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Review of supply and sale of liquor welcomed

Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Minister of Youth Affairs

9 November 2006 Media Statement
Review of supply and sale of liquor to under-18's welcomed

Youth Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has welcomed a government review of restrictions around the sale and supply of liquor to young people, following Parliament's decision to keep the minimum age for purchasing alcohol at 18.

In a conscience vote last night, MPs voted down the Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction: Purchase Age) Amendment Bill, which had sought to raise the minimum age for buying alcohol from 18 back up to 20 years.

"Back in 1999, I did not support the bill lowering the alcohol purchasing age from 20 to 18 years, and consistent with that view, I voted in support of raising it back up to 20, because I believe that this does not send a good message to our young people about responsible drinking behaviour," Nanaia Mahuta said. "It also does not help address the underlying problem, which is New Zealand's binge drinking culture.

"However, I welcome this review, which will look at the effectiveness of current restrictions designed to prevent the sale and supply of liquor to under 18 year-olds, which I hope will result in a reduction of the risks of alcohol-related harm to young people.

"I also believe that as adults, young people and a society we all need to do more to model better drinking behaviour. Situations such as sporting events, tertiary student life, and even family celebrations are a good place to start to change behaviour.

"More importantly, we need to support young people to make positive life
choices. Every day, young people deal with complex emotional issues, and peer
pressure can lead to an experimental or 'follow the crew' mindset. Let's support young people to lead a culture of change to become healthy, confident leaders," Nanaia Mahuta said.

ENDS

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