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Let Parliament set drinking age


15 November 2004

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Next coalition agreement should let Parliament set drinking age

Progressive MP Matt Robson says that if his party is in the next coalition government it will seek to negotiate an agreement with Labour that would allow Parliament the opportunity to reconsider the drinking age.

"Day after day we get reports that indicate that our decision to lower the drinking age to eighteen, in 1999, was a mistake.

"There is no shame in the fact that Parliament got it wrong in 1999.

"For many of us, the motivation for lowering the drinking age from twenty to eighteen was for the best of intentions. A majority in Parliament hoped that a lower drinking age would help propel a more rational approach to using alcohol by young and old alike.

"But in the view of the Progressive Party, we've now had plenty of time to assess the impact of the law change.

"Our party's view is that it is time to go back to square one. We believe that Parliament should be given the opportunity to revisit the age issue and that this should be facilitated by the next coalition government," Matt Robson said.

Matt Robson said that he appreciates that some parties, including Labour, do not have a party political position on the drinking age and that its lawmakers would vote on the issue as an individual conscience matter.

"Progressive will seek that the next coalition government agreement between our parties include a commitment by the Coalition Government to let Parliament, the Health Select Committee, and therefore the public of New Zealand, have the final say," Matt Robson said.

ENDS

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