Calorie deterrent sought in booze bill

PRESSURE POINT: A night on the town in Hamilton. The Alcohol Reform Bill includes reining in supply and irresponsible marketing.
PRESSURE POINT: A night on the town in Hamilton. The Alcohol Reform Bill includes reining in supply and irresponsible marketing.

Hamilton Labour MP Sue Moroney reckons if young women knew how many calories there were in alcoholic drinks they might think twice before getting drunk.

That's why she wants nutritional information labels for booze added to the Alcohol Reform Bill.

However, her National counterpart, Tim Macindoe, said such amendments were not as important as restricting the supply and marketing of alcohol.

Parliament will begin debating the details of the Alcohol Reform Bill today and Ms Moroney has called on all Hamilton MPs to "put our Hamilton community's needs ahead of politics" and support Labour's amendments.

The amendments include: minimum pricing designed to stop cheap alcohol, like RTDs, being marketed to young people, restrictions on liquor outlets close to schools and kindergartens, and a reduction to the adult drink-driving limit.

Ms Moroney's own amendments - warning labels to pregnant women on the dangers of foetal alcohol syndrome and adding nutritional information on alcohol - would also be debated.

She said the bill before Parliament today fell short of the Law Commission's recommendations, and the amendments were aimed to address that.

"It's the part that we absolutely have to get right. I think we have let the country down on the issue of age of purchase. That means we've got no excuses for not getting the rest of it right."

The idea of adding nutritional information on alcohol products came from submitters in the select committee phase.

She said that up to four submitters raised concerns about the growing incidence of young women binge-drinking, and said that if they knew the nutritional value of alcohol it might serve as a deterrent.

She said the age of purchase staying at 18 was "the least of the issues" around alcohol reform and the "substance of the law" was more important.

Mr Macindoe said it was unlikely the Government would support many of Labour's amendments because they were not a priority.

"What do I think the most important things are? I think it's trying to rein in the supply of alcohol in just about every suburb at all hours of the day and night so that we can have a little bit more control.

"The other key thing would be to try and rein in the irresponsible marketing of alcohol, particularly to young people."

Mr Macindoe said the bill would be debated over the next couple of days in Parliament and he expected the law would be decided by early next month.

Waikato Times