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'No point in raising alcohol price' - Key

Tuesday 03 Jul 2012 6:57a.m.

'No point in raising alcohol price' - Key

The Government doesn't see much point in raising the price of alcohol, Prime Minister John Key says.

The Alcohol Reform Bill will be back in parliament later this month for its final stages, bringing in a raft of changes to accessibility and new rules about the way liquor is sold, but it doesn't increase the price.

Critics say the bill will be a waste of time without that and argue that making drinks more expensive is the only way to curb binge drinking.

"They've tried it in Scandinavia, it's very expensive there and people still get wasted," Mr Key said.

"Raising the price can just push people down the quality track... I'm not convinced minimum pricing would do much good."

Mr Key says the previous Labour Government raised the price of sherry because it was considered an inexpensive way to get drunk, and the result was that people bought even cheaper liquor.

He says reasonably good New Zealand wines are selling for about $8 in supermarkets.

"How much would you have to increase the price to stop people buying that... I don't think pushing it up to $9 or $10 would make much difference."

Justice Minister Judith Collins has told her officials to look at minimum price regimes in other countries so she can think about whether they would work in New Zealand, but she doesn't seem to be keen on it either.


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