Alcohol Reform Bill Submission

Submission to Justice and Electoral Sub-Committee on behalf of BPW NZ by Angela McLeod

Oral Submission to Justice and Electoral Sub-committee

 

New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women

Thank you.

“Excessive drinking and intoxication is contributing to New Zealand’s crime rate, injury rate and road crash statistics and is affecting the nation’s overall level of health. Excessive drinking also impacts on absenteeism and workplace productivity and contributes to family violence and child abuse. Alcohol is estimated to contribute to 1 000 deaths a year in New Zealand, and is implicated in 30 percent of all police recorded offences, 34 percent of recorded family violence, and 50 percent of all homicides. It is estimated that during weekends, up to 70 percent of injury-based emergency department presentations are alcohol related. ACC estimates that nearly 25 percent of all claims are alcohol-related. The direct costs to the taxpayer of alcohol-related harm in New Zealand have been estimated to be as high as $1,200 million per annum”

We want to see:

Less advertising and promotion of alcohol

Clear labeling of warnings re health effects

Minimum purchase age of 20 years

Restrict hours of sale

Lowering blood alcohol limit for drivers

This bill addresses some of these but not adequately, and a couple, not.

Stop tinkering

Make full use of the opportunity to change New Zealand for good.  This is your chance to legislate to change behaviour.

  1. Less advertising and promotion of alcohol.  Part 5 Clause 220 doesn’t cut it
  2. Clear labeling – warning labels – nothing
  3. Minimum purchase age of 20 – Do not confuse people, make it a clean 20
  4. Restrict hours – Part 2 Clauses 9-11 are way too liberal.  People can drink for nearly a complete 24 hours
  5. Blood alcohol limit – nothing, nada, not a bean

Let’s go back to the information I read out at the beginning.  Did you recognise it?

Pause

It’s the general policy statement of the bill.

It talks about road crash statistics but there is nothing in this bill on the blood alcohol limit

It talks about alcohol affecting the nation’s overall health but no health warning labels required.

Alcohol leads to 1000 deaths per year, yet this bill will let people drink for 20 hours of a 24 hour day.

34% of recorded family violence is due to alcohol and yet, as Ministry of Women’s Affairs says, the damaging impacts of violence against women also impacts on the nation’s ability of achieving a step change in economic performance.

This bill lets marketing gurus advertise alcohol in our faces – every day.  Have you seen the size of the, very clever marketing mind you, Tui billboard on the Hutt motorway?  This morning it says: one ball 7 Tour de France, no steroids.  Yeah right.  Or those very beautiful advertisements in the glossy magazines for Bombay Gin?  Mothers ruin.  Even my grandparents knew the danger of drink.

Most worryingly, is the use of language in the bill – safe; responsible; reasonable.

What does responsible drinking look like?  How safe is safe?  Define reasonable.

Guarantee it’s different to me, or my father, you and even so my sister, who ran a pub for ten years and copped it every day.  Who has a restraining order on an ex-boyfriend who a friendly policeman told me that I had a right to be concerned for her safety, because he was violent and it was fuelled by alcohol.

New Zealand is a signatory to CEDAW and needs to honour Article 3 – guaranteeing women the exercise of fundamental human rights and freedoms, and the CDEAW committee concluding comment #24, women have the right to be free from violence.

New Zealand government needs to change the bill so that

  1. Age of purchase is further restricted
  2. Hours are further restricted
  3. Marketing is restricted

And the bill needs to include

  1. Labeling
  2. Blood alcohol limit

And: an impact analysis.  Not just on regulation.  On people – women

Please think: how is this going to affect our women – half of the population, our carers?

We hold up half the sky.

Stop tinkering – make full use of the opportunity you have to change New Zealand for good.  This is your chance to legislate to change behavior.

Take it.

Questions asked:

Paul Quinn – What do I think the age of maturity is?

Answer: Depends on whether male or female.  Research tells us that men do not generally mature until 25 – some even 45 – and much younger for women

Paul Quinn – the majority of your submission is on age – why? When we allow 18year olds to fight for the country, vote and drive

Answer: We could discuss at length but we are here to discuss the Alcohol Law Reform Bill and our policy states that the purchasing age should be 20.

