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Supply of alcohol to minors raised by Robson

Thursday, 18 August 2005

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Supply of alcohol to minors raised by Robson in Whakatane

The results of a recent sting operation on liquor premises in Opotiki, which found all but just one of nine outlets monitored caught selling alcohol to minors, are very frightening, Progressive MP Matt Robson said.

"I am in Whakatane today meeting with local people to outline why Progressive has introduced legislation to Parliament to strengthen the law against those caught peddling alcohol to young teenagers and children," Matt Robson said.

"Progressive's view is that this is an important public health and safety issue as well as an issue related to childrens' right to protection and proper guidance. It is the height of irresponsibility to supply alcohol, the biggest drug-of-abuse in our country, to children.

"I can't understand how it is possible that eight out of nine outlets that were checked were found to be illegally supplying alcohol to children. That shows, in my view, that the current liquor laws, introduced by the last National minority government propped up by MPs elected under the NZ First and ACT tickets, are failing New Zealand," Matt Robson said.

When two volunteers aged 16 and 17 set out to buy liquor in Opotiki last Friday night, only one outlet challenged the attempted purchase, liquor licensing inspector Stu Chapman is reported to have told the media. The other eight outlets neither asked the teenagers for identification nor questioned their age.

"According to one media report I read, the outlets concerned will get a slap over the wrist with a wet bust ticket and won't get prosecuted. At face value, such a blasé attitude seems like a slap in the face to children and their parents, but I need to know all of the facts on the ground before I comment further," he said.

Matt Robson's Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill proposes to raise the alcohol purchasing age to 20 years, strengthen provisions relating to the supply of liquor to minors and provide a restriction on broadcast liquor advertising before 10pm. The Bill is currently before Parliament's Law and Order Select Committee and will soon hear public submissions.

MPs that had voted against the Bill even proceeding to Select Committee, where the public can have their say, included National leader Don Brash, ACT leader Rodney Hide, United Future leader Peter Dunne and the Greens' co-leaders.

ENDS

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