Liquor reform has become a political hot potato in New Zealand. Social problems caused by alcohol have meant successive governments have come under pressure to regulate sale and consumption of alcohol. One factor driving public outrage has been reports that give outrageously high ‘social costs’ of alcohol, that discount benefits, and that have little economic basis in fact. The NZ Law Commission’s report into reregulating the sale of liquor was overly reliant on public health literature that made a) a series of erroneous economic claims and b) holds values based views parading as objective evidence. A Liberal alcohol regime should be continued, in which personal responsibly is emphasised.
Luke Malpass is a Policy Analyst at the New Zealand unit at The Centre for Independent Studies.