web analytics

In the UK…

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 pm, November 29th, 2012 - 12 comments
Categories: alcohol, loan sharks, Media, uk politics - Tags:

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?

12 comments on “In the UK… ”

  1. karol 1

    Thanks for the links, Bunji.  And the Leveson inquiry is a significant one that puts the UK government in a difficult position.  In the linked article, Cameron says this:

    Cameron replied: “I would agree that a free press is absolutely vital to democracy.

    I think that he is referring to being free from state regulation and not from the influence of commercial media.  Also, in a SEMINAR a year ago, James Curran warned that this would be the argument used.

    To judge from this historical record, if the forthcoming Leveson report recommends any substantive reform, it will be denounced as an attack on press freedom; and if it fails to recommend a substantive reform, it will be judged a waste of time and money.

    I have also seen reports that focus on stars having their privacy infringed, which is the wrong focus.  Curran warns that one of the recurring problems in the UK press, is a ruling coalition between the media and government, which can happen if ownership of the media/press is concentrated into a small group of companies. This happened with the Murdoch press & the Thatcher government.

    Rather than focus on a limited notion of individualistic “freedom of expression”, Curran says the focus should be on the media serving the public good.  So he says the public should be included in the discussion and not just journalists and the government.  The aim should be for a free press that serves the public good.  

    Murdoch-style infotainment does not serve that good. Under this regime, a lot of the public have become disengaged from politics.  The whole idea of a free press being essential to democracy, is that it enables everyone to be able to critically and freely debate political issues.

    • Bunji 1.1

      Yes, definitely talking about freedom from the state, not from commercial considerations… Cameron is trying to work out a Third Way of some sort of regulator outside the media (Press Complaints Commission has proved toothless, as our equivalent here is), but free from the government. Like the judiciary, but a lot quicker…

      Focus is inevitably on the intrusions into privacy (the non-celebrity ones seen as more shocking by the public) as that was the cause of this scandal. It would be nice to have a broader enquiry into getting the 4th estate to look after the public good, and to have not just media owners and the government involved, but I suspect that’s a different enquiry – one that’s not going to happen (more’s the pity).

      That said, some of the privacy intrusions of celebrity I found quite shocking – in Dial M for Murdoch (partly written by crusading Labour MP Tom Watson) Hugh Grant was saying how everyone he tried to tell thought he was paranoid when he was saying you couldn’t report any crimes as the first person to turn up would be a tabloid journo, not a policeman. And indeed if you were mugged or robbed, likely nothing but a diary or similar would be taken, and the crime against you would be reported in the paper even if you didn’t report it to the police, and various details about your private life would start filtering into the gossip columns… Of course you couldn’t report it to the police because… It’s quite scary the level of corruption… (but it was alright, it was largely targeted at celebrities…)

      • Bunji 1.1.1

        Also interesting that all 3 major parties in the UK want a united line on such a divisive issue, but apparently unable to find one so far – looks like it’s going to be the first separate statements from the Tory’s Liberal Democrat partners on an issue in their House of Commons.

        Also a good thought – As this enquiry is into the press, it’s possibly irrelevant to 21st century journalism – based on the net and blogs…

        And I’m just further derailing my own thread which I was meaning to focus on the other 2 issues – minimum price for alcohol & payday loan sharks 🙂

        Oh well.

        (incidentally I’m going to write a post on my current book I’m reading, Flat Earth News at some point in the next week – scary how rotten journalism has become…)

        • rosy 1.1.1.1

          Flat Earth News is a must read for anyone interested in how news is produced. Nick Davies was also an integral cog in the breaking of the news that tabloids were making news through illegal means.

          I’m watching SkyUK and BBC positioning themselves for the Leveson report. Mostly along the lines of it’s too important to play party politics on this (Clegg and Cameron seem at odds on regulation) but at the same time putting the view forward that regulation will prevent the press criticising the State and the separation of press and state is sacrosanct.

          This is a bit hypocritical on two counts – the first is that information gathering such as phone tapping is already illegal and other methods such as phoning up banks, hospitals and the like pretending to be the owner of the information and receiving information from these sources when your not entitled to it (blagging, I think they call it) should be illegal. The second is that the cosy relationships between the press, politicians and corporate lobbyists already precludes the press criticising the State and it even influencing elections.

          I’ll definitely be watching to see what Leveson has come up with.

        • karol 1.1.1.2

          Well, it was me that derailed your thread, Bunji – sorry.

          The state of journalism is a pretty hot topic here right now.  I agree the issue of privacy is important.  Look forward to your post on Flat Earth News. 

  2. karol 2

    On the issue of alcohol pricing and age: I don’t usually comment a lot on the alcohol issue – I don’t drink.

    Generally, my main complaint is when the alcohol industry is exploitative,, causing harm to people or society in order to make a profit.  Ditto for the loan shark industry.  I just don’t think the latter should exist.  Also what about remedies that mean low paid workers are paid enough to get to the next pay day?

