NEW Zealand Prime Minister John Key says it’s unlikely that his country’s parliament will back a minimum price for alcohol.
The Alcohol Reform Bill, which contains a raft of restrictions on where and how alcohol can be sold, returns to the NZ parliament in July and could be law by the end of the month.
Opposition parties are calling for a minimum price on alcohol as part of the reforms, in efforts to curb alcohol abuse and teen binge drinking.
But Mr Key told reporters in Sydney he remained sceptical about the value of minimum pricing.
“Our view is that minimum pricing is very difficult to administer, and it depends on what people mean (by its definition).
“We simply see that people will move down the quality curve.
“There will be some elasticity, so if the price rises, some people will certainly consume less, but … it’s unlikely and people will just substitute with cheaper products.”
Earlier, alcohol reform groups accused Mr Key of being a spokesman for the alcohol industry, after he said that people still get “wasted” in Scandinavia, where alcohol is expensive.
Alcohol Action NZ’s Professor Doug Salmon said Mr Key should be getting advice from his chief science adviser, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, not his chief of staff Wayne Eagleson, a former public relations man for local drinks giant DB.