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Young Nat's Call For Drinking Age Standardisation

Press Release
For Immediate Release
Sunday July 18, 1999

Young Nat's Call for Drinking Age to be Standardised

In a combined statement Youth Vice President Daniel Gordon and Young Nationals Policy Chair Grant Tyrrell called for 'a common sense' decision in the upcoming conscience vote on the legal age for the consumption of alcohol.

Grant Tyrrell called for, "Parliament to cut through some of the hysteria surrounding this issue and show some faith in the maturity of New Zealand's teenagers by endorsing a legal drinking age of 18."

"A legal drinking age of 18 will eliminate the current predicament the law is in, the number of exceptions available make the current law a nightmare to police and enforce."

Grant Tyrrell commented on the current situation stating, "At 18 years the law allows an individual to be treated as an adult in a criminal court. An 18 year old can purchase cigarettes, have consensual sexual relations, marry, fight (and die) for their country but not have a social drink in a bar. In so many ways the law treats any one over 18 as an adult but only allows the opportunity to purchase alcohol in certain, somewhat convoluted circumstances."

The New Zealand Young Nationals support the Prime Ministers statement on the drinking age and draw particular note to the conditions the Prime Minister attached to a reduction to 18, namely the need for photo identification and stronger penalties for both patrons and bar owners. With the onus on both patrons and owners this will provide a safer drinking environment for New Zealand's teenagers.

"The booze barns of the past have gone as well as the days of the 6 o'clock swill. To use a cliché, the café society is prevailing. By standardising the drinking age to 18 there is an encouragement for sensible and safe drinking," Grant Tyrrell concluded.

Daniel Gordon endorsed the policy statement saying; "The issue of the drinking age is not just one that is important to the Young Nationals. In my experience it is something that the majority of younger people are asking for through out the political spectrum. A vote for 18 will be a vote of confidence in today's youth."

ENDS.

For further information contact:

Grant Tyrrell: 021 213 2288
Deputy Chair New Zealand Young Nationals: Policy Chair

Daniel Gordon: 025 229 6812
Youth Vice President: New Zealand Young Nationals Chair

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