Now is the time to tackle our binge drinking culture
Every report we have read regarding child abuse and family violence says that alcohol abuse is a major contributing factor. A child is hugely at risk when an adult is under the influence of alcohol, and a recent survey by Massey University found that more than half of our sexual and physical assaults occurred while under the influence of alcohol. Our teenagers are binge drinking at an earlier age, and our health and justice system is clogged up with the fallout from our drinking culture.
The binge drinking culture has been spiralling out of control since liberalising laws and controls around alcohol abuse. In 1989 alcohol law changes eased restrictions for off-licence selling including supermarket and grocery stores selling wine, and availability increased as trading hours of on-licence venues were extended. And then in 1999 we foolishly lowered the drinking age, allowed the sale of beer in supermarkets and further increased trading hours.
The government’s response to alcohol laws will have little effect on our binge drinking culture and as a result the problems of domestic violence, child abuse, underage drinking, public drunkenness, repeat drunk driving offences and binge drinking will continue.
Polls over the last couple of years have shown that 2/3’rds to 3/4’s of NZ’ers want the drinking age raised to at least 20, instant fines for public drunkenness, on-license premises to close by 2am, and the legal blood-alcohol limit lowered to 50. These opinions have been ignored. The government says they are listening – the question is to who?
IT’S TIME THEY LISTENED TO YOU AND ME… FAMILIES
The lack of strong action on health warnings on all alcohol products, loss leading and availability within supermarkets, marketing of RTD’s, and pre-vetting and restrictions on alcohol advertising is all very disappointing.
BASIC OVERVIEW OF WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN
Here’s what we’re recommending:
* reduce marketing and advertising
* reduce alcohol accessibility e.g.restrict sales of alcohol from residential area bottle stores, grocery stores and supermarkets.
* More community say on liquor outlets. No ‘loss leading’.
* raise the tax on alcohol – this tax will help cover the huge costs to the health and justice system from alcohol abuse
* raise the drinking age (both purchasing and drinking age) to at least 20
* strong penalties for selling to underage
* penalties for public drunkenness
* health warnings on alcohol products and advertising
* increase treatment opportunities
Family First’s Submission CLICK HERE