Family First NZ says that the government should ditch their split-age proposal and pass urgent legislation that raises the drinking and purchasing age to 21.
“How much more tragic evidence do we need,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “We cannot allow politicians to procrastinate on this any further.”
“The people have spoken on this issue. A rise in the drinking age was supported in a ONE News/Colmar Brunton poll (71% – 2004), a Police Association poll (75% – 2009), a Research NZ poll (almost 75% – 2009), a Christchurch Press poll (75% – Oct 09), an online poll in the Dominion Post (77% – 2010) and an online NZ Herald poll (72% – Feb 2011).”
“Of most significance was the Christchurch Press poll which found majority support for raising the drinking age from those aged under 30. Even younger people realize the urgent need for turning back the liberalized laws.”
“The government should ditch their split-age proposal as it will confuse the issue, and fails to deal with the underlying problems of exposing young people to alcohol, as evidenced in the latest medical and bioscience research,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Family First released a report in February entitled “YOUNG PEOPLE AND ALCOHOL: What Does the Medical Evidence Tell Us About the Legal Drinking Age in New Zealand?”. Author UK psychologist Dr Aric Sigman argued that alcohol policies and decisions about a legal drinking age should be firmly based on the health and well-being of New Zealand’s young people, and that New Zealand would benefit from adopting a single legal drinking age of 21.
“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 easy access to alcohol will reduce the level of damage they and society suffer at the moment as well as contributing to their future health and well-being,” says Dr Sigman
“The evidence is in. The people have spoken. The real question now is whether the government will listen to NZ’ers on this issue or capitulate to pressure from the alcohol lobby,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“The longer we procrastinate on this issue, the more preventable damage we will witness.”