Family First NZ 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.
"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 even 21." (see summary of poll results below)
"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 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.
The 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 in the best interests of our young people and society," says Mr McCoskrie.
Recent Polls on raising drinking age
Herald-Digi Poll (June 2011) Big Majority for raising the drinking age
An overwhelming majority of people support raising the legal purchase age for alcohol to 20 for bars and liquor shops, including supermarkets, according to the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey. ?When asked by the pollsters to choose between three options for the minimum age to buy alcohol, 58.6 per cent preferred 20, which was the age before a law change in 1999. Only 14.5 per cent wanted the status quo of 18, while 25.7 per cent wanted a split age.
Online NZ Herald poll showing 72% support for their call to raise the drinking age to 21 - over 10,000 people voting (Feb 2011)
Dominion Post online poll 77% of New Zealanders wanting the legal drinking age put back to at least 20 (2010)
Police Association poll 75% (2009)
Research NZ poll (almost 75% - 2009)
Christchurch Press poll 75% (2009)
ONE News/Colmar Brunton poll 71% (2004)
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