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Higher drinking age: needed part of culture change

Higher drinking age is a needed part of culture change project

Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton said tonight that the ultimate success of Parliament's efforts to improve the nation's drinking culture must involve raising the drinking age.

"Those who say there are no quick fixes to improving our drinking culture are right.

"We have to work on many fronts at the same time and Matt Robson's Bill before Parliament this evening addresses three of the practical measures we can take as part of that broad-based strategy," he said.

"Last Friday, I joined a Police liquor licensing patrol in Christchurch for their late night and early morning work. These are the men and women at the front line.

"I was in electorates of some M.P.s sitting in this House tonight. It is a really eye-opening experience and I would urge any M.P. offered the chance to join those at the frontline to do so. "Almost everything I hear from the Police, the public and public health experts is that the decision to lower the alcohol purchasing age back in 1999 was an unfortunate mistake from a public health and public order point of view.

"Matt Robson's Bill may well be able to be improved upon and the place to do that is the place where the general public of New Zealand will also get to have their say.

"It is called a Select Committee of Parliament.

"There is no doubt that an overwhelming majority of New Zealanders support this initiative. My plea to MPs is to respect the wishes of most New Zealanders and facilitate the democratic process. I therefore urge MPs to support Matt Robson's Bill proceeding to select committee," Jim Anderton said.

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