New Zealanders are being urged to throw their support behind a new campaign "Pass the Bill" that calls on Members of Parliament (MPs) to vote in support of proposed alcohol law changes that will save lives and reduce harm. The campaign is a partnership between Alcohol Healthwatch and Hāpai te Hauora.
Dr Nicki Jackson, Executive Director of Alcohol Healthwatch, says "We’ve created an online platform where New Zealanders can come together to show their support for stronger alcohol laws. We know that there is a rising appetite for urgent change."
Later this year, MPs will have the opportunity for an evidence-based debate on the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Harm Minimisation) Amendment Bill. The Bill has been put forward by MP Chlöe Swarbrick and seeks to give communities a greater say on where, when and how alcohol is sold, by removing the special appeals process that alcohol retailers are using to water down or delay the implementation of council alcohol policies. The Bill also seeks to protect children and vulnerable groups from the known harms of alcohol advertising exposure, by ending alcohol sponsorship of broadcast sport.
Selah Hart, CEO of Hāpai te Hauora, says "New Zealanders are well-aware that our alcohol laws have failed to reduce the widespread and unequal harms from alcohol and want to see leadership and immediate action from our politicians. This campaign is about turning that support into action - collectively calling on every MP to support a proposed law change that will finally start to turn the tide on alcohol harm. We are thrilled that Te Pāti Māori are already in support, given the long-standing inequities in alcohol harm experienced by Māori."
New Zealanders are encouraged to go to passthebill.org.nz to learn more about the Bill and show their support for the Bill as an individual via the ActionStation petition or as an organisation or professional via an open letter.
"This Bill benefits every New Zealander, as alcohol harm affects us all. The best news is that the communities that experience the most alcohol harm, will benefit the most. Finally, we have an opportunity for our country to show international leadership by implementing stronger alcohol laws that will support our communities to thrive", ends Jackson.