Editorial: Govt should stick to guns on 'alcopops'

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Sweet-tasting and high-strength "alcopops" have become the drink of choice for many young women. They take much of the blame for binge-drinking, and governments, unsurprisingly, are seeking to limit their consumption. Australia imposed a 70 per cent tax hike on them.

Most alcopop drinkers simply switched to other spirits. The Key Government, however, has come up with an alternative that could be more effective.

It wants, as part of the Alcohol Reform Bill, to ban off-licence stores from selling alcopops with more than 6 per cent alcohol content. Some drinkers may react, once again, by opting for substitutes. But the attraction of alcopops is their sweetness and cheapness. It may just be that deprived of this, young women, especially, may reduce their drinking.

The threat of this outcome was enough to persuade managing directors from companies which sell products such as Bacardi and Jim Beam to attend a meeting with the Justice Minister.

This indicated they see the Government's proposal as a threat to an increasingly important market. And why else would the industry have started a concerted attack from two angles? First, it questions why alcopops have been singled out. Secondly, it says the ban would fly in the face of transtasman free trade agreements.

Neither point is convincing. Alcopops are being tackled because they have been identified as being especially harmful. Further, governments must have the freedom to address social problems as they see fit. In the public health field, this means, most obviously, curbing the use of alcohol and tobacco.

The European Court upheld the right of Sweden and France to place restrictions on the sale of alcopops. The Government, with little to fear and much to gain, should stick to its guns.

Te Reo
Ko nga inu e tino hiahiatia e nga rangatahi wahine ko nga 'waipiro-reka' awenewene, tino kaha hoki.

No koinei te putake nui o te apu waipiro, whaia ka tahuri te Kawanatanga ki te rapu huarahi hei whakaiti i te inumanga o tenei waipiro. He 70 orau te piki o te take ki enei inu i Ahitereiria. Ko te nuinga o te hunga inu waipiro-reka ka huri ke ki etahi atu waipiro kaha. Engari kua kitea pea e te Kawanatanga tetahi whakarite whaitake.

Ko tana, i roto i te Ture Whakahou Waipiro, he rahui i nga toa kore raihana mai i te hoko waipiro whai ranu waipiro neke atu i te 6 orau. Ka tahuri ano pea etahi kaiinu ki etahi atu inu. Engari ko te kukume o nga waipiro-reka ko tona awenewene me te iti o te utu. Ma te whakakore i tenei, ka iti haere ano tona inuhia e nga wahine rangatahi.

Na te mataku kei tupono ki tenei ahuatanga ka taki whakaae nga tumuaki o nga kamupene hoko waipiro penei i a Bacardi me Jim Beam ki te hui tahi me te Minita o te Ture. E tohu ana tenei kei te maharahara ratau kei tamia e tenei kaupapa Kawanatanga ta ratau makete whaihua. He aha atu ano te take i atete ai tenei ahumahi ki te tuku paha mai i nga taha e rua. Tuatahi, ko ta ratau patai he aha i tino arotahi atu ai ki nga waipiro-reka. Tuarua, ka tukituki tenei rahui ki te whakaaetanga tauhokohoko herekore i waenga i a Ahitereria.

Kaore he take o enei tohe e rua. I whakaritea ko nga waipiro-reka na te mea kua kitea he mate nui ka puta i tenei inu. Waihoki, me watea nga kawanatanga ki te whakatika i nga raruraru a-iwi e ai ki o ratau ake whakaaro. I te rangai hauora tumatanui, ko te tikanga o tenei ko te whakaiti i te inu waipiro me te kai hikareti. I tautokohia e te Koti o Uropi te mana o Huirangi me Wiwi ki te whakatau tikanga whakatiki mo te hoko waipiro-reka. Ko ta te Kawanatanga me pumau ia ki tona kaupapa, kia kaua e wehi ina he nui nga hua ka puta.

- NZ Herald

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