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Time for tough decision-making on binge drinking

Labour Member of Parliament for Hamilton West
Progressive Party Deputy-Leader

Media Statement
28th March 2006

Time for tough decision-making on youth binge drinking

Tomorrow morning, Deputy Leader of the Progressive Party, Matt Robson and Labour MP for Hamilton West, Martin Gallagher will be opening the public hearings for the Sale of Liquor (Youth Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill. Martin Gallagher has picked up Matt Robson's private member's bill to return the purchasing age of alcohol to 20 years and they will be jointly presenting the key issues they want the Select Committee to consider.

"The simple message we will be making to the committee is that the 1999 decision by Parliament to lower the alcohol purchasing age was a mistake.

"This bill was introduced not only because the decision in 1999 did not reverse the negative social indicators, as many had hoped at the time, but, in fact added to them.

"Now MPs have the means to rectify the mistake that was made in 1999, and we will be urging the committee to have the courage to do so.

"They will need courage because the liquor industry is a powerful industry but the evidence will back the committee if it acts to reverse the current situation that leads to significant underage drinking.

"The evidence also supports the changes to alcohol advertising in this bill. These small steps will hopefully be added to by review of alcohol advertising recently announced by the government.

"But it really is time to put a brake on an industry intent on presenting drinking as harmless fun to our young.

"Basically it is time for tough decision-making on these issues, and that is what we will be saying to the committee," Matt Robson and Martin Gallagher said.

The bill is due to be returned back to Parliament on 30th June 2006 and progress of the bill will be dependent on the individual conscience votes of 121 MPs.


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