24 August, 2012
Misinformation on Alcohol Bill irresponsible
Justice Minister Judith Collins says Labour MP and former Trade Minister, Phil Goff’s proposals to restrict RTDs would breach our international trade obligations.
“Mr Goff has today called for a blanket restriction on the alcohol volume and size of all RTDs on sale in New Zealand. As a former Trade Minister, Mr Goff well knows this kind of wholesale restriction would put us in breach of our Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement and other trade treaties.
“Mr Goff should know better. Deliberate misrepresentation of the facts for political gain on an issue as important as alcohol reform is irresponsible,” Ms Collins says.
“For the first time in over twenty years, a government is acting to restrict rather than relax our drinking laws. We’re taking action but we can’t do it alone. Problem drinking is an issue for us all.
“We all have to take responsibility for changing our drinking culture. Communities, families, local government, Police, the alcohol industry and other groups and agencies, all have to play their part.
“Industry has offered to put in place a voluntary code for reducing the harm caused by RTDs, and we think this is a good way the industry can shoulder some responsibility too.
“But, self-regulation by itself would not be enough. That is why we are backing it up with a regulation-making power.
“If the industry’s measures are not strong enough, or not working, the regulation-making power makes it easy for Government to act, and act fast - within weeks.
“If we need to, with a regulation-making power we can restrict the alcohol content and the number of standard drinks per container sold from selected premises.
“We’re sending a strong signal to the industry that the Government is serious about reducing alcohol harm.
“This is an inspired way of dealing with an industry that over the years has shown that it is adept at changing the way it operates to suit circumstances.
“This Government supports a change in our drinking culture, away from excess drinking towards responsible, moderate alcohol consumption,” Ms Collins says.