No surprise here: politicians rarely get such laws right

There are no surprises that the law changes touted at taming binge-drinking have largely failed: Quote:

The Massey University study showed apart from a slight reduction in bars’ opening hours, not much had changed under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.

Lead researcher Stephen Randerson said restricting alcohol displays to a single area in supermarkets, banning discounts of more than 25 percent and allowing district councils to create their own alcohol policies had no discernible impact on problem drinking.

“If you really want to make a difference to alcohol-related harm, there’s really strong evidence that you need to just restrict the availability a little bit more, and address the cheapest alcohol and do something about the really high levels of marketing that are all around us.”

Almost every attempt by councils to restrict alcohol sales had faced legal challenges by the liquor industry – and been watered down or abandoned completely in some cases, he said.  End quote.

What did they expect? People who binge drink don’t care about laws and restrictions. They just want a drink and will do whatever it takes to get one. Silly by-laws and restrictions just inconvenience ordinary Kiwi drinkers who drink responsibly.

I’ll just bet that heaps of troughing scientists were involved in lobbying for these restrictions, which have now demonstrably failed. Quote

The New Zealand Alcohol Beverages Council dismissed the findings.

Executive director Nick Leggett said under the law, any council wanting to change the way alcohol was sold had to prove the changes could reduce alcohol-related harm.

“And sometimes when these things have gone to court, the court has looked at the evidence and found they can’t prove it.

Things like banning alcohol advertising, there’s no evidence that it reduces harm. And so, when that is produced we could have a good national discussion about it and I suspect some legislation. But until then, we’ve got to look at things that actually works.”

The solution was “more education and awareness”, Mr Leggett said.

However, National Addictions Centre head professor Doug Sellman said the claim that restricting advertising would not make any difference was false and ignored more than 30 years of research.

“The international evidence is pretty clear, that reductions in marketing – that’s advertising as well as sponsorship – would make a significant difference to alcohol related harm. So the industry are ignoring that international evidence.” End quote.

What about calling supermarket owners “drug dealers”? Would that work at reducing alcohol consumption? People like Doug Sellman have never met a ban or a tax they didn’t like. He needs to face facts that people like him get things wrong because they fail to deal with reality and live in a pollyanna-ish and cloistered world of what-ifs and maybes. He shouldn’t worry; we will have plenty of time in court to examine his ‘research’ and this will now be added to the list.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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