'Drinking is fun, don't raise the age' - campaign launched

The drinking age should not be raised because getting drunk is fun and 18 and 19-year-olds are not the only problem drinkers, a spokeswoman for the Keep it 18 campaign says.

The reaction follows the release yesterday of the 500-page report by the Law Commission into reducing the harm caused by alcohol. The report made a number of recommendations, including raising the purchase age of alcohol to 20-years.

The Government was considering the report and its recommendations before saying what it would agree to.

Keep it 18 spokeswoman Jenna Raeburn, 22, said today it was a contradiction that 18 and 19-year-olds could work in a bar, vote, get married or become a prostitute and politicians were considering taking away their right to drink alcohol.

There were also benefits of drinking, which were not mentioned in the Law Commission report, she said.

"The fact that people like to drink speaks for itself.

"Going out and drinking, and even going out and getting drunk, can be a lot of fun."

Ms Raeburn said raising the alcohol purchase age would punish the majority for the actions of a few problem drinkers.

ACT on Campus president Peter McCaffrey, 22, said Members of Parliament who wanted to raise the drinking age should reject any votes they receive from 18 and 19-year-olds at the next election.

"If an 18-year-old is not rational enough to be able to have a beer after work with their workmates, how can they possibly make such an important decision as to who should represent them in Parliament?"

Mr McCaffrey said his group believed people should decide whether to drink alcohol or not for themselves, it was "not the job of politicians to save people from themselves".

Young Labour spokeswoman Nicola Wood, 17, said the Government would do better to enforce current law rather than punishing the majority of the 140,000 18 and 19-year-olds who were responsible drinkers.

"Creating a culture of responsible drinking only comes from policy which better enables young people to make positive decisions about how they use alcohol."

Young Greens spokesman Zachary Dorner, 20, said many older people also drank excessively.

"Eighteen and 19-year-olds are not the problem -- drinking is."

Raising the purchase age of alcohol was a "discriminatory solution" and could not address the cultural issues around drinking in New Zealand.

The law was also likely to be flouted, he said.

Mr Dorner proposed restricting alcohol supply and advertising, increasing education and treatment accessibility and community control as the best ways to improve the drinking culture here.

Young Nats president Daniel Fielding, 23, said an 18-year-old has the responsibilities of adulthood so there was no justification for restricting their right to consume alcohol.

Young people were a "convenient scapegoat", he said.

"Solutions need to focus on problem drinkers, not punish all drinkers.

"A blanket measure of raising the drinking age will not change the drinking culture."

At the other side of the age spectrum, Grey Power national president Les Howard said he welcomed the Law Commission's report and hoped the Government would adopt its recommendations.

"The country's alcohol problem needs to be addressed urgently."


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"it [is a] contradiction that 18 and 19-year-olds could work in a bar, vote, get married or become a prostitute" - Maybe they shouldn't be able to do those things either?

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Come on - once upon a time people were leaving school and functioning as adults at 15. Do you really think cocooning them for another two years makes a difference? Instead of spending millions of dollars swapping policy backward and forward, why not spend the money on solutions that start with culture and cultural change. Or why not spend the money on other issues that the government can make a significant difference on - I mean significant!

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I'm sorry, in all my years - THAT is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read on the internet. Get over yourself.

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Why the feck does everything come down to the few pillocks who cant control themselves. If you just kill all the fecks you dont like then you'll get your perfect society! except there wont be any one left.

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That is true. Although if they're really desperate to get married they can just go get civil unioned at 16.

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Politicians were warned not to lower the drinking age some years ago, now its come around to bite them on the bum. Remove the alcohol from the bars in Parliament, and Police clubs, followed by some restrictions on public inebriation. Our education system has not been brilliant at teaching our young people "responsibility and accountability" and afterall getting drunk is in part selfinflicted. People have to realise they are responsible for getting drunk and shouls be held accountable. People who supply alcohol should not be selling drinks to people whose decision making is impared by alcohol. bars and Clubs make a living off selling alcohol to people with impared decision making abilities, and they should be more accountable.
How much under the influence were there customers when they entered the premises? Maybe this is another area of potential controll. Clubs and Bars should have a wind down time of up to 2 hours after they stop selling alcohol before the premises are emptied, therefore not forcing inebriated people onto the street for somebody else to deal with.

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What a bunch of dick heads

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Look around, young people are drinking too much. There is a massive social problem in NZ that must be confronted. Raise the age now and deal with the violence, drink driving, and other social issues. Then debate about how to move on. This is destroying the future of the country. "Drinking and getting drunk is fun". Those serious campaign statements show how distorted the whole situation has become. This is a NZ/ Australia/UK/ireland perspective, not a global one. And it's wrong. Save the country, Save our children.

