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O'Connor's drinking-age comment out of line

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

7 September 2006

O'Connor's drinking-age comment out of line

Associate Minister of Health Damien O'Connor is making a mockery of the parliamentary process by saying the drinking age will not be put back to 20 before the Law and Order Select Committee has even finished its consideration, says National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

Mr O'Connor was reported as telling an addictions conference in Wellington today that 'the political reality is that New Zealand is stuck with the drinking age at 18'.

"Damien O'Connor should be waiting till the committee has finished its deliberations before making policy statements on how the whole of Parliament will be voting, particularly as the bill addressing the purchase age - as opposed to the drinking age - is a Member's Bill.

"This is likely to be a conscience vote, and for him to pre-empt it takes the Labour Government's disrespect of the parliamentary process to new heights of arrogance.

"He is making a mockery of the process and of the hundreds of submitters who spent months giving evidence, when the committee has not even reported back to the House."

ENDS

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