The New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine (NZCPHM) hopes
the government will respond to New Zealanders' concerns about the
social impact of alcohol abuse.
President, Dr Caroline McElnay, says stories appear almost daily
in the media highlighting both the human impact of alcohol abuse
and the fact that the community wants a change in alcohol
"We can't continue to ignore the very significant social, health
and economic issues caused by alcohol abuse in New Zealand."
Dr McElnay said many public health medicine specialists are on
the frontline when it comes to addressing the hazardous impacts of
"They are increasingly feeling the new legislation is a
toothless mechanism that doesn't reduce alcohol-related harm.
"The alcohol industry and supermarkets seem to be the only
Dr McElnay said alcohol abuse causes up to 35% of injury-based
presentations into New Zealand's accident and emergency departments
and this increases to 70% during the weekend.
"Both the College and now the New Zealand Medical Association
(NZMA) have strong policies designed to reduce alcohol-related
"In particular, we agree with the NZMA that the price of alcohol
needs to increase and the marketing and promotion of alcohol must
be phased out.
"These strategies have been successful in reducing smoking rates
and we need to take the same approach with alcohol which, in many
instances, can be just as harmful."
Dr McElnay said the policies proposed by the College and the
NZMA reflect research and expert opinion on the dangers of alcohol
abuse, and the clear call by New Zealanders that things have to
"We urge the government to heed these calls and to act now to
help protect our communities from the dangers that our current
alcohol culture brings."