A bill proposing that a tax on alcoholic drinks should be scaled to match their alcohol content has passed its first stage in New Zealand, according to local reports.

The New Zealand Press Association said today (4 March) that the bill proposes that a levy used to fund education about alcohol abuse be scaled. Under the system, alcoholic beverages with a higher volume of alcohol should contribute a higher proportion of the levy, the report said.

An explanatory note with the bill argued that the current levy was "outdated, complex and did not cover new-types of beverage," and that while the Government considered dropping the levy, ministers decided they liked the higher levy for stronger alcoholic drinks.

MPs have agreed to send the bill to a select committee to be examined.