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NZMA Supports Review of Drinking Age Legislation

NZMA Supports Review of Drinking Age Legislation

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) today voiced its strong support for the views expressed by Associate Health Minister, Jim Anderton, regarding the need to take another look at the decision to reduce the legal drinking age to eighteen.

NZMA Chairman, Dr Tricia Briscoe, said “the NZMA advocated strongly against the lowering of the drinking age on public health grounds, and we are concerned that the issues we raised at the time are starting to be confirmed. While the decision to lower the drinking age is not the only issue related to young people’s drinking habits, it sent the wrong message, and did nothing to reduce the binge drinking culture becoming so prevalent among teenagers”.

Dr Briscoe added “We also need to see other measures taken, including much stronger policing of liquor sales, and consideration given to limiting the availability of pre-mixed drinks which are marketed to the younger drinkers”.

While the NZMA supports Mr Anderton’s view that Parliament should again look at the issue, we do not support waiting to make this an election issue. Parliament needs to take a bold step and urgently reassess the situation. The Health of our teenagers need protecting, and a review of the law is needed now.


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