4 Jul 2012

Officials meet alcohol industry to discuss minimum pricing

9:21 am on 4 July 2012

Justice Ministry officials meet alcohol industry representatives this week to discuss a minimum price for alcohol although Prime Minister John Key has said he does not think the idea would work.

The Labour Party has tabled an amendment to the Government's legislation on alcohol reform, proposing a minimum price.

Labour MP Lianne Dalziel says the Alcohol Reform Bill is weak and the party's amendment is aimed at putting up the price of "dirt cheap" alcohol, not the price of the average punter's beer at the local club.

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell also says the legislation does not go far enough on issues like minimum pricing and his party will be tabling an amendment.

Justice Ministry officials who are holding talks with alcohol industry representatives are due to report back to Cabinet in September.

Justice Minister Judith Collins says that while her ministry is looking into minimum pricing, such a move is not the cure-all for reducing alcohol harm.

And Prime Minister John Key says he's not convinced a minimum price will do much to reduce the harm caused by alcohol.

Ms Collins says the Alcohol Reform Bill may include powers to allow the Government to introduce regulations on minimum pricing.

"We may well have in the bill mechanisms for an Order in Council to be brought in to deal with those issues, so it's not the end of the matter.

"The bill itself has quite an ability for Cabinet to ask the Governor-General make Orders of Council on various issues around advertising, RTDs, all those sorts of things."

The legislation is due to be debated again this month.