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Debate begins tonight

Wednesday 11 May 2005

Debate begins tonight

Debate on Progressive MP Matt Robson’s private members bill calling for the minimum purchase age for the alcohol to be returned to 20 years and other amendments to the Sale of Liquor Act is on the agenda of Parliament tonight.

Alcohol Healthwatch says it must go through to select committee stage to ensure that all issues can be objectively assessed against the evidence for reducing harm and so the public can be heard.

A Ministry of Justice report released today, while saying that it is not clear to what extent the lowered purchase age is to blame for worsening trends for young people, does show that many of the indicators of harm have continued to worsen since the law change. Among these are disorderly behaviour offending, alcohol-related traffic offending and hospitalisations for young people.

Alcohol Healthwatch believes that there are important issues raised by Matt Robson’s Bill that need to be addressed so that the optimum mix of legislative control can be achieved. Director Rebecca Williams says that the Bill raises important issues many of which need a forum for broad and rigorous debate so we get it right this time.

New Zealand has much to gain from protecting our young people from unnecessary death, injury and adverse life changing incidents as a result of inappropriate alcohol use. Evidence shows that stricter control of alcohol supply, accompanied by effective enforcement, is the most effective tool for reducing harm and strengthens other efforts to achieve this aim.


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