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.