Booze Scoop

By Jim McVeagh 22/04/2010


David Farrar appears to have scooped the newspapers with a leaked version of The Law Commission proposals on alcohol. The Stuff version is here. David’s summary runs:

  1. A massive 50% increase in the excise tax on alcohol. This would result in an extra $500 million of revenue to the Crown at the expense of everyone who drinks.
  2. Banning the sale of liquor at off licenses after 10 pm. So if you pop into New World at 10.30 pm to do your shopping (which I often do), you won’t be able to buy a bottle of wine.
  3. Forcing bars and nightclubs to refuse to allow people to enter after 2 am.
  4. nationwide closing time for all outlets, probably at 4 am.
  5. An increase in the purchase age for alcohol from 18 to 20, criminalising 130,000 18 and 19 year olds if they buy alcohol.

Apparently the report runs to over 500 pages. Presumably because they have to use big print so that politicians can understand it.

MacDoctor has a far simpler proposal.

Firstly, while Bill English may like the idea of a 50% increase in alcohol taxes, he should seriously consider an increase of 300% on RTDs. Ready-To-Drink mixes are the equivalent of Pina Coladas to tourists. Fun, easy to drink and dangerous. Kids will still get drunk if they can’t afford them, but at least they will know that they are drinking real alcohol, not a fizzy drink.

But that is not the proposal.

The real proposal is that all liquor outlets (bars, restaurants, supermarkets, liquor stores) have a mandatory breathalyzer test for anyone buying alcohol. If you blow more than 0.08%, it is illegal to sell you more alcohol. You are welcome to buy more alcohol before you are drunk, with the sole intention of becoming wasted, but no-one will sell you alcohol after you reach the magic limit. In addition, it will be illegal to supply anyone with alcohol after they reach 0.08%. If you are caught supplying liquor to such a person, the cop will check the BAC of the receiver and then arrest you, if the level is more than 0.08%.

Why 0.08%? No particular reason. I just want to take away the fuzziness of the current “illegal to serve intoxicated persons” law and make it concrete. Yes, there will be some at 0.08% who are in considerably better shape than someone else with a BAC of 0.05%, but that’s just tough. Most people at below 0.08% will still be reasonably sober.

No need to close bars early or cut off aisles in the supermarket. No need to raise the drinking age. Just make sure that the current laws are followed by making the limit concrete.

Just let me know before you decide to make this law, so I can buy shares in a portable breathalyzer manufacturer.

Related posts:

  1. Mostly Nothing
  2. Alcopopped
  3. Pushing the Limit