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New Chance To Correct The Drinking Age

New Chance To Correct The Drinking Age

The Drug Foundation welcomes the second chance Parliament has to return the drinking age to 20.

On Monday the Youth Parliament is holding a general debate on whether the minimum purchase age for alcohol should be changed from 18 to 20 years. On Tuesday the Youth Parliament will vote on this.

“We’re confident the Youth Parliament will make the right decision for the drinking age to be returned to 20. The mood is right for change. Recent public opinion polls show 75% of New Zealanders want the age to be changed and a recent survey by the youth newspaper Tearaway finds that this call is even stronger among young people.”

“The Drug Foundation has presented the 120 Youth Members of Parliament our written submission we made to the 120 MPs in 1999 who decided to lower the drinking age. We’re very interested to see what the Youth MPs will decide when provided the same evidence about the impact of lowering the drinking age. We urge the Youth MPs not to repeat the same mistake made in 1999,” says Drug Foundation executive director, Ross Bell.

Also on Monday, the Drug Foundation is appearing before a Youth Parliament Select Committee to discuss whether alcopops should be taxed higher than other alcoholic beverages to reduce teenage drinking.

“We’ll present evidence that supports increased excise tax on alcohol as a highly effective way to tackle alcohol related harm. It’s effective because people, especially young people, are particularly sensitive to price so higher prices as a result of higher taxes can help reduce binge drinking. However, we will argue that the tax should be matched to the actual alcohol content of different alcohol drinks, and not simply to a specific type of drink.”

“The math is quite simple: if we raise the price of alcopops people will continue to drink whatever is cheapest, so we need to ensure tax is applied effectively across the board and also indexed to inflation,” says Ross Bell. Note to editors: The Youth Parliament debating session begins on Monday 16 August from 2pm to 3.30pm, and continues on Tuesday 17 August from 1pm to 1.30, with the voting following at 1.30 to 2pm. The Select Committee inquiry into alcopops is on Monday 16 August from 10am to noon.

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