Peter Dunne, holder of the critical asset sales vote, has – according to Alcohol Action NZ spokesperson Professor Doug Sellman – “deliberately suppressed” the biggest and best survey on Kiwi attitudes to drink legislation this country has (not) seen.
82% want strong restrictions on alcohol advertising (half want it banned altogether). 56% want to see the price of cheap booze increased.
And no wonder – research shows that by far the biggest lever on reducing drinking (and in particular problem drinking) is price. And National refuse to pull that lever.
The second most effective thing? Reducing advertising. National are doing nothing there either.
“John Key’s approach to alcohol law reform has been driven by a desire not to offend the vast majority of responsible drinkers rather than trying to deal to and minimise the harm alcohol causes in society.”
“That’s why suppression of the Health Sponsorship Council’s research — showing the public are on the side of major reform — is so appalling.
“Quite clearly Kiwis are not in tune with the John Key-Peter Dunne softly, softly, weak-kneed approach. They want decisive action to curb alcohol abuse, but, for reasons best known only to itself, the Government decided to conceal this research at the time when it could have done most good.”
So why was the report shelved? According to Dunne it was to save $10,000 that it would need to be peer-reviewed. Quite why it was commissioned if they weren’t willing to pay the final cost is unclear. Or why they couldn’t have sent it to MPs un-peer-reviewed if cost was such a problem in the $12,500,000,000 health budget.
Dunne’s other excuse was that it just agreed with other things in the public domain. But there’s never been a survey like this, so it is important extra evidence of Kiwi attitudes.
It’s a poor show. But then, Ohariu will realise Dunne’s responsibility for the loss of our assets, so we only need put up with the hair for 3 more years. Just a shame how much damage he’ll let National do in that time.