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ALAC Welcomes Age Bill Report

ALAC Welcomes Age Bill Report

Press release
20 October 2006

The Alcohol Advisory Council has welcomed today’s select committee report recommending the return of the legal purchase age for alcohol to 20-years-old.

“In 1999 ALAC opposed reducing to 18 the age at young people could buy alcohol, and in our submission on this bill, we fully supported the return to 20,” said ALAC Chief Executive Officer Dr Mike MacAvoy.

“One concern I do have with the committee’s recommendations is the number of exemptions. For example, those aged 18 to 20 can be on licensed premises (although not in restricted areas) with their legal guardian or former guardian or their spouses or civil union partners who are aged 20 years or over. Exemptions make a law difficult to enforce,” he said.

“Enforcement to be vital to the effectiveness of the Sale of Liquor Act and as part of this an acceptable, tamper-proof, photographic identification system needs to be available.

“Introducing a nationally recognised and tamper-proof system of age identification would help bar staff identify underage drinkers, assist legal drinkers of youthful appearance to be served, help the Police enforce the law and assist in the prosecution of licensees and bar staff providing minors with alcohol.

“Finally, I would emphasis that this bill alone is not the cure all for the problems with alcohol in New Zealand. A whole lot of other things need to be done if we are to change our current binge drinking culture – legislation on its own is not enough, especially to change such entrenched behaviour.”


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