Action on Liquor

Campaign to Strengthen Liquor Legislation

The levels of alcohol-related harm and the associated costs in New Zealand are unacceptably high. Statistics from the past decade in New Zealand confirm worrying drinking trends, particularly those concerning young people and women. Underpinning this is a culture that too readily accepts alcohol misuse as normal behaviour and a legislative environment that has been liberalised without effective monitoring, enforcement and support for harm prevention efforts.

There is no simple answer to the problems we face in relation to alcohol use. However, interventions with the greatest evidence-base for effectiveness are environmental policy approaches. In order to bring about positive changes to our drinking culture we need to create a supportive legislative framework to work from. In doing so, effectiveness of other strategies and initiatives will be enhanced.

Alcohol Healthwatch has identified five areas in New Zealand’s liquor legislation that require strengthening – these form the basis of the Action on Liquor campaign. They are: alcohol advertising, the legal blood alcohol level, alcohol health and safety advisory statements, Sale of Liquor Act amendments, and changes to the excise tax system.

Action on Liquor calls for legislation and regulations that impact on the use of alcohol to be more consistent with government aims of reducing alcohol-related harm. The campaign promotes taking a bold and co-ordinated approach to legislative change to lower the benchmark for harm to a more acceptable level. The changes proposed in each of the five priority areas, while all effective on their own, will be much more effective if undertaken collectively.

Action on Liquor - What is Planned

Alcohol Healthwatch’s Health Promotion Advisors have compiled briefing papers that contain comprehensive information on each of the five priority areas. These papers are being sent directly to all MPs and a range of other stakeholders. These are being made available on this website in PDF form, see “Briefing Papers” link on left.

Gaining support
A collective voice is much more effective at achieving change. Alcohol Healthwatch invites you to access and read the briefing papers and consider ways you might support their call for change. Alcohol Healthwatch is keen to hear your feedback and ideas. Shifting alcohol policy to a more favourable environment for reducing alcohol-related harm will be greatly enhanced if relevant agencies are as aligned as possible, aided by regular communication and linking of efforts. An alcohol policy network has been established – contact us if you would like to be part of it.

Promoting discussion and debate
Alcohol Healthwatch is holding a series of forums to enable discussion and debate on alcohol policy issues. Ways of working together effectively to bring about a healthier, more supportive legislative environment will be discussed. Use the forums link on the left to find out dates and access presentations from forums.

Alcohol Healthwatch has also planned a range of advocacy actions.

Briefing Papers:

All documents are PDF format.

2007-Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in New Zealand - Activating the Awareness and Intervention Continuum
Executive Summary-Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in NZ Briefing Paper

2005-Alcohol Marketing Update

2004-Alcohol Excise Tax:Changes to the New Zealand System

2004-The Sale of Liquor in New Zealand: Recommended Changes to the Act

2003-Alcohol Health and Safety Advisory Statements(Warning Labels) in New Zealand

2003-The Advertising of Alcohol: In Support of Increased Restrictions

2003-Reducing the Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration for Driving in New Zealand