An alcohol awareness group says the Government's rejection of a minimum price policy shows support for big alcohol companies at the expense of public health.
A Ministry of Justice report recommends minimum pricing not be introduced for five years.
Justice Minister Judith Collins said there's no compelling evidence in favour of such a policy, and it would hit moderate drinkers the most.
But Alcohol Action New Zealand spokesperson Doug Sellman said the decision is a boost for the alcohol industry, which benefits from a heavy drinking culture.
''But,'' he said, ''it's also a dark day for ordinary New Zealanders.''