Eminent NZers challenge Govt on drinking culture

Press Release – Group led by Sir Paul Reeves

A group of prominent New Zealanders took to Parliament today to urge definitive steps to combat the alarming rates of alcohol related problems in this country. Eminent New Zealanders challenge the Government to be bold about our heavy drinking culture

A group of prominent New Zealanders took to Parliament today to urge definitive steps to combat the alarming rates of alcohol related problems in this country.

“Successive governments have been too timid of the alcohol industry to make the important changes needed to change New Zealand’s heavy drinking culture,” said former Governor General Sir Paul Reeves today, when he released a public statement at Parliament, on behalf of a group of 15 iconic New Zealand leaders.

Sir Paul released a six-point statement which focuses on international evidence about how a society can reduce its alcohol-related problems, and backs up a previous statement made by 450 of the country’s leading doctors and nurses.

Sir Paul’s group includes another former Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright, Dame Temuranga Jackson, Sir Mason Durie and Sir Lloyd Geering, joined by the heads of the Catholic and Anglican churches in New Zealand, Archbishops John Dew, David Moxon and Brown Turei. Other members include former Green Party Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, leading Pacific senior Papaali’i Dr Semisi Ma’ia’i, along with four renowned New Zealand sportspeople; Michael Jones, Va’aiga Tuigamala and Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell.

The Parliamentary media conference was hosted by Dr Jackie Blue, National MP.

The opportunity to highlight the enormous damage being caused by heavy drinking and promote solutions based on credible research has come through a Law Commission’s ‘first principles’ review of the liquor laws headed by Sir Geoffrey Palmer. The team spent more than two years studying the international evidence, considering 3000 submissions, and culminated in the document ‘Alcohol in our lives: curbing the harm’.

The essence of the Law Commission’s recommendations is a set of strategies backed by the World Health Organisation, referred to as the 5+ Solution:

1. Raise alcohol prices
2. Raise the purchase age
3. Reduce alcohol accessibility
4. Reduce marketing and advertising
5. Increase drink driving countermeasures
PLUS: Increase treatment opportunities for heavy drinkers

“Dismantling the unbridled commercialisation of alcohol in New Zealand is the key to the changes required” Sir Paul says.

“The Government has a unique opportunity right now to make substantial changes to one of the most important social issues of our time.”


ENDS

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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