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Teen drink driving is a serious social challenge

16 November 2004

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Teen drink driving is a serious social challenge

Teen-age drink driving remains a serious challenge to society and a reminder that Parliament's decision to lower the drinking age five years ago has not had the positive social impact that many had hoped for, says Progressive MP Matt Robson.

"When Parliament voted in 1999 to lower the legal alcohol purchasing age, the hope was that it would deliver a more rational and mature drinking culture, with less youth binge drinking and less of the other social problems associated with alcohol abuse.

"It just hasn't happened. Reports today that 29 teenage drink drivers were apprehended in Auckland over the weekend are just one of many reports that show that Parliament made a mistake, which needs to be rectified.

"The binge drinking culture has been affecting younger and younger people since the drinking age was lowered. Lifting the age is a strong social signal that drinking is a serious adult issue. It is one key part of addressing the problem of underage drinking in New Zealand. Education and cultural change are also important and we support that too, the Auckland-based MP said.

"This is an issue that I want to put directly in front of our coalition partner, Labour. It needs action now to protect our young people," Matt Robson said.

Earlier this week, the Progressive Party said that if it is successful in entering a third-term coalition government in the next General Election then it would like to negotiate an agreement with Labour that would allow Parliament the opportunity to reconsider the drinking age.

ENDS

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