Sweeping changes to the way alcohol is bought and consumed in New Zealand could be enshrined into legislation if recommendations by the Law Commission are taken up by the Government. Proposed changes included increasing the price of alcohol. Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer outlined some of the preferred policy options it would be releasing for the public to make submissions on, in a speech at a Nelson pub recently. One of the issues tagged ‘for later discussion’ was the substantial gap between the taxes the country received from alcohol purchases, $ 795 million, and the estimated social cost of harmful misuse of alcohol of $ 5.296 billion.

This petition argues that a ‘one size fits all’ increase in taxation will have a disastrous effect on New Zealand’s boutique breweries – and that these brewers are the ones we should be rewarding not penalising.

Why? Because small boutique and craft breweries emphasise taste, flavour and create environments that encourage sensible and responsible drinking, whereas the Big Two brewers (DB and Lion Nathan – both foreign-owned) discount their beers to gain market share. They tend to target their advertising towards young people and encourage buying decisions made on the basis of price – bang per buck – not beer quality.

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