Leading healthcare provider, ProCare, has today welcomed the proposed amendments to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 which will look to remove the ability to appeal local alcohol policies.
As highlighted in yesterday’s announcement by the Minister of Justice, Kiritapu Allan, the current process ends up costing local councils and ratepayers millions of dollars in legal fees.
Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at ProCare says: “As an organisation, we’ve been calling for greater restrictions around alcohol for the last few years. Therefore, we welcome yesterday’s announcement as the first step towards reducing the harm alcohol causes in our communities.
“It is incredible that one of the most serious and prevalent health problems affecting our country has taken so long to get the attention it deserves. However, reducing the ability to appeal alcohol policies will literally save our local councils millions of dollars in legal fees each year,” she continues.
“This money will now hopefully be able to be invested back into local communities where it is desperately needed to support the health and wellbeing of whānau and communities across Aotearoa,” points out Norwell.
“This proposed change will also hopefully start to take us on a more preventative rather than reactive approach to alcohol management,” she continues.
“We look forward to engaging with the Government as the proposed Bill makes its way through parliament over the next six to nine months,” she concludes.
Dr Allan Moffitt, Clinical Director at ProCare says: “Alcohol-related harms are seen every day across our network and in general practices around the country, be it through direct injury from family violence or unintentional injuries inside or outside the home.
“We also witness the impact of preventable diseases such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and alcohol contributing to long-term health conditions such as liver, heart disease and cancer,” he continues.
“Alcohol is a key driver of inequities and adverse health and wellbeing outcomes across Aotearoa. We know through our work with patients that the health burden of alcohol falls disproportionately on our Māori population. Low alcohol prices, ease of availability, and the pervasive marketing of alcohol – all contribute to death rates that are over twice for Māori adults, when compared to non-Māori*.
“The proposed changes to the appeal process should go some way to reducing the harm alcohol causes in a more equitable way and to supporting our vulnerable communities,” concludes Dr Moffitt.
* Connor J, Kydd R, Shield K, Rehm J. The burden of disease and injury attributable to alcohol in New Zealanders under 80 years of age: Marked disparities by ethnicity and sex. New Zealand Medical Journal 2015; 128: 15–28.