15 Oct 2013

Work on alcohol pricing put on hold

6:45 am on 15 October 2013

Work on a possible minimum-pricing regime for alcohol has been put on hold because, the Justice Minister says, alcohol law changes have taken priority.

The Ministry of Justice started looking two years ago at how effective minimum pricing would be in reducing alcohol consumption.

Justice Minister Judith Collins says it's still investigating the idea but the biggest priority has been getting ready for the law changes - which come into force in December - dealing with opening hours, licensing and the supply of alcohol to young people.

From 18 December, anyone supplying alcohol to people aged under 18 will have to get express consent from their parent or guardian. Failure to do so could incur a fine of up to $2000.

The Health Promotion Agency will run a television, radio and newspaper campaign about the changes at a cost of $670,000, which is funded out of an alcohol industry levy.

The Government also announced two years ago that an expert forum on alcohol advertising would be set up, and Ms Collins expects appointments to be made by the end of the year.