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Reconsideration of the Drinking Age Needed

13 May 2005

Reconsideration of the Drinking Age Needed

It is now six years since the drinking age was lowered from 20 years to 18 (Actually it is mostly a purchase age, rather than a drinking age, but everyone refers to it as the drinking age).

In 1999, I was on the select committee that recommended to Parliament that the drinking age be lowered from 20 years to 18 years. During all the submissions that we received, many of the submitters pointed out that changing the age to 18 opened the gates to younger drinkers - the 16, 15, and 14 year-olds.

At the time, the majority in Parliament did not appreciate the significance of the distinction between on licences (bars and restaurants), and off licences (supermarkets and liquor stores) but simple human dynamics have proved the parliamentarians wrong, and the submitters right.

Eighteen year-olds are far more likely to have 16 or 15 year-old friends than 20 year-olds are. And as we have seen, those 18 year-olds are able to go into an off-license or liquor store and buy alcohol for their younger friends. We have seen over the past 6 years the reality of the social problems that have since ensued. A newspaper recently polled members of Parliament and asked them to choose between 18, 20, or in some cases, a mixed age.

I was one of those who said "split the age." This is because in reality, the problems of young drinkers are not so prevalent in bars and restaurants; the on licensed premises. It is the supermarkets and liquor stores where the law has become so hard to police.

This week, I supported Mr. Matt Robson's Member's bill going to select committee stage.

I believe that Parliament needs to give New Zealanders the opportunity to re-examine the issue, in the light of the evidence that has shown up some of the damaging social problems associated with young drinkers.

When I polled the North Shore Electorate on the issue in 1999, it was an extremely close call then on whether the age should be lowered. Since then, I have received many calls from people who originally supported the changes in 1999, but would now like the situation reviewed. We owe it to New Zealand, especially to our young people, to consider the evidence and review the original decision, based on the evidence.

13 May 2005

Upcoming Events

Friday 20th May, 2005

Post Budget Briefing with Don Brash.

Join National Party Leader Dr. Don Brash for a post-Budget Briefing at the Ellerslie Convention Centre The North Shore Electorate are going to have a table, so please come and join us. All enquiries to the Electorate Office: 09 486 0005 or

Time: 12.00pm for a 12.30pm start.

Venue: Ellerslie Convention Centre, Ellerslie Racecourse.

Cost: $65.00 pp (if paying before 30th April, or $75.00pp after that date).

Monday 23rd May, 2005

Post-Budget Breakfast with Don Brash

Your opportunity to hear Don Brash & Finance Spokesperson John Key assess the Labour Budget. They will also cover key elements of National's plan to build prosperity.

Time: 7.15am

Venue: Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna

Cost: $25.00

RSVP: 486 0005

Monday, 23rd May, 2005

Public Meeting with Dr. Wayne Mapp MP

Wayne will be giving the post-budget talk. Please feel free to bring a friend for a cup of tea and a chat.

Time: 10.00am

Venue: North Shore Electorate Office, 1st Floor, Parkway Arcade, 54 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna.

Tuesday 24th May, 2005

Public Meeting in Northcote: Tunnel Crossing

Dr Jonathan Coleman is hosting a public meeting on a second harbour crossing for Auckland. Come and hear the solution Northcote is looking for.

Venue: Zion Hall, 237 Onewa Road, Birkenhead

Time: 7:30pm


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