The Alcohol Reform Bill was reported back from the Justice and Electoral Select Committee on Thursday, and the Government has said it will adopt all of the select committee’s recommendations.
“We have a terrible problem in this country with drinking,” said the chairman of the select committee, Chester Borrows.
“The fact of the matter is a lot of us can’t hold our liquor. We need to take urgent steps to rectify this.”
The majority select committee report recommends that a number of measures be passed into law, in order to urgently address the problem of youth drinking.
“We’re not providing sufficient alcohol education to our young people,” said Mr Borrows.
“We learn news skills through practice. If our young people aren’t out on the town getting wasted on cheap piss every night, can we be surprised that when they do indulge they don’t have the constitution for it?”
But the minority select committee report submitted by the Greens and Labour has recommended a different approach.
Labour MP Charles Chauvel said the focus should be on drinking games and peer pressure, rather than education.
“A few rounds of drinking games sorts the men out from the boys,” said Mr Chauvel.
“It also fosters a competitive spirit. A steady programme of boat races, beer pong, three man and beer bonging is the most efficient way to hone drinking skills.
The Greens, however, claim to favour a simpler approach to alcohol control.
“Eating’s cheating,” said Green MP Sue Kedgley.
“Nobody likes staggering around on an empty stomach, vomiting and pissing their own pants. And nobody likes it when some drunk moron’s sick on your shoes.
“On the other hand, this sort of carry-on is often the first stage in a person’s drinking career. Research shows that the more one does it the more accustomed to alcohol one gets.”
Ms Kedgley said that the aim of liquor reform was to teach people to drink in a way that was socially responsible and not harmful to others.
“Eventually the person doing the drinking will be able to prop up the end of a bar, a lonely old man or crone, incoherent and smelling slightly of wee but essentially harmless and bothering nobody other than the people at the homeless shelter he or she regularly inhabits,” said Ms Kedgley.
“If we can get to this stage then we know the battle will be won. These people may die lonely and miserable, but they’re not hurting anyone other than themselves.
“And it has to start now, with the young.”
Justice Minister Simon Power said it was unlikely that the Bill would be passed into law this year.
“We’ve got the biggest piss-up this country’s ever seen about to begin in a couple of weeks,” said Mr Power.
“We’ll soon be drowning in gallons of grog, living it up like there’s no tomorrow and living from one hangover to the next. So don’t you come bothering me with all this law reform bullshit.”
Mr Power then took a bottle of scotch from the drawer of his desk, drank several mouthfuls from the bottle, then proclaimed that he was the “Drinking World Cup champion.”
Prime Minister John Key confirmed he has received the select committee’s report, but said he was not planning to read it just yet.
“Not tonight” said Mr Key. “Tonight I’m off to get absolutely wasted.”