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A chance for drink mistake to be corrected

4 May, 2005

Finally, a chance for drink mistake to be corrected

The New Zealand Drug Foundation welcomed today's announcement that Progressive MP Matt Robson's private member's bill, seeking to return the drinking age to 20, was drawn from the parliamentary members' ballot.

Executive director Ross Bell said that the Drug Foundation warmly endorsed the Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill and hoped that New Zealand members of parliament would see sense in correcting the mistake made when the age of purchase was lowered in 1999.

"The drawing of the Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction bill is an opportunity to correct the mistake parliament made in 1999 of lowering the drinking age, against all good public health advice at the time," said Mr Bell.

"The impact of the law changes are well documented in many serious negative social indicators, such as binge drinking rates, the accessibility of liquor for children younger than 16 and drink driving rates among young people."

Mr Bell said the bill also addresses another key factor in harmful drinking among young people by seeking to restrict the broadcast advertising of liquor.

"Clearly this is an acknowledgement of the role that advertising has in developing New Zealand's unsafe drinking culture," said Mr Bell. "This bill takes responsible steps to curb the exposure that young people have to these messages on a daily basis.

"This is clearly an election year issue. With over 70 percent of New Zealanders supporting the returning of the drinking age to 20, MPs will be closely watched to see if they support this bill to select committee," said Mr Bell.

ENDS

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