Thursday 22 April 2010

Not a good day [updated]

And the second bit of angry for the day: Kiwiblog reports on some leaks from the forthcoming Palmer report on alcohol.
I understand the Palmer Report proposes:
  1. A massive 50% increase in the excise tax on alcohol. This would result in an extra $500 million of revenue to the Crown at the expense of everyone who drinks.
  2. Banning the sale of liquor at off licenses after 10 pm. So if you pop into New World at 10.30 pm to do your shopping (which I often do), you won’t be able to buy a bottle of wine.
  3. Forcing bars and nightclubs to refuse to allow people to enter after 2 am.
  4. nationwide closing time for all outlets, probably at 4 am.
  5. An increase in the purchase age for alcohol from 18 to 20, criminalising 130,000 18 and 19 year olds if they buy alcohol.
Will Sue kill me if I bring the LC report into the delivery room next week? Is there wifi at Christchurch Women's? At least then we can both be doing the "scream in pain" thing, at least until her epidural kicks in. After that, it'll just be me...

Update: Simon Power sounds lukewarm to the proposals; by contrast, he was outright hostile to the suggestion that the Law Commission might consider recommending loosening up the rules around marijuana use. Paraphrasing, then it was "no way, not on my watch"; here, it's "well, that's what LC thinks and we still need to decide what to do."


  1. Ye gads, this is insanity. Don't penalise the majority over the actions of a few. In fact I'd go so far as to say that getting a bit pissed and falling over is a right of passage for young kiwis heading into adulthood. Plenty of comments on The Rock this morning about getting injured drunks to pay for their hospital care. That would be the first step on a slippery slope, do we then start extorting payment from sober people who indulge in risky behaviours (bungy jumping, sky diving, etc.)? Better to just accept that a certain level of the population are going to drink, hurt themselves, and require medical care. Thats why I pay taxes.

  2. Lats: Sounds like a slippery slope I'd love to slide down actually. Let me pay my own way, and you pay yours.

    Incidentally, is your nickname a portmanteau of Labour and National? You sound like a blend of the two, but then they're indistinguishable these days. :)

  3. Actually no, its a nickname I've had since, oh, high school maybe. A long time, anyway, far too long...
    I agree that there is precious little difference between Labour and National, but then they are fighting over that same middle ground, so it's hardly surprising. The only point of difference is the cronies on either side they bring with them :)
    I have to disagree with you on user pays in health care though, accidents can happen to anyone, and I personally want there to be a system in place that won't bankrupt me should the unexpected happen. By that argument you might imagine that I disagree with higher ACC levies for hazardous occupations, but that is a form of user-pays I can justify in my own mind.

  4. @Lats(first)Injured drunks DO pay for their own health care: the alcohol excise tax collection far exceeds the health care costs of alcohol related injuries.

    Ok, that isn't quite right. The drinkers most likely to suffer harms do pay the most tax per drinker but impose costs in excess of their tax payment; moderate drinkers subsidize them through their alcohol taxes. That's always going to be the case with a linear tax when harms are increasing with consumption.

    On average drinkers pay for the harms imposed.

    I would argue against taxing behaviours that correlate with health care risks, though; the set of necessary taxes and subsidies would be far too onerous to administer and the outcome could more efficiently be achieved by mandating purchase of health insurance where rates are actuarily fair.

  5. @Eric Thanks, I'd neglected current excise taxes in my original rant, I was so overcome by emotion :)
    Interesting comparison here with the outrage displayed by motorcyclists upon the news that govt was planning to raise the ACC portion of registration for bikes to cover the increased health costs incurred when they have accidents. I'm quite happy as a motorist to subsidise bike riders' treatment through my car registration - they are a relatively small percentage of registered vehicles so the net cost to me would be marginal I should think, although I haven't bothered looking up actual figures. And I'd one day maybe like to buy my own bike, so not having the cost of using one set prohibitively high is to my advantage.
    Oops, just realised I mispelt myself in the previous post lol, must be drunk.