Sue Kedgley – do we support labeling, in particular that which warns of fetal alcohol syndrome

I read out the rationale from policy and said yes we would support a push for labeling

Paul Quinn – wonder why we think someone is mature enough to use a gun in combat yet they can’t purchase alcohol

Answer: we could talk about this to the cows come home but we are here to talk about Alcohol Law Reform and our policy states that the purchasing age of alcohol should be 20

Charles Chauvel – you do not mention price in your submission

Answer: our policy was discussed and voted on at our conference which was before the Law Commission report. I imagine that one day we will and then we can include price in any future submissions.

Impact of this oral submission:

 

Reported on NewztalkZB – where Angela McLeod was quoted.

 

Written Submission

 

18 February 2011

SUBMISSION

Justice and Electoral Select Committee Parliament Wellington

Re: Alcohol Reform Bill

Introduction

This submission is from the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women Inc.

Our organisation

Our organisation’s aims are to link professional and businesswomen throughout the world, to provide support, to lobby for change and to promote the on-going advancement of women. We work for equal opportunities and status for all women in economic, civil and political life and the removal of discrimination in all countries. We promote our aims and organise our operating structure without distinction as to race, language or religion.

Our structure is comprised of a National Executive, 24 branches located nationwide between Kaitaia and Southland, with a number of individual members in areas where there is no branch. We are an a-party political organisation.

Our International organisation supports UNIFEM and CEDAW and other United Nations committees in support of equality for women.

Our interest in this bill is because we are a women’s group who are committed to ensure the health, well-being and safety for all working women and their families through advocacy, education and mentoring.

As alcohol has a large bearing on the deportment and attitudes of people towards violence in the home and within the community as well as causing economic stress within families that have members who are dependent on alcohol, we feel very strongly on being able to promote education and give authorities the power to actively reduce the harm associated with the consumption of alcohol.

We submit our views on the Alcohol Reform Bill as we have policy that was passed in 1992, 1999, 2005, and 2010 and, as New Zealand is a signatory to CEDAW, believe that more can be done in to protect women; refer below:

15.19 Alcohol and Drugs

15.19.1 Liquor Advertising

APPEAL to the Broadcasting Standard’s authority to revoke its decision to allow brand advertising of beer, wine and spirits on television and radio, since its likely effect will be to increase alcohol consumption which has concomitant adverse social effects.

15.19.2 Alcohol Labelling

URGE the Minister of Health to ensure that any product containing 5% or greater alcohol content be identified with a health warning label and that any advertising of such products also include a health warning.

Rationale:

Alcohol taken by pregnant women may cause foetal alcohol syndrome or foetal effect. Alcohol is a major factor in criminal behaviour and domestic violence. Alcohol can alter the efficiency of prescribed medication causing major disruption to individual health status.

15.19.15 Alcohol Minimum Purchasing Age

URGE the government to restore the minimum alcohol purchasing age to 20 years.

Rationale:

New Zealand and international research shows a clear relationship between lowering the age at which alcohol can be purchased, and an increase in alcohol related problems, for example injuries, illnesses, violence, time away from work or education, crime, in younger age groups. There is also a predicted rise in sexually transmitted diseases as a result of increased access to liquor at a younger age.

15.19.5 Limitations On The Sale Of Alcohol

“THAT the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women Inc. urges the Minister of Justice to introduce legislation:

  • Raising the age for purchasing alcohol from any licensed premises to 20 years.
  • Restricting off-license opening hours to 10 am to 10 pm and make it unlawful for on-license premises to sell alcohol after1 am.
  • Reducing marketing and advertising of alcohol through television, radio, cinema, billboard or internet; and limiting advertising of alcohol to information related to the product rather than promoting values or lifestyle; and prohibiting advertising which is targeted at youth.
  • Lowering the blood alcohol limit from 0.06 to 0.05 for those 20 years and over, and to zero for those under 20 years.”

Thank you for the opportunity to send in a submission, and we would like to take up the opportunity of appearing before the committee with an oral submission.

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