Prime Minister John Key says it's unlikely the National Party will back a minimum price for alcohol, despite accusations he sounds like a liquor lobbyist.
The Alcohol Reform Bill, which contains a raft of restrictions on where and how alcohol can be sold, returns to parliament in July and could be law by the end of the month.
Labour is proposing an amendment for a minimum price on alcohol in the legislation, in efforts to curb alcohol abuse and teen binge drinking.
The amendment could pass without the support of National, as long as it gathers votes from the Greens, Maori Party, Mana and United Future.
Justice Minister Judith Collins previously said officials were gathering information about the possibility of minimum pricing, before the legislation's final reading.
But Mr Key told reporters in Sydney he remains sceptical about the value of minimum pricing.
"Our view is that minimum pricing is very difficult to administer, and it depends on what people mean (by its definition).
"We simply see that people will move down the quality curve.
"There will be some elasticity, so if the price rises, some people will certainly consume less, but ... it's unlikely and people will just substitute with cheaper products."
His comments come after alcohol reform groups accused Mr Key of being a spokesman for the alcohol industry, after he said that people still get "wasted" in Scandinavia, where alcohol is expensive.
Alcohol Action NZ's Professor Doug Sellman says Mr Key's responses are "embarrassing" and reek of those served up by the alcohol industry.
"That's a false argument and not a logical way of thinking. Of course people get intoxicated in Scandinavia, they get intoxicated everywhere on earth. It's the degree of harm that we are talking about," he told NZ Newswire.
The only way to reduce New Zealand's "enormous" alcohol harm was a suite of measures, including raising the price, reducing accessibility and marketing and hitting drink-driving, he said.
Prof Sellman said Mr Key should be getting advice from his chief science adviser, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, not his chief of staff Wayne Eagleson, a former public relations man for local drinks giant DB.