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History has proven legislation to be a completely, utterly and entirely ineffective measure at solving any alcohol related problems.

The Gin Acts during London's Gin Craze, American Prohibition, Six O'Clock Closing, no alcohol available in supermarkets in Waitakere City. Have any of these measures had even the slightest positive effect on peoples' drinking habits? Generally, the reverse is true.

Create safe, environments, with food, water, security, entertainment (other than drinking) and plenty of cheap transport for young drinkers and many problems can be solved. New Zealand's lack of late night public transport is a huge problem that leads to many so called 'alcohol related problems'.

Changing the drinking age provides none of the above. Instead you will have 18 year olds who feel slighted drinking in parks, at friends houses and on the streets. This would create more problems that would lead to what? More legislation perhaps? Next NZ will be passing laws forbidding those under 20 to gather in numbers in public. Hell why not just slap them all with an 8 o'clock curfew and be done with it!

If laws must change then may I humbly suggest that buying liquor from an off-license be raised to 20 or heck even 25 for all I care. But 18 years must be allowed to socialise like other adults and enjoy a drink or two at a bar. Bars (responsible ones that is) offer a safer environment than a street corner and due to the price of alcohol most 18 year olds are likely not going to be able to afford to get legless.

By NZ law, food is available at any time of the day in bars, water and non alcoholic drinks must be provided too. Entertainment is often present to distract from continuous drinking, and all bar staff are required to look for signs of intoxication or else be slapped with a huge fine.

Adequate legislation is already in place. We should think more about infrastructure, education and co-operation rather than handing the public a sugar pill and thinking that will do the job.

Legislation is the easy road - it just does jack whilst convincing voters something is being done. How about we use some of our taxes to create real solutions rather paying politicians to argue about amendments to the Sale of Liquor Act.

It ain't easy, but finding real solutions to real social problems never are.

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MAKE DRINKING ILLEGAL FOR EVERYONE!!!

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Education from a younger age is what is needed, This government needs to start fixing the cause of the problems.

As a 21 year old, I can easily say that alot people start drinking from 14 - 15, raising the age limit will not solve anything.

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It would mean that their 18 year old brothers/sisters/cousins cannot buy if for them though. At age 21 I'm sure you are more mature and would not supply a 14-15 year old with alcohol? I know its illegal now but people are always going to break the law a little. If you make an allowance of buffer it may mean you don't have to well experienced drinkers by the age of 18.

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I do agree with education but that is the same for a lot of things nowadays. Pregnancy is a huge one!

I do believe lowering the drinking age will change things though, at the moment the drinking age is 18 and on average the earliest age people start drinking is 13.. if the drinking age is raised to 20-21 the earliest is more likely to increase to 15 - 16 you would think... That or give kids more boundaries so they don't need to go to such an extent to push them.

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This reform is another classic example of the baby boomer generation making decisions for the young people of this country from the safety of their lofty towers. I've come across just as many 50-year old drunks, drunk drivers and violent people as 18 year olds. How can we possibly think raising the age by a couple of years and restricting sales by a couple of hours will make a difference. At least it looks like something's being done right? Something easy. So those people in their forties can sit in their houses (that 18 year olds can no longer afford) and sip wine (that 18 year olds can't buy) while 18 year olds work to pay for their healthcare and super. No wonder young kiwi's are buggering off overseas!

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Plain and simple.

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As with most contentious this country faces, the real problem is lack of accountability.
Make people responsible for their actions and they will modify their behaviour. I don't want to have to pay for the consequences in police time, property damage, medical treatment, court costs and prison time for people who think they can get drunk or stoned and do whatever they like.
If people were forced to pay for the consequences of their behaviour, they would think long and hard before they misbehaved.
Tinkering around the edges of the law will achieve nothing little. Taking a stance in making people accountable for their actions most certainly will.

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The issue is the cheapness of alcohol in supermarkets. How possibly can we as a society accept that alcohol can be used as a loss leader in supermarkets? Beer swaps places every weekend - one weeknd its Heineken that's on special, the next it's Pure, the next it's Carlsberg. Every Saturday there's a reason to buy beer cheap and then we miught as well the majorty of the groceries here. Get the alcohol out of the supermarkets altogether and not confuse the public that this is a staple of the diet.

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an earlier poster was moaning about baby boomers spoiling the GENY's mindless fun by saying 52 year olds etc get drunk too?
duh..but boomers don't run around drunk down the viaduct or other mainstreets in NZ, screeching " o my god" every sentence or start smashing each other up at the slightest slur.
even the aging cougar women don't lie totally hammered on the footpath with their undies showing and staggering into each other( hmm, maybe they do) squealing in excitement at their sheer amazingness!

get over it GENY's and learn how to spell "consequences" !

