Treaty claim calls for al­co­hol re­form

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JACK­SON THOMAS

A claim be­fore the Wai­tangi Tri­bunal is call­ing on the Gov­ern­ment to raise the price of al­co­hol in an ef­fort to curb the im­pact of drink­ing on the health of Maori.

In his claim, Maori war­den David Ratu said the Gov­ern­ment had breached the Treaty of Wai­tangi by not im­ple­ment­ing rec­om­men­da­tions laid out by the Law Com­mis­sion in 2010.

The rec­om­men­da­tions in­cluded in­creas­ing the price of al­co­hol, rais­ing the drink­ing age to 20 and re­strict­ing al­co­hol ad­ver­tis­ing and spon­sor­ship.

Ratu also ob­jected to the Gov­ern­ment fail­ing to en­sure the Sale and Sup­ply of Al­co­hol Act was con­sis­tent with the Treaty of Wai­tangi. Ratu, who works in south Auck­land for the Ture­hou Maori War­dens ki Otara Char­i­ta­ble Trust, said he be­lieved the sale, sup­ply, and con­sump­tion of al­co­hol in New Zealand was ac­tively driv­ing health in­equal­i­ties be­tween Maori and non-Maori.

‘‘I can say that the ef­fects of al­co­hol and its con­sump­tion and sup­ply have been a mat­ter of con­cern to many of our Maori com­mu­ni­ties across the motu (is­land) for some time,’’ he said.

Ratu said he tried on sev­eral oc­ca­sions to plead his case to po­lice, coun­cil al­co­hol in­spec­tors and lawyers at a num­ber of hear­ings.

‘‘It all seemed, to me, to be fall­ing on deaf ears so I de­cided that some­thing had to be done,’’ Ratu said.

Re­gard­less of the claim out- come, Ratu said he would con­tinue to fight for fair al­co­hol laws.

Al­co­hol Health­watch said haz­ardous drink­ing amongst Maori had in­creased, par­tic­u­larly for Maori women where prob­lem drink­ing had jumped from 21 per cent in 2011, to 29 per cent in 2015. Ratu’s claim is en­dorsed by unique, given it was seek­ing changes to New Zealand’s key leg­is­la­tion reg­u­lat­ing the sale and sup­ply of al­co­hol.

As­so­ciate Health Min­is­ter Peter Dunne said he was not aware of the claim and would not com­ment while it was be­fore the Wai­tangi Tri­bunal.

CHRIS SKEL­TON/STUFF

Maori War­den David Ratu says he’ll take his fight for fair al­co­hol pol­icy to in­ter­na­tional courts if he has to.

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