Liquor price wars are shifting up a gear....
Alcohol Healthwatch Director Rebecca Williams says this store and others like it soon to enter the market, will offer substantial discounts in the already competitive takeaway liquor market.
In the context of already increasing consumption, increasing levels of harmful drinking patterns and few if any controls on price or outlet density a grim picture is being painted in terms of health and safety outcomes.
Williams points out that this is not just a national issue but a local one. This particular store is in a community which has a long history of concerns relating to alcohol. *Only last week an Otara councillor expressed concern and surprise at the size of the alcohol and drug problem among local youth.
The new store offers ‘pocket money’ prices on numerous product lines, some as low as $1 a bottle. The harms on the other hand don’t come cheap. Alcohol is already responsible for billions of dollars worth of death and disability in this country.
Williams says national surveys consistently show that price and ease of availability are key factors in drinker’s decisions about how much they drink. The evidence tells us that drinkers tend to drink more if they can afford more or drinkers are already drinking more because it’s easily accessible and cheap.
Targeting tax increases or other price controls must be a priority says Williams. Market forces cannot be left to determine our future health status.
* Ref: As reported in the Manukau Courier Thursday 9 March 2006
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Action on Liquor Campaign information and briefing papers (including one on amendments to the Sale of Liquor Act and alcohol taxation) can be found at www.ahw.co.nz/Action on Liquor/Briefing Papers