Family First NZ is disappointed that the government is wanting to put the onus on parents about under-age drinking rather than supporting parents with laws and enforcement based on evidence and science.
“The government is telling parents today that underage drinkers can drink away at parties and after-balls – as long as parents have said ok. This is hugely problematic because we know that a huge proportion of the underage drinking problem is due to parents supplying the alcohol,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Unfortunately many parents are unaware of the research or unconcerned about the effect of early age drinking.”
“It also sends a message to teenagers that if they can pressure mum and dad, they can start drinking as soon as they like. Are we saying that a 9 year old who persuades their dysfunctional parents to supply them alcohol is somehow acceptable?”
UK Psychologist and author Dr Aric Sigman who was recently in the country said “New medical evidence on accident probability, disease and brain development makes it absolutely clear that delaying the age at which teenagers and young people have high access to alcohol will reduce the level of damage they and society suffer at the moment.”
Mr McCoskrie says “The government and parents need to stand together on this matter and send a message to our teenagers that we’re not spoilt sports – we simply care deeply about their health and safety.”
Family First is calling for the age to be lifted to at least 20 across the board, and preferably 21 – based on the latest medical evidence.