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Students Confirm Support for Lower Drinking Age

VUWSA web siteA recent survey of students studying at Victoria University of Wellington has confirmed parliament made the correct decision in voting to lower the legal drinking age to 18. The survey of 719 students showed that 57% of respondents supported the lower drinking age, 8% were unsure, and 34% opposed the move.

The survey was conducted on Wednesday 18 August at 10am, with all students attending lectures being polled on their views before the lecture started. Classes surveyed ranged from first-year courses, to postgraduate level.

VUWSA Education Vice-President Chris Hipkins said the results showed the majority of students believed 18 year olds were mature enough to make their own decisions about whether to drink or not. "There seems to be a feeling that if you can vote, get married, serve in the armed forces and have children, you should be able to drink at the pub," Hipkins said.

Hipkins said he was particularly interested to see that despite supporting the lower drinking age, when asked a subsequent question 54% of students didn't want VUWSA to campaign on the issue.

"To a certain extent I think the wording of that question was ambiguous and some students may have conjured up images of students marching down to parliament waving placards demanding 'booze for all', but I also believe students have the right to set what should be priority issues for the association and the drinking age evidently isn't one," Hipkins said.

Hipkins said he was keen to survey students on other topical issues during the lead up to the 1999 general election. "It's really important for the Students' Association to put more effort into seeking student feedback on contemporary issues, and this is a really good way of doing it," Hipkins said.

Among the other issues Hipkins thought students should be polled on are universal living allowances, student loans, free education, campus activities, and participation in campus clubs.

For further information contact:

Chris Hipkins, Education Vice-President
Phone 473 8566 (830) or 025 28 777 51
chris.hipkins@vuw.ac.nz

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