High price of drinking Down Under

From the Council's April magazine edition.
As of July 1, it became even more expensive to drink alcoholic beverages in New Zealand. On that day, a 4.55% increase in excise tax became effective.

The beverage industry's Distilled Spirits Association says that means bars, restaurants, liquor stores and other outlets will be required to add relevant mark-ups just to stay even, according to DSA chief executive Thomas Chin.

Chin notes that the new tax rate means about 75% of the retail price of a standard bottle of alcohol now goes to the national government in some form of taxation.

Support for the increased taxation came from a combination of forces, including those opposed to the growth in problem drinking.

There is a troublesome drinking culture in this south Pacific nation where 18 is the legal drinking age. According to statistics from the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand:

  • 85% of New Zealanders ages 16 to 64 drank alcohol in the past year.
  • 61.6% past-year drinkers consumed more than the Counci recommends (a maximum of six standard drinks for males and four for females on a drinking occasion) at least once during the last year.
  • 12.6% past-year drinkers consumed more than the recommended guidelines more than once a week during the last year.
  • 17.7% adults (aged 15+) have a potentially hazardous drinking pattern.
  • 28.7% of women who had been pregnant in the past three years reported that they had consumed alcohol while pregnant.
  • 10% of adult drinkers reported planning to get drunk on their last drinking occasion.

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