Sunday, September 9, 2012

Karl du Fresne: One in the eye for the neo-wowsers

Parliament's decision to keep the liquor purchasing age at 18 was not only enlightened but courageous, given the deafening barrage of anti-liquor propaganda to which politicians have been subjected.
The vote was a resounding defeat for a determined neo-wowser coalition whose motivations range from legitimate concerns about health to a consuming hostility toward business.

The immediate reaction of Professor Doug Sellman, the most vocal of the neo-wowsers, was telling. “The people who are making money out of the heavy-drinking culture will be celebrating,” he said. Prof Sellman seems determined to view alcohol as a rapacious capitalist plot against the helpless and gullible.
Yes, New Zealand has a binge-drinking problem. But overall, our alcohol consumption remains modest by world standards (lower than Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia), and Parliament is right not to be panicked into adopting the “we know best” solutions advocated by control freaks in the universities.

It’s easy to understand the disappointment of people who are on the front line in dealing with alcohol abuse, but their perspective may be distorted because they see all the negative consequences close up.
Politicians are able to take a more balanced view, recognising that most people enjoy alcohol in moderation and with no harmful effects. The crucial issue is whether responsible drinkers should be penalised because of the misbehaviour of the minority.
Karl blogs at published in the Dominion Post. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your last sentence summed up the argument the best.

Im sick to death of the 'overkill' response's made by our policy and law makers.