    Minimum pricing on alcohol is fine by me, unless someone can provide good evidence that this will harm people, especially the young, and/or will be harmful to society in general. 

    • CJ 2.1

      Karol – re the minimum alcohol pricing – I can’t say that there is evidence that this will actually harm people; though obviously the evidence of too much alcohol is well established. The main thing to me is that there is no real evidence that this will actually prevent the type of drinking that it’s intended to.

      In my experience those who have a problem with drink will buy alcohol, no matter what the price and at the expense of buying food, paying rent etc. The policy may well actually further harm those who it’s “supposed” to help, while having no affect at all on the drinking patterns of the vast majority of the population.

      The Scottish Government is a bit further ahead down the road on this policy having passed the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing)(Scotland) Act 2012 already – at 50p a unit (just over $1 at today’s rate).

      This debate was raised more by the actions of supermarkets over alcohol sales rather then the drink industry itself – in Scotland/rUK the big supermarkets had massive numbers of alcohol promotions/discounts and just cheap drink as part of their “loss leaders” policies, very often having cans of lager/bottles of wine which were cheaper than non-alcoholic drinks. And cheaper than off-licences which can’t afford to compete with their pricing structures.

      After all if you head to Asda for your voddy you’re not going to bother going to Tesco for the rest of your messages are you?

      For Scotland and rUK, however, there is question that this may run contrary to EU laws – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-20533189 so even if Westminster pass such a law for the rUK it may well never be enforceable. This point though would not be an issue for the same laws in NZ.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        In my experience those who have a problem with drink will buy alcohol, no matter what the price and at the expense of buying food, paying rent etc.

        This is true to some degree. But someone with $15 left to their name can only buy 5 standard drinks if its $3/std drink, as opposed to buying 15 standard drinks when it is an unregulated $1/std drink.

        • CJ 2.1.1.1

          True too – but then there is also the possibility of bootleg alcohol, and a return to the old Scots “solutions” to that. And they *will* replace everything else that they’d have spent that money on with the alcohol – which is more of a problem than the number of drinks.

          That $15 might have had them buy 10 drinks and a pie, but they won’t buy that pie now.

          The combination of little or no food with rougher, cheaper alcohol is a nightmare scenario to me.

  3. karol 3

    So, the Leveson Report is now out.  It’s claiming that, by and large,, the press works well in working in the public interest.  The main concern is for the press to be free from government interference – but really nothing about the impact of commercial interests or concentration of media ownership, in compromising the freedom of the press or that they act in the public interest.

    So the recommendation is for the press to decide what the set standards will be, based on a law set by government.  It recommends that once all this has been decided by the press, the press, editors etc, should not be on the regulatory board:

     The Chair and the other members of the body must be independent and appointed by a fair and open process. It must comprise a majority of members who are independent of the press. It should not include any serving editor or politician.

    But, it is still the press regulating itself once or twice removed. It should not be up to the corporate-dominated press to decide on the criteria of what is in the public interest. And the Inquiry has not recognised the damage to democracy done by concentrated media ownership, or the unacceptable alliance between the press and government.

    • Rogue Trooper 3.1

      Thanks for the update karol, saves wasting time watching tele unnecessarily 🙂 and leaves Standard
      readers more time for Critical Thinking

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Update to air border order strengthens crew requirements
    Additional measures coming into effect on Monday will boost our defence against COVID-19 entering New Zealand through the air border, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “As part of our precautionary approach and strategy of constant review, we’re tightening the requirements around international aircrew,” Chris Hipkins said. The COVID-19 Public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • A true picture of Māori business activity
    A better picture of the contribution Māori businesses make to the economy will be possible with changes to the way information is collected about companies and trading enterprises. Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced a new option for Māori enterprises who are part ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF funding for Taranaki projects
    The South Taranaki museum, a New Plymouth distillery and a Pasifika building firm will benefit from a Government investment totalling more than $1 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The $1.05m in grants and loans from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will help the recipients expand and create ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Fijian Language Week 2020 inspires courage and strength during COVID-19 pandemic
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the theme for the 2020 Fijian Language Week reflects the strong belief by Fijians that their language and culture inspires courage and strength that is strongly needed in times of emergencies, or through a significant challenge like the global COVID-19 pandemic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Trades training builds on iwi aspirations
    An investment of $2.025 million from the Māori Trades and Training Fund will support Māori to learn new skills while making a positive difference for their communities, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “K3 Development Limited Partnership will receive $2,025,000 for its Takitimu Tuanui apprenticeship programme, which will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Conservation Minister plants two millionth tree in Raglan restoration
    A long-term conservation project led by the Whaingaroa Harbour Care group in the western Waikato reaches a significant milestone this week, with the planting of the two millionth tree by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “Planting the two millionth tree crowns 25 years of commitment and partnership involving Whaingaroa ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago