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NRT: Dunne on alcohol pricing

Written By: - Date published: 9:52 am, August 7th, 2012 - 48 comments
Categories: alcohol - Tags: ,

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:

———————————————–

Dunne on alcohol pricing

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.

48 comments on “NRT: Dunne on alcohol pricing ”

  1. BernyD 1

    It seems common place now for these ministers to force their own personal views onto NZ society, using studies or analysys of others to support their personal decision.

    The studies don’t even agree with them, but they don’t care, their burden of responsibility ends once they’ve made up their own minds, regardless of any fact at all.

    They stand in front of the nation posturing pathetically, trying to convince us they’re thoughtfull human beings, when the truth is they’re all just slobbering for the money and don’t do any real work at all.

    Our MP’s should be qualified to manage our society, not qualified to feed us bullshit with a smile.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Follow the US example. The neo-cons fund studies through tame academics and tame think tanks which say what they want them to say. And look where its got the US so far.

      • Augustus 1.1.1

        Like the BERL report, you mean? That’s where mike e’s figure below comes from, not fact.

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          BERL has one of the top analyst teams in the country. Shame the facts aren’t convenient for you, but there they remain.

          • Augustus 1.1.1.1.1

            Refer back to your original post..

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1.1

              The difference that you seem to be missing is that BERL is a commercial enterprise and not a funded think tank. This means that it actually has to give advice based upon facts and not twist the truth to give the desired result.

    • mike e 1.2

      PR spin is this govt’s policy.
      while alcohol does 5to 6 billion dolars worth of damage every year after year we are borrowing 13 billion ayear to subsidize alcoholism.
      all we get from this

  2. Olwyn 2

    One must remember that Bennett’s benefit reforms are also based on studies, and much as I am reluctant to defend Dunne, he may have had reasons for not accepting these particular studies. A thinking person critically engages with a study and does not treat it as a form of catechism. Moreover, I would rather see the the left focussing on the more demanding task of delivering economic justice to the poor, not managing their pleasures or bad habits for the self-satisfaction of the better-off.

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

      Here’s what he said Olwyn:

      a lot of the material that I’ve seen from other jurisdictions raises more doubts than support for the issue of minimum alcohol pricing

      When asked for the things he was talking about, he gave out a bunch of stuff that supported min. pricing. It’s not about rejecting the advice, is about telling lies about what the advice was.

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 2.1.1

        Or he can say that the material he has seen from other jurisdictions isn’t the material released under the OIA. Perhaps he “advised himself”. Minimum pricing studies are just like lawyers, after all

      • Olwyn 2.1.2

        Yes I saw that. But he still may have found the support they gave for their claims unconvincing. In which case they would have raised doubts; as in “All very well, but there are a number of significant objections that they have not considered,” etc. Although if this was his response it is true he could have given a fuller explanation, and perhaps sought out other papers to cite.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.1

          But he still may have found the support they gave for their claims unconvincing.

          Fine, where’s the peer reviewed doctoral thesis showing his arguments and proof.

          We shouldn’t be governed by personal opinion but by facts.

          • Olwyn 2.1.2.1.1

            I’d be very surprised if there was a knock down argument for something as relative and context dependent as minimum pricing for alcoholic drinks.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Especially when the evidence from numerous countries shows that minimum pricing works.

        • felix 2.1.2.2

          “Yes I saw that. But he still may have found the support they gave for their claims unconvincing.”

          If so, that’s what he should have said. Then people could weigh up for themselves whether Dunne’s argument was more convincing than the arguments presented in the material mentioned.

          But instead he lied to make it look as if the material agreed with him.

          Oh cheeky cheeky
          Oh naughty sneaky
          You’re so perceptive
          And I wonder how you knew.

      • BernyD 2.1.3

        If he even read the report, It’s just paper to help him spew words justifying his own choices.
        The fact that the actual reports he handed over said the opposite of what he was saying indicates he didn’t even know what was in the report.

  3. This post appears to be is confusing increasing alcohol prices with minimum prices.

    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… All of these explicitly support a minimum price.

    This is what the Law Commission’s report actually says:

    A mandatory minimum retail price is designed to target cheap alcohol and operate in addition to the excise tax system, with research showing that health and social benefits can accrue from such a scheme.

    However, efforts to assess the potential impact of a minimum price in New Zealand have been hindered by a lack of sales data that shows the volumes being sold at various prices.

    ALAC supports a minimum retail price policy in theory as an alternative to increasing the excise tax rates, but recommends that further research and policy work is needed to determine what the magnitude and nature of the impact would be in New Zealand relative to any increase in excise tax.

