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Students support raising purchase age for alcohol

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Medical Students for Global Awareness (MSGA) has come out in support of National MP Tim Macindoe's Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) to raise the purchase age for alcohol to 20 for both off and onsite licensed premises. The SOP, to be presented to parliament before the third and final reading of the Alcohol Reform Bill in the next couple of months, aims to redress one of the key recommendations that has been omitted from the proposed Bill.

"It may seem strange to see a student body backing a proposal to raise the purchase age" says MSGA spokesperson Stefan Fairweather. "However,we are not seeking to raise the drinking age. What MSGA aims to achieve are policy directives backed by sound, scientific evidence that will reduce the incredible harm that excessive alcohol consumption does to NZ society. Raising of the purchase age is just one of the key points in the 5+ Solution that is endorsed by Alcohol Action New Zealand (AANZ)"

Fairweather considers it disappointing that at this stage, the SOP is unlikely to be backed by many politicians, the vote in parliament to be a conscience vote. "One really has to question whether the people we have elected to power are acting in the interests of the health of New Zealanders or in the interests of a very vocal, profit-drive alcohol lobby. The plethora of evidence out there in the medical and scientific community points to raising the purchase age as one of the most effective things a government can do to reduce binge drinking and alcohol related harm among young people".

MSGA is urging politicians to "do the right thing" when it comes time to vote on Mr Macindoe's SOP, and is hoping that other politicians will table similar SOPs to include key points currently missing from the Bill. "We live in a culture that has embraced the unbridled commercialisation of one of the most dangerous drugs available" says Fairweather. "We don't want prohibition, we don't want alcohol in excess. What we want is a healthy balance of consumerism and protection afforded to NZers by the people who should know best"

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