Last month, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne told us “I don’t support a minimum pricing regime … a lot of the material that I’ve seen from other jurisdictions raises more doubts than support for the issue of minimum alcohol pricing“. Now, an OIA reveals the actual advice to Dunne was that the international evidence shows minimum alcohol pricing works.
I/S has the details:
Last month, Peter Dunne gave an interview on TVNZ’s “Q and A”, in which he attacked the concept of minimum alcohol pricing, saying
I don’t support a minimum pricing regime as currently proposed… putting my hat on as Associate Health Minister for a moment, a lot of the material that I’ve seen from other jurisdictions raises more doubts than support for the issue of minimum alcohol pricing
Someone was curious about this, and used FYI, the public OIA website, to request this advice. Dunne responded with a collection of briefing papers. So what does this advice say? That
International reviews have concluded that increasing the price of alcohol is one of the most effective strategies to reduce the consumption of alcohol and, therefore, alcohol-related harm. Establishing a minimum price is a targeted way to reduce the availability of cheap alcohol.
The message is consistent across all the advice released. It does not just endorse minimum-pricing, it explicitly recommends its introduction, via a regulation allowing the Minister of Justice to set such prices at a later date (the delay being so they can hash out the final introduction details in light of moves in the UK). There is no doubt in any of the advice about the efficacy of the move, and no evidence at all from other jurisdictions raising such doubts.
Dunne mentions several other sources he recalls reading on the issue: the law Commission’s report on Alcohol and our lives, ALAC’s submission on the Law Commission’s issues paper, the National Committee for Addiction Treatment’s submission on the Alcohol Reform Bill, and the Drug Foundation’s factsheet on alcohol pricing. All of these explicitly support a minimum price.
The conclusion from this: either Peter Dunne doesn’t actually read the advice he was given on alcohol pricing, or he lied about it to please his booze-industry backers. Either way, I am not impressed.