Reforms ‘could help change drinking culture’

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Changes to the supply and sale of alcohol will be a good way of preventing alcohol-related harm while not penalising responsible drinkers, the MP for Waitaki says.

Many changes that have been introduced by the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, which replaces the Sale of Liquor Act 1989, come into effect today.

The reforms have been designed to help improve New Zealand’s drinking culture and reduce alcohol-related harm.

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said the changes would be a way to prevent alcohol abuse without penalising responsible drinkers.

“They also place more responsibility on those who provide young people with alcohol as well as giving parents more control.”

The legislation was a good base to change New Zealand’s drinking culture but it would not change the culture unless all parts of society got behind it, she said.

This meant everyone including the alcohol industry, parents, young people, communities, local government and central government had to help, Mrs Dean said.

The changes also involved setting good examples for children and providing safe places for young people, which would hopefully help change the drinking culture in New Zealand, she said.

Oamaru Police Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy said the ability for police to be able to apply instant fines, rather than taking the time and effort to go through the court system, would be good.

Better control of the supply of alcohol to minors and putting more responsibility on parents was a plus, he said.

Waitaki community safety and development facilitator Helen Algar said that while not drinking alcohol was the safest option for those under 18, the changes would help.

“I think it is really positive.”

Anything that supported a change of culture and made parents more responsible was a good thing, she said.

Visit www.justice.govt.nz/policy/sale-and-supply-of-alcohol or www.alcohol.co.nz for more information.

By RUBY HARFIELD