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Keep It 18

For immediate release
3 November 2006

Keep It 18

A Keep It 18 campaign has been formed to speak on behalf of the 120,000 responsible 18 and 19 year olds who are at risk of being banned from being able to buy a bottle of wine or have a beer in a bar by the bill before Parliament which is seeking to increase the age one can purchase alcohol to 20

Spokesperson Christopher Bishop, a 4th year laws and arts honours student at Victoria University, labels the proposed increase a simplistic, and wrong, response to the issue of youth drinking.

"We are aiming to persuade the majority of MPs that raising the drinking age to 20 will not make things better, and in fact could well make things worse. We will also be promoting alternative remedies which actually address the problem which is abuse of alcohol, not purchasing alcohol."

"The major concern of those promoting the bill seems to be drunken parties of 14 and 15 year olds getting out of control. It's bizarre logic to advocate that the solution then is to stop 19 year olds from being able to go to the bar for a beer. Using this logic, if there was a problem with 14 and 15 year olds having sexually transmitted diseases, one would raise the age of consent for sex from 16 to 20."

"Raising the drinking age to 20 would be a great step backwards. It would be one of the highest drinking ages in the OECD, and contrast with the fact that at 18 New Zealanders can marry, vote, enlist with the Armed Forces, join the Police, be in fulltime employment, pay taxes and stand for Parliament."

"A website is being established at www.keepit18.co.nz. We will be encouraging responsible young people to contact their MPs and register their disapproval of being made scapegoats for the actions of a few", concluded Christoper Bishop


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