The big story for the day is the likely change in press regulation as the Leveson Report on questionable media ethics is about to released. But the next couple of stories are also interesting with similar (unresolved) stories here this year.
Firstly the Tory Government in the UK are to introduce Minimum Pricing on Alcohol – at ~90 NZc per unit. The recommendation was for ~$NZ1, but I guess they had to give the alcohol lobby something, considering they also intend to introduce bars on multi-buy (2 for 1 etc) deals in supermarkets. Pushed by the experts as the best thing they could do here, but dismissed by the Government as they distracted on age (which they didn’t change, even though Key voted for a rise to 20 – oh no, wait he didn’t…).
A Home Office impact assessment published alongside the consultation paper says a 45p minimum unit price would cut alcohol consumption by 3.3%, lead to 5,240 fewer crimes each year, reduce hospital admissions by 24,600 and lead to 714 fewer alcohol-related deaths. It would also cost the taxpayer about £200m a year in lost duty revenues.
The Home Office estimate is well below the estimate originally drawn up Sheffield University that a 45p minimum would cut consumption by 4.3% and lead to 2,000 fewer deaths.
Also being introduced – but only after a u-turn (David Cameron seems to be perfecting those) – is caps on payday loans.
“This may include rules that determine a maximum total cost for consumers of a product and determine the maximum duration of a supply of a product or service to an individual consumer.”
After voting down Carol Beaumont’s excellent member’s bill last term, National – through her Maungakiekie electoral opponent Sam Lotu-Iiga – briefly made noises about how to lower extortionate interest rates and other ways the poor are taken advantage of with these “payday loans”. Can we build the pressure here to get some better legislation on the same issue, and get our own conservative u-turn?