Chlöe Swarbrick puts Bill aimed at minimising alcohol harm in Members’ ballot

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick has put the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Harm Minimisation) Amendment Bill into the Members’ ballot.

The Bill will end the special appeals process on local alcohol policies to ensure communities have real control and the final say over liquor sales in their neighbourhoods. It will also implement a number of recommendations from the 2014 Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship.

This comes in the same week as the Court of Appeal considers Auckland Council’s Local Alcohol Policy fight against supermarket giants Foodstuffs and Woolworths, which has already cost over a million dollars in legal fees. These common-sense regulations are strongly supported by public health experts.

“Both legal and illegal drugs can cause harm, and alcohol is the most harmful legal drug in our community,” says Chlöe Swarbrick, Green Party spokesperson for Drug Law Reform.

“That harm isn’t inevitable. The least we could do is stop some of the more egregious normalisation and glamorisation by ending sports advertising and sponsorship, as recommended by rugby league legend Sir Graham Lowe’s 2014 Ministerial Forum.

“Tobacco sponsorship was removed from sports in the 1990s with a government programme supporting sports clubs to transition away from harmful tobacco sponsorship. We can do the same again.

“The current law also blocks communities from putting in place the alcohol laws they want, by specifically enabling hugely expensive litigation from big alcohol companies and supermarket corporates.

“The case this week has supermarkets dragging the people of Auckland through the courts to safeguard the profit margins of these corporations at the expense of public health needs and community plans.

“My Bill is a solution to an urgent issue, and I call on all my colleagues in the House to support it.”

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