New Zealands Prime Minister John Key is not convinced minimum pricing will work

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key is not convinced minimum pricing will work

New Zealand's Prime Minister has said he is unconvinced a minimum price on alcohol in the country would be effective, but faces poltical pressure to consider the measure, according to local reports.

An Alcohol Reform Bill, which will bring in changes to the way drink is sold and accessibility, is due back in Parliament later this month. The bill does not currently include measures on pricing.

The opposition Labour Party, however, is seeking to introduce an amendment to the bill that will give the option for a minimum price. New Zealand's Justice Ministry is also looking into whether minimum pricing would be effective and is due to report back in September. 

But Prime Minister John Key yesterday (2 July) voiced concerns about the effectiveness of intervening on pricing. "They've tried it in Scandinavia, it's very expensive there and people still get wasted," he said, according to 3news.co.nz

"Raising the price can just push people down the quality track ... I'm not convinced minimum pricing would do much good."

He added: "How much would you have to increase the price to stop people buying that? I don't think pushing it up to NZD9 (US$7.22) or NZD10 would make much difference."

The Justice Ministry is due to report back its findings in September. 

Meanwhile, the Scottish government is planning to introduce a GBP0.50 (US$0.78) minimum unit price next year, while Prime Minister Davd Cameron also hopes to introduce the measure in England and Wales to combat alcohol-related issues.