    ALAC also recommends that to enable further work to happen, the lack of access to sales data (price and volume) for the purposes of policy analysis needs to be addressed.

    So ALAC explicity refers to a lack of data and explicity recommends further research. That’s exactly what Judith Collins says is happening.

    From the Drug Foundation’s fact sheet:

    The Law Commission recommended
    increasing the excise tax on alcohol by
    50 percent. This would lead to an average
    increase in retail prices of 10 percent.
    They advised this was the most effective
    way to reduce alcohol-related harm.

    The post appears to be a beatup by NRT.

    • The NZ Drug Foundation summary, “Let’s get it right”:

      Seventy-five percent of submissions to the Law Commission supported increasing the
      price of alcohol. A majority of submissions to the Justice and Electoral Select
      Committee on the Alcohol reform Bill also supported increasing the price of alcohol.

      To get it right, the Alcohol reform Bill needs to:
      • increase excise tax by 50 percent to achieve a 10 percent average increase in retail prices
      • ring-fence revenue from excise tax on alcohol to pay for harm prevention, addiction treatment and rehabilitation services
      • include a definite timeframe for the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol.

      No recommendation there on minimum prices.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      So the Law Commission’s report explicitly supports a minimum price. So does ALAC. Good. So, why did PDunne say otherwise? There were no doubts except just how much the minimum price should be.

      Nice attempt at a diversion to Judith Collins though.

      • Pete George 3.2.1

        Everyone explicity says there’s a lack of data on minimum pricing and it needs more data and more research. Including Judith Collins, hence the link.

        And as quoted in the post Dunne said: “I don’t support a minimum pricing regime as currently proposed…”

        From Dunne:

        “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”

        I totally agree with that statement and always have done, since my ALAC says in the 1970s and early 1980s.

        So Dunne is saying the same as everyone else on this.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1

          No he’s not. Everyone except Dunne is saying that they support a minimum price regime.

          • felix 3.2.1.1.1

            I don’t.

            If you want people to stop fucking themselves up, give them some hope that society has something better to offer.

            Making them even poorer is just a cruel joke.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1.1.1

              If you want people to stop fucking themselves up, give them some hope that society has something better to offer.

              Yep, another one of the reasons I want a space program.

              Making them even poorer is just a cruel joke.

              How is it making them poorer? They don’t have to drink and studies seem to show that the poor generally don’t.

              • felix

                Poorer financially if they do want to carry on drinking, but also poorer in the sense of losing one avenue of relief in a grim world without being offered an alternative if they don’t.

                And all of us poorer in the sense that our society becomes that little bit less equitable in yet another little way.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  If you want social equity then you need to look elsewhere. The top 1% who happen to be controlling the flow of wealth (via their bought and paid for politicians) to themselves is my suggestion.

                  • felix

                    Well yeah, that’s exactly what I’m saying Draco.

                    People getting fucked up isn’t the problem. The problem is we have a society so out of balance that for a lot of people the best response they can come up with is to get fucked up.

          • Colonial Viper 3.2.1.1.2

            That’s why he’s good mates with the hundred million dollar alcohol industry.

          • Pete George 3.2.1.1.3

            “Everyone except Dunne is saying that they support a minimum price regime.”

            Wrong. Judith Collins says they are looking for more data and research.

            And it’s been reported that several Labour MPs don’t support it.

            TVNZ reported Labour had the numbers to pass the minimum pricing regime but it appears Mr Chauvel may not have all his colleagues on board, let alone the crucial votes of United Future and ACT.

            That is because Labour is treating the changes as a conscience vote and several of its MPs oppose minimum pricing.

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7237511/Today-in-politics-Saturday-July-7

  4. or he lied about it to please his booze-industry backers.

    Who’s lying? Dunne says:

    The claim I receive financial support from the industry is nothing more than a lie spread with malice.

    And it seems to be an accusation that keeps being spread here.

    • Te Reo Putake 4.1

      🙄
       
      Wow, Pete’s reduced to stealing my jokes. This was me, yesterday, when the issue of Dunne’s BS was first raised:
       
      “This is a typical left wing beat up and it does the Standard no credit that you would allows this baseless Labour Party smear to be repeated.
       
      Lying has always been UF policy. Peter Dunne mentioned it at every candidate meeting I attended and I won’t need two days to find evidence of that like I did with Asset Sales.”
       
       

      • Pete George 4.1.1

        Te Reo Putake, yesterday you were asking people here to join the Labour Party. And now you are (again) trying to spread smears and accusations of lies.

