I was getting ready to write about my disappointment with the Government’s just-announced liquor law “reforms” when I read this commentary by Garth George in the Herald.
I couldn’t think of a word I’d change, and so I thought, why bother?
His title says it all … Phoney booze war lack firepower! I urge you to read the entire piece, but to give you just a flavour …
“[The Government plans] are mostly nothing more than typical political compromises, designed to offend as few people as possible and cover political arses, while giving the appearance of doing something worthwhile.
Not only has it had a dollar each way on the drinking age, the Government has refused to increase the price of alcohol by upping excise taxes. It has declined to consider restricting advertising to point of sale and outlawing alcohol-related sponsorships. It has not even given a thought to removing alcohol from supermarkets, although it has picked on convenience stores and hasn’t forbidden blatant discounting, will only “investigate” minimum pricing; and has refused to reduce the drink-driving limit from .08 to .05.”
“Much is being made of the plan to make it illegal to supply under-18s with alcohol without parental consent. Yet the parental consent proposals are as full of holes as a net stocking.”
“Also missing from proposals is any attempt to provide additional treatment facilities for those with alcohol addiction, which will always happen irrespective of the stringency of the liquor laws.”
Do you want to know how he really feels?
“If the Government’s proposals for changes to the liquor laws are, as it says, an ‘all-out war on youth binge drinking’, then it’s destined to have about as much success as the campaign to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula in World War I.”
“So when all this posturing, pandering and pussy-footing comes into law – and the effect on our booze culture is zero – just remember you read it here first.”
P.S. And of course none of the changes are proposed to go into effect until after next year’s Rugby World Cup. It would appear sport cannot survive in New Zealand — or anywhere else in the world, for that matter — without alcohol industry sponsorship.