*SIRENS AND POLICE SCANNER NOISE* We’ve been on the road with police… Documenting the damage. Assaults, gross intoxication, breaches of the liquor ban… And drunk drivers. OFFICER: “Based on the readings, we’ll decide what happens next, okay?” There are now almost 12,000 places around the country… Including bottle stores, pubs and clubs… Where you can get a drink… Almost double that of the number in 1990. The 2012 Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act aimed to reduce harm… And give local councils the ability to do things… Like limit bottle store numbers and restrict trading hours. But doctors say the process has become farcical… As supermarkets and liquor companies spend big in court… To stop moves to control them. DR RAINGER: “The ability of interested parties…” “By which I mean the alcohol industry…” “To constantly appeal the process…” “Has really rendered it, ah, meaningless.” DR HUMPHREY: “The biggest problem…” “Is that local people have to take on national or international companies.” DR PALMER: “Every time you are trying to put forward a public health argument…” “The lawyers are trying to look at the detail…” “And shoot that down.” Hamilton, the Far North and Christchurch councils… Have given up trying to implement local alcohol policies… After spending hundreds of thousands in court… Fighting supermarket giants and liquor retailers. In fact, the alcohol industry admits spending millions defending its business. BREWER: “In the millions, if not the tens of millions of dollars.” But Robert Brewer says it’s not just the alcohol industry tying things up in court… It’s also doctors and police. BREWER: “It’s quite ironic that they should say that…” “Considering that they have blocked just about every single new licence application…” “Or, or licence renewal.” But Auckland Regional Public Health says that “statement is highly inaccurate”. “Our Medical Officer of Health receives around 4000 applications annually…” “Of which we oppose around 20 to 30 applications.” “Around 85 percent of licences in Auckland are granted.” LITTLE: “The reality is that the deep pockets of the supermarket industry…” “And the alcohol industry…” “Means that often the District Licensing Committees…” “And local authorities that are trying to get policies in place…” “Are being overpowered.” And doctors say it’s ordinary Kiwis who suffer… Forking out billions every year to fix up the damage caused by alcohol. DR HUMPHREY: “The taxpayer pays that.” “You and I pay that money.” They say the 2012 law has not reduced harm and they want change. DR RAINGER: “I think there’s enough evidence about the areas…” “Where it’s failing to meet its objectives…” “That would warrant some review and refinement.” MORRAH: “And is that needed urgently?” DR RAINGER: “Yes.” LITTLE: “We are close to a time where it will be appropriate…” “To look at whether the Act is achieving the objectives originally set for it.” So, the Minister appears to be listening… The question is, when will he act?