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Progressive Bill part of alcohol culture change

8 June 2005

Progressive Bill part of alcohol culture change project

The Progressive Party's proposed law change, which was today endorsed by a majority in Parliament to proceed to select committee for public in-put, is an important contribution to society's efforts to improve the nation's drinking culture, party leader Jim Anderton said today.

"Those who say there are no quick fixes to improving our drinking culture are, of course, absolutely right," Jim Anderton said.

"To successfully improve our drinking culture, we have to take an honest stock take of existing rules on alcohol advertising and marketing and we need to honestly assess whether existing penalities against those caught supplying liquor to minors are strong enough, Jim Anderton said.

Progressive deputy leader Matt Robson's Sale of Liquor (Youth Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill was this afternoon voted to go to Select Committee, with 78 M.P.s in favour, and a minority of 41 against with one abstention.

Matt Robson said that the coalition government, and New Zealand society as a whole, need to "honestly examine" the costs and the benefits of the 1999 decision to lower the minimum legal alcohol purchasing age and "whether raising the age back to twenty would help turn around some of the unacceptable social statistics and personal tragedies that we read about daily in our newspapers".

"The Progressive Bill addresses just three aspects of what must be a broad strategy to turn the tide against alcohol abuse which includes youth binge drinking and all of its associated health and safety problems," Matt Robson said.

"We are sure that parliamentarians will make positive suggestions on how our Bill can be improved once parents, teachers and public health professionals have had their say on how we can, as a Parliament, act to reduce the harm alcohol is causing to too many of New Zealand's young and in our communities," Matt Robson said.

ENDS

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