Under the radar

I came across this news snippet on an international supermarket site today:

NEW ZEALAND: Government May Raise Cost Of Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol prices in New Zealand could be in for a upwards price revision, as legislators suggest the low prices are one of the reasons behind the problem of under-age binge drinking. The price was one of the factors identified by Associate Health Minister Damien O’Connor, as part of a review of youth drinking.

O’Connor said he could not prejudge the review’s findings but said that increasing the cost of alcohol to make it less attractive to under-age binge drinkers was one of a handful of options being investigated. The move could see a law put into place which would prohibit supermarkets and bottle stores from discounting alcohol.

I can’t say I had seen any local media coverage of this issue.

It actually closely parallels a debate in England where the big four supermarkets have rejected calls to increase alcohol prices and said they are not to blame for town centre binge drinking.

They say that binge drinking in towns centers is a very complex issue and it is too easy for people to blame the sale of cheap alcohol in supermarkets.

The supermarkets also argued that agreeing to raise prices would actually be unlawful and anti-competitive.

2 thoughts on “Under the radar”

  1. It seems to me that this is a thinly veiled attempt to increase revenue by the government…much like the increase in tax on cigarettes. I can see the trend being similar to that tax reform, sharp decline in consumption followed by a slow resumption to former levels as consumers acclimatise and integrate the new cost into their budget….government wins, business wins and the consumer loses…..again!

  2. Thinly veiled is right.The increase in tax on cigarettes is case in point on how making something more expensive has no effect on consumption. Duh, people are addicted. They just re-allocate budget and other aspects of their lives suffer as a result. Minor things usually, like the kids going hungry and such.And does the taxation ever go toward solving any of the directly related issues? Paying for associated healthcare expenses? Paying for social programmes, education, hypnosis, ANYTHING OTHER THAN INTO THE GOVT COFFERS?As a responsible consumer I don’t like the idea that the tax I pay on such goods goes toward paying the cost for someone who uses the same substances in a less responsible manner, but I think I’d prefer that than just going into the general fund and ending up in some bureaucrat’s back pocket.

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