Government accused of alcohol review cover-up

3 News 11 Dec 2011
The Government is tonight being accused of a cover-up – burying major research that shows overwhelming public support for alcohol reform. The research, which was most comprehensive ever conducted of New Zealanders’ attitudes towards alcohol, was undertaken to inform the review of liquor laws but it was never made available to the politicians involved in that process because Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne put a stop to it. After a request was made under the Official Information Act, the report has been made official.

The results of the survey showed:
82 percent support or strongly support increased restrictions on alcohol advertising. 56 percent felt the same about raising the price of cheap alcohol. 78 percent wanted the purchase age raised to 20. The survey began last year when the Ministry of Health asked the government-owned Health Sponsorship Council to include – as part of a major study surveying 1700 New Zealanders – a range of questions about alcohol. The Ministry of Health sent the draft results to Peter Dunne saying it would cost $10,000 for the report to be finalised and peer reviewed. But the associate minister’s office put a stop to it — saying the $10,000 could be better spent elsewhere – and so the report was never published.
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