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Copeland's amendment to drinking age bill

Media statement
For immediate release
Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Copeland's amendment to drinking age bill

United Future MP Gordon Copeland today revealed his Supplementary Order Paper seeking changes to the alcohol drinking age to be debated by Parliament this week.

"This SOP picks up on the concept of split ages for on-and-off licensed premises which was explored by the select committee, but not included in the Bill as reported back to Parliament," said Mr Copeland.

"The SOP will retain the present minimum purchase age of 18 years for the consumption of alcohol in on-licensed premises, but will raise the age to 20 years for the purchase of alcohol from supermarkets, liquor stores, and other off-licensed premises.

"Representations made to me by the parents of teenage children are strongly of the view that raising the age to 20 years for the purchase of alcohol off-license will immediately reduce the supply of alcohol to 14, 15, 16 and 17 year olds.

"They explained the present position to me in this way. The reduction of the age to 18 years for off-license purchasing of alcohol included, for the first time in New Zealand’s history, people at an age when they are still at secondary school.

"That reality has been seized on by younger students to open up a new way for them to access alcohol. What happens is that a group of students as young as 14 pool their funds and then ask an 18-year-old student to purchase alcohol for them in exchange for a payment, which they tell me is normally around $10.

Accordingly, the fact that students in the younger teenage years rub shoulders, at school, with 18 year olds has opened up a new and significant alcohol supply chain.

My SOP will bring that particular supply chain to an end since 20 year olds have left secondary school and, for the most part, have no contact with younger teenagers outside the home environment.

ENDS

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