Raising Drinking Age, Not Just Purchase Age

Media Release 13 September 2011
Family First NZ is welcoming an amendment to the drinking age being proposed by National MP Tim Macindoe today, but says that both the purchase and the drinking age should be raised to at least 20 in order to protect young people and to save lives.

“Mr Macindoe is quite correct in saying that the split-age proposal will be confusing and is not supported by frontline workers who are mopping up the mess of alcohol abuse on a regular basis,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “It is also not supported by the public with poll after poll clearly showing that families want the drinking age raised to 20 or 21.”

“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. New medical evidence on accident probability, disease and brain development, along with the just-released Child and Youth Mortality Review, and the recommendations of the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, 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 Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

A recent report from the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser Sir Peter Gluckman said raising the drinking age to 21 and increasing alcohol prices would be two of the most effective ways to address youth drinking problems.

“We need to send an unambiguous message to young people and society about what is good for young people, and raising both the drinking and purchase age will make it easier for parents and the community to work together to prevent harm to our young people. Parents don’t want a split-age proposal as this simply sends a mixed message,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“The politicians should immediately increase the drinking age to at least 20 if not 21, not for political reasons, but in the best interests of our young people and society,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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