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NEW ZEALAND: New laws passed to crack down on alcohol issues

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New, stricter laws covering alcohol availability and advertising in New Zealand have been passed by the country's Parliament. 

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The measures, voted on by MPs yesterday (11 December), include stronger rules on advertising to children, a clampdown on the types of shops allowed to sell alcohol and updated restrictions on off-trade displays. Under the Alcohol Reform Bill, the country's residents will also be given more of a say on pub and bar trading hours in their area. 

However, moves to include a minimum price and a ban on the sale of RTDs above 5% abv in the bill were defeated after failing to receive a majority vote.

A survey in August suggested the majority of the population were in favour of a floor price on alcohol

Justice Minister Judith Collins said: "For the first time in more than two decades, Parliament has acted to restrict, rather than relax, our drinking laws.”

Reaction to the final bill has been mixed. The Brewers Association of Australia and New Zealand said it is “cautiously optimistic that it will help support New Zealanders to enjoy alcohol more responsibly”. 

Jenny Cameron, external relations director for the Brewers Association in New Zealand, said: “We know that regulation alone will not solve the issue of alcohol misuse, it requires cultural change, and therefore the Brewers Association is committed on an ongoing basis to supporting moderate and responsible consumption”. 

However Professor Doug Sellman, a director at the University of Otago's National Addiction Centre was reported as saying that the bill is “cynical” and “hollow” and will not do “anything about the heavy drinking culture”

The Australian Government is currently considering a minimum price for the country, but a health agency last month warned against introducing the measure


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