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National and its allies have a lot to answer for

Thursday, 18 August 2005

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

National and its allies have a lot to answer for in Bay of Plenty

The results of a sting operation on liquor premises in Opotiki are very frightening. What is going on in Bay of Plenty is, in my view, an indictment of the 'liberal' liquor law enacted by the last National minority government, propped up by MPs elected under the NZ First and ACT tickets.

“I am in Mr. Ryall's territory today. He is the former National Minister in a Government which was renowned for being soft on the biggest law and order issue around.

“Today I met with Police Inspector Pat Tasker, the Whakatane area commander. His officers are on the front line in the battle against the supply of alcohol to minors. On the weekend, his officers found that eight out of nine local outlets sold alcohol to underage youngsters,” said Matt Robson

“Inspector Tasker told me his officers are regularly coming across 16 year olds who are drinking three to four boxes of beer a week, and as much as a box of beer a night. Young people are drinking on the streets regularly with 14 and 15 year olds addicted to alcohol and a lifestyle that revolves around alcohol.

“This is social catastrophe, a public health issue and a law and order issue. The local crime rate is directly connected to the alcohol harm done by the supply of alcohol to young people. In the Youth Court, the majority of minors already have a dependency on alcohol.

“Thank goodness that the Progressive Party was able to secure in Budget 2005 an investment of $2 million which gave the Police the resources to enforce liquor licensing laws, including enforcement on supply to minors.

“My conclusion is that the Select Committee looking at the Progressive Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill must have the best evidence from Police across the country. They are the ones dealing with the harm being done under the present law. The Police are the people to tell us what is necessary to make good enforceable law,” said Matt Robson.

ENDS

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