loss leading and availability within supermarkets, marketing of RTD’s, and pre-vetting and restrictions on alcohol advertising is all very disappointing.

TAKE ACTION!PLEASE MAKE A SUBMISSION - we'll make it as easy and quick for you as possible(Closing date is 18 February 2011) 
BASIC OVERVIEW OF WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPENHere's what we're recommending:
reduce marketing and advertising 
reduce alcohol accessibility e.g.restrict sales of alcohol from residential area bottle stores, grocery stores and supermarkets.
* More community say on liquor outlets. No 'loss leading'.
raise the tax on alcohol - this tax will help cover the huge costs to the health and justice system from alcohol abuse
raise the drinking age (both purchasing and drinking age) to at least 20
* strong penalties for selling to underage
* penalties for public drunkenness
health warnings on alcohol products and advertising
* increase treatment opportunities
Family First's Submission will be posted on our website shortly - but click here for our previous submission to the Law Commission, which will form the basis of our submission to the Select Committee.(You are welcome to cut and paste any material you wish to) 

FREEPOST your submission to: Justice and Electoral Select Committee
Alcohol Reform Bill
FreePost Parliament
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160
or: MAKE AN ONLINE SUBMISSION HERE (bottom of the page)
The bottom line... This is our opportunity to protect our children and our granchildren from a culture of alcohol abuse that comes at a great cost.  
Thanks for speaking up.

Bob McCoskrie
National Director

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