I'm not in the habit of saying "I told you so", but this time I can't resist.
Back in 1999, when Jenny Shipley's tired and frightened National Government decided out of the blue to reduce the legal drinking age to 18, I predicted it would lead to immense social problems.
Whether the idea was to woo 18 and 19-year-old voters or to ensure that the fabulously wealthy booze industry fronted up with loads of cash for the upcoming election campaign I don't know.
But I do know that on the consciences of that Parliament's conscience voters is a legacy of thousands of deaths, injuries and broken lives among this nation's teenagers.
The Social Report 2009 says, on the other hand;
Potentially hazardous drinking
Most recent data
In 2006/2007, 23 per cent of drinkers of alcohol aged 15 years and over had a potentially hazardous drinking pattern.
Longer term trend
There has been no change in the rate since 1996/1997.
But based on his subjective view of the harm caused by alcohol George launches into his typical tirade, a list of what government should do to reduce alcohol availability including bans on advertising, bans on outlets, age restrictions and tax hikes. Understandably sore over this weeks wicked tax hike on tobacco, he drops in this pathetically peevish line;
Since I pay $120-odd for a carton of 200 cigarettes, I don't see why a bottle of whisky, gin, brandy, rum or whatever shouldn't be at least the same price, considering its potential to do far greater damage.
It's potential? Good God. Imagine if taxes started being applied based on the potential of products or services to cause harm.
The paper suggests a health warning on liquor labels and that, too, has been suggested here from time to time. Once again, what is sauce for the cigarette is sauce for the booze bottle (or can or carton).
Oooh he's grumpy. Silly Mr George. You see, when you call for state interference and force against what you hate - alcohol - you have to wear it against the things you love - tobacco. A bit of a pact with the devil.