Claims of lack of action on alcohol by government
Recent media coverage in NZ about alcohol related harm has questioned why successive governments fail to take any meaningful action and have even been accused by some as turning a blind eye 'to a drug that sees thousands of Kiwis end up in jail cells, hospitals and early graves'.
The Law Commissions' 2010 report titled Alcohol In our Lives: Curbing the harm included 153 recommendations for reducing the effects of alcohol realated harm. Several key recommendations were not implemented by the National-led government at the time, including ones related to raising the age of purchase, regulating advertising and sponsorship, raising prices, and including an excise tax. Ten years on, and we are yet to see any meaningful action in this area also by the current government. These concerns were discussed at Alcohol Action NZ's national seminar. Alcohol Healthwatch executive director Nicki Jackson agrees that there is an urgent need te revisit what was recommended: "It should be abundantly clear to everyone now that the most effective way to protect communities and individuals from alcohol harm is to increase the price of alcohol, particularly low-cost alcohol." Read more about what the experts said on this area in the Stuff article here
In addition to this, several NZ health experts have asserted in their recent article published in the NZ Medical Journal that another government has missed an opportunity to curb excessive drinking and reduce harm. They are referring to the current government failing to act on the key recommendation relating to alcohol in the recent inquiry into mental health and addiction. They claim that alcohol is the drug doing the most damage to our mental health and wellbeing, and agree that we need 'bold leadership' on the areas of dismantling alcohol marketing, raising the price of alcohol and curbing alcohol sales:
"We remain hopeful that a government in the near future will show the necessary leadership to act boldly on alcohol, in similar fashion to the government which acted in the public's best interest on tobacco 30 years ago and in fact in similar fashion to this current government's recent action on guns," they said. Read more about what was publshed in the NZ Medical Journal here
The good news is that local action is taking place to address alcohol related harm in Taranaki. Interested in being part of the solution? Contact the Programme Manager from NPiS for more information.