New Caledonia’s Congress has approved tax hikes on alcohol and tobacco as part of the government’s comprehensive plan to counter excessive drinking.
From this week, alcoholic beverages are taxed by an additional 20 percent to help generate revenue needed for growing healthcare costs.
While France has seen a decline in the consumption of alcohol, New Caledonians have raised their per capita consumption by almost 30 percent in the past decade.
Alcohol abuse is a factor in most road accidents and crimes, including domestic violence.
With 42 votes to 7, the Congress approved the tax increase, with opponents describing the measures as a mere revenue gathering exercise.
They had suggested further restrictions, such as limits on the size of purchases and a ban on selling alcohol to those convicted of alcohol-related offences.
The 20 percent hike of the tax on tobacco had been signalled for years, and reports say purchases had subsequently increased. [/restrict]