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Arts Minister supports 18-year olds and RSA Clubs

26 July 1999

Cultural Minister supports 18-year olds and RSA Clubs

Minister for Culture and Heritage Hon Marie Hasler says the fundamental issue underpinning the most controversial part of the Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill is whether 18-year olds should be given the legal status of adults.

"The second crucial issue concerns retaining our long established and socially embedded club culture," Ms Hasler, MP for Waitakere, said.

"I believe the legal standing of an 18-year old as an adult has to be applied consistently. Eighteen-year olds can already vote, marry and join the armed services.

"This is why I will be voting in support of lowering the drinking age to 18 when the legislation goes through Parliament this week.

"Our vibrant cafe culture and thriving wine industry are indicative of the way our society is embracing socialised drinking with family and friends.

"However, we need to introduce a regime of responsibility and give young people the opportunity to act in a civilised way. I do think we should ensure it is difficult for young people to abuse the law and they should carry documented evidence with a photograph and birth date included.

"There is also no substantive evidence to show relaxing the drinking laws will encourage anti-social behaviour. Those people who are going to get drunk, or offend, will do so whatever the drinking age is.

"Our local clubs play a very valuable part in the social education of young people. They are important institutions in the development of our society.

"This is why I do not support the abolition of club licences.

"I firmly believe clubs, such as the RSA, fire brigades, and sporting and services clubs perform valid community service and their members have every right to have a drink with other members in their own club.

"As well as supporting lowering the drinking age to 18, I will vote for Sunday trading from on and off-licence premises and allowing supermarkets to sell all types of liquor."

With reference to Sunday trading Ms Hasler says many people can only shop on Sundays and they have as much right as everyone else to be able to purchase alcohol when they want to.

A conscience vote will be taken on each clause of the Bill during this week's debate in Parliament.


Ends

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