Alcohol Healthwatch today releases the fourth in its series of five briefing papers. The latest paper puts the spotlight on the Sale of Liquor Act and highlights amendments that are long overdue and much needed.
The paper “The Sale of Liquor in New Zealand – Recommended Changes to the Act” puts forward a range of amendments to align the Act more closely with its object – to contribute to the reduction of liquor abuse, so far as that can be achieved by legislative means. It provides the evidence to support the return of the minimum purchase age for alcohol to 20 years. It also makes a number of other practical recommendations on issues such as age verification, designation of premises and community input into licensing decisions. Alcohol Healthwatch Director Rebecca Williams urges people with an interest to read the paper and calls for meaningful dialogue and debate on the issues raised.
“Given the slippery slope alcohol-related harm has been on in recent years we are calling for action that will result in reduced harm,” says Williams. Its time to stop pussy-footing around alcohol issues. She asks how many more studies and headlines do we need to tell us we have a problem. These headlines, these studies are calling us to action.
The release of the paper is followed by the Alcohol Healthwatch forum ‘Opportunities for Action’ on Tuesday 27th April. Internationally renowned alcohol researcher Professor Robin Room from Stockholm University, Sweden will provide the keynote address. The Forum is attracting interest from across the country and interested sectors. It will provide an opportunity to confront the issues head on and identify the actions needed to make a difference. Both the paper and the forum are part of the Alcohol Healthwatch Action on Liquor campaign.
Current legislation is at odds with achieving positive change. It works against the country’s stated health and safety goals, against the positive intentions of people working in the field and the many good initiatives undertaken. Our drinking culture needs to be challenged at all levels – nationally, locally and by individuals. Until we have the courage to take stock and take the actions which have the evidence for success we will continue to see the tragic results of alcohol misuse.
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Action on Liquor Campaign information and briefing papers can be found at www.ahw.co.nz