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Sale of Liquor Bill must go to Select Committee

Media Release

7 June 2005

Sale of Liquor (Youth Harm Reduction) Bill must go to Select Committee

“It is imperative that MPs send the Youth Harm Reduction Bill to Select Committee,” says Public Health Association Director Gay Keating.

The Bill proposes that the age at which people can purchase alcohol revert back to 20 – from the current age of 18 – and aims to place restrictions on the advertising of alcohol. MPs vote on whether it should be passed through to Select Committee tomorrow.

“New Zealanders of all ages must begin to take the risks of alcohol seriously. Lowering the drinking age has been a disaster,” Dr Keating says.

“Liberalisation of alcohol sales in 1999 was accompanied by an increase in alcohol-related harm amongst young people. It’s the same all around the world – alcohol is moving into being one of the biggest killers.”

The World Health Organisation recently adopted a resolution on the effects of alcohol on health. It noted that the harmful use of alcohol is becoming one of the leading risks to health, and is a causal factor in more than 60 diseases. Rising rates of consumption and drinking to excess, particularly among young people, are two key causes for the increase in alcohol-related health problems world wide.

“New Zealand has got to face the facts. Sending the Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Bill to Select Committee will help get the facts highlighted by the World Health Organisation out into public discussion.” Dr Keating says.

Ends.

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