Don Kavanagh is the editor of Hospitality magazine.

Don Kavanagh: What else can we tax?


Don Kavanagh has had an absolute skinful of hand-wringing prohibitionists.

Deadbeat drinkers seem not to know - or care - when they've had enough. Photo / Thinkstock
Deadbeat drinkers seem not to know - or care - when they've had enough. Photo / Thinkstock

We've been inundated recently with studies and surveys that tell us we are all drinking ourselves to death.

Fair enough: any number of deadbeat swine turn up in court on any given day, claiming that they would never have battered that little old lady had a brewery not held them down and poured booze into them.

May I ask what happened to people taking responsibility for their own actions?

I don't want to get into the state of drunkenness that may lead to legal implications, and I know my limits. So I count the number of drinks I've had. The mathematics isn't that complicated.

I know where the border lies between being sparkling and funny and being a dick. I learned where it was and others should, too. It really is as simple as that.

We are drinking less now than we were 10 years ago, but the anti-alcohol lobby has persuaded everyone - especially the media, I am ashamed to say - that our streets are awash in cheap grog and our children are moving from the play pen straight to the public bar.

Certainly, there are problems in this country with the way young men and women drink. Clogging their bodies with cheap grog, then annoying the hell out of more responsible drinkers is hugely irritating.

As for the idea that increasing the excise tax will cut drinking, it's hard to see how the Government could tax alcohol any more than it does. On a litre bottle of spirits with a $36 price tag, the total tax is about $24. That's two-thirds of the actual price. How can they squeeze any more blood from that particular stone?

I'm sorry to bang on about this in a column that is supposed to be about enjoyment, but it really rips my undies when hand-wringing prohibitionists get a free ride in the media and the industry is dismissed as simply a self-interested mob of social polluters.

It's enough to drive any sane person to drink.

- Herald on Sunday

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