October 15, 2010

Wine Cheaper Than Water In New Zealand

A study released on Friday stated that alcohol is cheaper than bottled water in New Zealand.

Researchers at the Otago University found that wine cost as little as 62 cents per standard drink, compared to 67 cents for 250ml of bottle water and 43 cents for the equivalent amount of milk.

The study found that the relative price of alcohol plummeted over the past decade as average wages increased.

"Our analysis suggests alcohol is now probably the cheapest recreational drug in New Zealand and has become increasingly affordable, at the same time as concern about binge drinking culture has grown," associate professor Nick Wilson wrote in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

"International scientific evidence strongly indicates that cheap alcohol is a factor in promoting binge drinking by young people, and in increasing the overall size of the health and social harm from alcohol misuse."

He said heavy discounting at supermarkets and liquor stores was adding to the problem and helping alcohol become more available.

The price of wine has been driven down in New Zealand due to a grape surplus as winemakers seek to unload an overstock of the fruit.

Wilson and co-researcher Fiona Gunasekara said that cheap alcohol was not helping New Zealanders' health and has placed a burden on the publicly funded health system.

They said the government should adopt the same policies that curb tobacco consumption, such as raising taxes and controlling marketing and sponsorship activities.

"These policies will have little impact on moderate drinkers and will help curb the down-side of New Zealand's binge drinking culture," they said.


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