Alcohol Tax Reform Proposed

April 26, 2010 New Zealand Taxation

033/365Indications have arisen that New Zealand’s alcohol excise tax could be raised, among other changes to legislation surrounding the sale of liquor.

A document has recently been leaked to the media containing a number of proposed alcohol legislation reforms. Key among the changes is a 50 percent increase in alcohol excise duties. The newest report comes as an extension of discussions conducted in 2009, which recommended the current 50 percent increase, regular reviews of excise taxes, and transferring all revenues collected to alcohol-harm-prevention organizations. The report also recommended changes to allowable liquor sale hours, and minimum age of sale requirements.

The alleged report Review of the Regulatory Framework for the Sale and Supply of Liquor is allegedly an early version of a Law Commission document due to be released on March 27th. Bill English, New Zealand Finance Minister, has confirmed that the report is due and is expected to contain excise tax recommendations, but refused to comment on whether current speculations are correct.

Despite the unconfirmed nature of the legislative proposals, numerous New Zealand political figures have already commented on the report. Lianne Dalziel, the Labour Party’s Justice Spokesperson, said, “New Zealand will not develop a culture around alcohol that works for the benefit of society if we are not prepared to be politically courageous.”

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