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NZ First Campaigns To Raise Drinking Age

Media Release

24 September 2002

NZ First Campaigns To Raise Drinking Age

New Zealand First has launched a campaign to raise the drinking age.

Prior to the election the party made a decision to present a private member’s bill restoring the legal drinking age to 20.

In 1999, MPs voted to lower the age to 18 in a conscience vote but all New Zealand First MPs voted against the move.

Today the New Zealand First caucus approved Ron Mark’s bill to restore the age to 20.

Mr Mark, who campaigned against lowering the drinking age in 1999, said today that the move had proved disastrous with drunken “children” now on the streets.

“We warned back then that there would be problems with 13 and 14 year olds gaining easy access to alcohol and that younger school children would get involved.

“MPs who voted to lower the age told the house that there was no evidence to show that the health and wellbeing of our youth would be in any way affected.

“Since then, health professionals have reported dramatic increases in alcohol-related hospital admissions while police regularly report that they are picking up drunken youngsters in their early teens.

“There has also been an increase in alcohol-related crime. An increasing number of young lives are being damaged by alcohol abuse and more parents are struggling to cope with the consequences of that silly decision in 1999.

“It is time to put the age back up to 20,” said Mr Mark.


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