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The New Zealand Drug Foundation today launched a comprehensive plan to reduce the harm that alcohol causes in New Zealand society.

The Drug Foundation's 'Eight Point Plan for Action on Alcohol' was presented to representatives from all political parties in Parliament to conclude the inaugural Alcohol Policy Roundtable, held at Parliament today.

"The Eight Point Plan is a package of measures designed to reduce the harm caused by alcohol in New Zealand," said Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell.

"It's critical to New Zealand's public health that we tackle the issue of excessive and problematic alcohol consumption. Communities know that alcohol causes far reaching social, health and economic problems, which we can no longer afford to ignore; we hope that politicians begin to see it that way," said Mr Bell.

The Eight Point Plan aims to address problem drinking in New Zealand by:

  • Increasing the excise tax on alcohol
  • Returning the drinking age to 20 years-old
  • Strengthening the Sale of Liquor Act to reduce teenage drinking
  • Increase effective enforcement
  • Discontinue alcohol advertising on television and radio
  • Allow communities more control over liquor licensing
  • Improve treatment services nationwide
  • Discontinue 'conscience voting' on alcohol issues.

"Our policy recommendations are backed by international and local public health experience and research," said Mr Bell. "The time to act on New Zealand's drinking problem is now. The burden on both public and individual health is far too great to ignore.

"Keeping our young people safe should be the goal of all New Zealanders, especially our politicians. The evidence shows that the earlier a young person begins to drink, the more likely they are to develop dangerous drinking habits later on.

"The Drug Foundation strongly urges all political parties to include alcohol as they develop their health policies leading up to this year’s election. Without this commitment any action to reduce problems related to alcohol stands little chance of success," he said.

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