Alcohol tax increase mooted at 50 percent

BY TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 11:43 22/04/2010

Alcohol Report Leaked

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The Government is refusing to confirm or deny a report that an upcoming Law Commission review of liquor laws is proposing a 50 percent increase in the excise tax on alcohol.

The claim is made on right-wing blog Kiwiblog, which says it has also been leaked other recommendations in the report including:

  • Banning the sale of liquor at off licences after 10pm,
  • Forcing bars and nightclubs to refuse to allow people to enter after 2am,
  • A nationwide closing time - probably 4am
  • And raising the purchase age for alcohol from 18 to 20.

The report is due to be presented to Justice Minister Simon Power next week after nearly 3000 submissions and months of work.

A spokesman for Mr Power refused to comment on recommendations in the report and said it was a Law Commission document, not a government one.

Stuff understands the final paper runs to 514 pages.
 
Justice Minister Simon Power this week said:  ''Like all Law Commission reports, it will be tabled in parliament. The Government has got a specific time to respond to the report.''

''It's likely that the Government will respond in a relatively shortish period of time. But Cabinet hasn't made any decisions, obviously, so really it will be a matter of us working our way through what is a substantial piece of work.''

He said there would be legislation in train before the election next year.
 
''There is a lot of work to be done in this area and my view is that there is likely to be legislative change.''
 
Mr Power said he had seen the report.
 
''I table the report in parliament and then it become publicly available at that point. And then, the Government has six months to respond to the report and that's the process from there.''
 
Once the report was released, Mr Power said his only public response would be that ''it raises a lot of issues that are going to require some careful consideration by the Government''.
 
''I'm not going to have a response to each of the recommendations at that point.''
 
''The fact is that the report isn't yet publicly available and I'm going to honour the arrangements that the Government has historically had with the Law Commission when they produce a report for this.''
 
Law Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer said there were significant changes from last year's discussion document as a result of the submissions.
 
''There has been a lot of water gone under the bridge since then.''
 
''The Minister has said he is going to make legislative change. He made that clear last year. But exactly what, I have no idea.''

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