        What sort of party are you trying to promote? How was it you hoped to encourage all the non-voters to vote?

        The worst of politics is not the best of advertisements.

        • Te Reo Putake 4.1.1.1

          🙄

        • felix 4.1.1.2

          Ah of course. This is a Labour Party issue, not a Dunne First issue.

          Goodo.

          • Pete George 4.1.1.2.1

            No, it’s an issue of commenters here making repeated false accusation. That one is associated with Labour membership recruitment does happen to reflect on their party.

            • felix 4.1.1.2.1.1

              Oh look! He said he didn’t say it, then he said it again!

              Been hanging around lying weasel-wording politicians I reckon.

        • tracey 4.1.1.3

          pete, are you saying that an avreage person reading what dunne said wouldnt get the impression that he read papers which said minimum prices dont work?

          • Pete George 4.1.1.3.1

            Tracey, this is what he’s quoted as saying (the whole section of transcript):

            SHANE Let’s take a look at some of the issues that are coming up, like the alcohol reforms. Do you support a minimum price for alcohol?

            PETER I certainly don’t support the Labour Party’s amendment, which I think is remarkably elitist. To say that we’ll have a minimum price of $12 for a bottle of wine because people who can’t afford to pay $12 shouldn’t pay a lesser price, but Chardonnay socialists who can pay $25, $30 for a bottle of wine will still be able to get their wine. I think that’s a really elitist and ridiculous argument.

            SHANE So you don’t support a regime?

            PETER I don’t support a minimum pricing regime as currently proposed. Were there to be evidence that would suggest a workable scheme, I would look at it. But I have to say, 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.

            SHANE The minister also doesn’t seem that supportive of such a regime because she says it’s just going to line the pockets of the liquor industry.

            PETER I assume you mean Minister Collins?

            SHANE Minister Collins, yes.

            PETER Well, I think there are a lot of arguments to have, but, you see, we’re leaping ahead here to say that my vote will be the determining one on this issue. I don’t know that. I don’t know what NZ First is doing.

            SHANE But you’ve made your mind up, though?

            PETER I have, but it’s not to do with whether it’s the casting vote. It’s what I think is the correct policy outcome in this case would be.

            I don’t see how anyone would “get the impression that he read papers which said minimum prices dont work”. Do you?

            And especially when you read the papers that have been linked to, most emphasis is on increasing prices through excise tax, and there is an accepted lack of data and research on minimum price effectiveness.

            Dunne is being consistent with what is being considered and discussed in New Zealand.

            So someone is trying to make a diss out of nothing here. And making blatantly incorrect accusations which emphasises the likelihood they were trying to smear rather than provide an honest criticism.

            • felix 4.1.1.3.1.1

              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

              Like you didn’t know.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.2

      Of course all donations made under the election rules to United Future are ‘anonymous’ so we will never know .

      Thats $25000 worth of anonymous. How convenient.

      We all know how Banks who was publicly opposed to poker machines went out to obtain his anonymous donations from Sky City. So some of Nationals support partners have been caught out lying in their returns, are there others ?

  5. Roy 5

    Maybe Dunne read those reports through the bottom of a gin bottle?

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    Dunne protects the oversized profits and volume sales of the alcohol industry at the expense of ordinary society.

    “Tweaking”? what a brave vision you politicians hold for NZ.

  7. xtasy 7

    “Freibier” for everyone, except alcoholics. That about should keep the people happy, aye?

    I am against the draconian approach, but addressing the root problem. That is nurturing immature mind sets in NZ society. NZ is a country, where children are in large parts not looked after and educated properly, but otherwise treated like “nanny” material for the rest of their lives. The media, politicians and so forth do it. You are treated like an immature idiot, so you must be “guided”, indoctrinated and fed the stuff that keeps t he economy going (commercial crap).

    There is little preoccupation about what being a human really means, about what matters apart from earning your dollars, apart from stupid media brainwashing and what else. It is all consumerism, dumbing down and more. So nobody in NZ learns much to think for themselves, it is delivered to them what to think.

    How can people with that predisposed situation and crap environment learn to make mature decisions?

    They cannot. So let them be allowed to drink, get sick, vomit, and learn their lessons. Those that get addicted need intervention and support and can be helped. Those that do not want to listen at all will waste themselves anyway.

    So by prohibiting or high pricing it will be solved? Ha, I doubt it. Get into home brew and other drugs, that will be the way.

    The problem is there is no decent society to enjoy, hence drugs are the next best option to opt out of this shit. That is why people largely dring and drug to excesses, nothing else. Maybe hold a mirror in front if society and not only your faces?

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