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Drunk minors an indictment of Brash, Dunne

Tuesday, 6 September

Hamilton alcohol sales to minors an indictment of Brash, Dunne

The leaders of National, United and ACT need to front up to the public and explain why they voted in Parliament against meaningful action to protect young teenagers from alcohol peddlers, Progressive MP Matt Robson said today.

"It was reported today that nearly 70 percent of licensed premises in Hamilton sold alcohol to under-age people during a weekend sting operation in the city. Police and Hamilton council staff sent two volunteers aged 16 and 17 into 32 licensed premises in the city during Operation Scramble and they successfully bought alcohol in 22 of them.

"These results are a repulsive indictment of the last National-led government's decision to lower the alcohol purchasing age and to liberalise our liquor retailing laws in 1999.

"But worse than that, Parliament this year was given the opportunity to undo the damage by voting in favour of meaningful action to protect young teenagers from those that would cynically ply them with alcohol for money.

"National leader Don Brash, United Future leader Peter Dunne and ACT leader Rodney Hide all voted against my Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction Bill. They voted against the Bill even proceeding to select committee where the public can have their say.

"The people of New Zealand deserve to know why the leaders of these parties are so out of touch with mainstream values and the interests of families and young people," the Progressive MP said.

The sting operation on Hamilton superettes, wine shops, wholesalers and supermarkets followed similar sting operations in Opotiki, Dunedin, Taupo, the Hutt Valley and elsewhere. These operations are happening because Progressive obtained $2 million funding in this year’s Budget for enforcement of liquor licensing.

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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