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Nandor rejects call to raise drinking age

Nandor rejects call to raise drinking age

Green MP Nandor Tanczos said today that once again young people were being made the scapegoat for the inadequacies of legislators in enforcing the drinking age.

Nandor, the Green Party’s Drug Policy spokesperson, rejected calls for the drinking age to be raised to 20 years, following a Massey University report showing that 56 per cent of liquor sales were completed without the need for identification.

“The fact that 56 per cent of 18 year-olds can buy alcohol without identification shows there is a problem with liquor retailers, not our young people,” said Nandor.

“It’s weird that the failure of the liquor industry to police the restrictions are being used to say that 18 and 19 year-olds are too immature to have a drink. The attention should be on retailers who fail to implement the law - it’s they who need to be penalised, not young people.”

Nandor welcomed Auckland Police’s appointment of a senior sergeant-level ‘manager’ of liquor licensing, saying it would help focus police attention on irresponsible retailers.

But, he added that the responsibility for the issue of underage drinking ultimately lay with legislators hat have failed to implement the law in the spirit that was intended when the age was lowered in 1999.

“The knee-jerk reaction to raise the drinking age is a smokescreen to conceal the failure of the Government to police the law correctly,” said Nandor.

“Liquor retailers simply haven’t had enough pressure to comply with law - retailers need to be absolutely certain that if they flout the law and sell to underage people then their licenses will be suspended and they will be fined.

“Assurances that the age limit would be strictly monitored and the law rigorously enforced when the law was changed have not been followed through. It’s clearly the responsibility of the liquor industry and the law, not the fault of young people.

“Attempts to curb the wider issues of binge drinking have been weak. If we were serious of minimising the harm of alcohol abuse then we must promote messages of moderation instead of the leery booze-ups that are used to sell many beer brands to make them popular with young people,” said Nandor.

Nandor has a private member’s bill on the ballot, the Liquor Advertising (Television and Radio) Bill, that would ban alcohol advertising on broadcast mediums.

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