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Youth MPs speak on alcohol laws

17 August 2004

Youth MPs speak on alcohol laws

Youth Affairs Minister John Tamihere welcomed the lively and constructive debate held on the drinking age at this week's 2004 Youth Parliament.

"It is important for the government to note the strong views voiced by Youth MPs on this issue."

"I take their contribution seriously and have asked my officials to respond to all issues raised," said Tamihere.

Only 29 Youth MPs supported raising the legal drinking age back to 20. Eighty-six voted in favour, with 5 abstentions.

Tamihere said the young people who spoke were passionate about their views and had obviously done their research.

"Both the Drug Foundation and ALAC had been urging Youth MPs to raise the drinking age to 20."

Debate on the Minimum Ages Bill was lively with one Youth MP describing the notion to increase the legal age as simply ‘ridiculous’.

Several Youth MPs acknowledged there were problems with teen drinking but also pointed out that there was an equal problem with adult drinking.

Youth MPs repeatedly stressed that the answer to New Zealand youth's binge drinking culture lay in education rather than legislative change.

They also voted overwhelming to keep driver licensing at 15 years and to lower the Age of Majority from 20 to 18.

Tamihere was full of praise for the commitment and quality of debate of Youth MPs on all the issues they tackled. Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt, said it was the best Youth Parliament yet.

ENDS


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