According to Prof Doug Sellman launching Alcohol Action New Plymouth last night,
"Alcohol has become totally over-commercialised in New Zealand, encouraging a heavy drinking culture that leads to serious health problems, fractured families and increased violence and crime affecting thousands of people.
"Over a thousand people die every year from an alcohol-related injury or chronic disease and there are over 70,000 physical and sexual assaults perpetrated by people who are alcohol affected."
The reasons were clear.
"The easy availability of alcohol at all hours, low prices and continuous bombardment by very clever advertising and highly strategic sponsorship deals are key drivers of our dangerous drinking culture," he said.
Shades of Hone Harawira's attack on the tobacco industry.
I cannot share Prof Sellman's confidence - at all. At the root of alcohol abuse are psychological problems. You can make access to alcohol more difficult but that doesn't address why people want to drink so heavily. Blaming the alcohol industry is just a cop-out.
Add to that the triumph of collective responsibility over individual responsibility, whereby the adverse consequences of alcohol abuse are socialised across society, and we might start getting warm.
When I was young I used to get in trouble with alcohol. I remember waking up in bed with some guy appalled to find myself there. Gutted. But I didn't blame the alcohol. And I didn't blame him. I blamed myself.
Today there are a lot more girls like I was but it seems to me they can't look at themselves and take it on the chin. They blame their behaviour on drinking (abetted by people who would blame accessibility and promotion of alcohol) or they blame the guy and cry rape. What they need to feel is a massive dose of shame, remorse and guilt so as not to do it again. That is how human nature works.
I am afraid Prof Sellman is just contributing to the culture of excuse-making.