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David [5.07pm] - spot on mate. The supermarkets have just as much to answer for on this one as the politicians.

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the responsibility lies at the foot of the individual !! you dumb ____!

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Exactly right, whoever said it!! Get alcohal out of the super-markets!!!!!

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i had to wait till i was 20 before i could legally go to a bar or a wholesaler and buy alcohol for myself. it did me no harm.
most 18 year olds cant handle alcohol at all; yet most think they can. 18-19 year olds need to learn to be a responsible adult before the responsiblity of being able to consume a strong intoxicant is placed upon them. One person commented that 21 year olds are mature and wouldn't buy 14-15 year olds alcohol, but they do. and so do the parents of 14-15 year olds. just because people break the law a little now, doesnt make it right.
take alcohol out of supermarkets.

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Get it taxed it into submission for the well being of all of us.
Its another case of vested interest groups and well funded lobbyists gutting a very extensive and well reasoned report.
Be bold, Prime Minister! Public Opinion will support you.
(Mind you, John did look quite inebriated on Election night, didn't he? Just as well he had a sober driver...)

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how many backhanders have the goverment been given by the alcohol companies,Key is nothing more than a lair and is in bed with the Maori party hey when there is a treaty settlement they seem to find hundreds of millions of dollars in the beat of a heart but when it comes to health ,education excuse after excuse

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Discrimination is agaisnt the law John Key will screw you over in the budget and the maori party will screw you over in treaty settlement and land claims and the un carter.
But Beening indeguious is there eyes to me they are just immarants

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My post above was directed at "responsibility at 18" by the way to clear things up :)

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Raise the drinking age, raise the voting age, and raise the age people can join the army. If you don't think 18 and 19 year olds are adult citizens then they shouldn't be able to/compelled to do any of those things.

Or you can get off your front porch and stop complaining about how the youth of today are ruining society and let them get on with their lives. That is a mighty old tune you are whistling, and once upon a time the same was no doubt said about you.

http://classics.mit.edu/Aristophanes/wasps.html

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My issue is with the 18 year olds that buy their younger siblings/ companions with alcohol. Getting drunk at 18 is alright (mature enough to make their own choices etc)- trashed at 14... Not cool. It can seriously damage development. I haven't heard of many 20 year olds that buy these children (and thats pretty much what they are) alcohol as theyre less likely to assosciate with them. Those 18 year olds still at high school though...

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'Drinking is fun, don't raise the age' If that's the best argument she can come up with then good luck to her.

It pretty much proves the point that 18 year old's aren't mature enough to drink when they can come up with is that drinking is fun.

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The quality of many of the comments demonstrates why its a good idea to raise the age - if you guys think like this when you are sober image how stupid you are when you are pissed.

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Based on the quality of comments here, its a brilliant idea - if you guys are this stupid wehn you are sober - imagine what you are like when drunk.

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Newsflash, 18 year olds are considered adults in modern society. They can die in war, they can vote, they recieve full prison sentances for any crimes they commit. But they arent responsible enough to drink? Please, being allowed to drink is allowing kids much less responsibility than any of the above.

As a 22 year old active drinker, i can tell you I drank just as much at 16 as i did at 18. What do you really think your going to achieve by making it illegal? Further, since when did 18 and 19 year old drinkers become the only age group with drinking problems? You gotta be dreaming.

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It's the culture, not the age of the people drinking. Look at places like Belgium, where the legal age is 16, but by and large people aged 16 (and younger) drink responsibly without incident.

I've heard tales of New Zealand teens back in the 60's and 70's acting exactly the same way as teens act now, the major difference being that nearly all of these accounts referred to drink driving in some way.

Raising the age would prove fruitless as it is simply taking away an aspect of adulthood for individuals who are otherwise in every way expected to abide by the rules of adult society. If this goes ahead, then the government needs to take away the right of Grey Power members to vote, based on the fact that some of them are senile.

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Dancing is a big part of many cultures. South American countries for instance people drink as part of a night of eating drinking and dancing. Dancing makes you feel high when you are doing it at you dont need to be smashed to have the best night ever. People only get really drunk to make them feel brave and confident to socialise, when you actually get people dancing its always a great and positive atmosphere and they will tell you they had the best night/day ever! Our culture approves of this dickhead alcohol kiwi bloke image. We encourage people to be the stereotypical kiwi boozer. A concerted campaign to make drunkeness less socially acceptable through the media is the key. Take down tui billboards, ban speights hard southerm man ads. You would never see tobacco ads like that, or wife beating/child beating ads-but alcohol abuse is closely linked with both.
We cant continue to promote alcohol as glamorous. Ban all ads, sports sponsership etc and start alcohol harm campaigns to educate-not just ban certain groups. Polynesian/ maori appear more frequently in alcohol related crime so why not ban them? They also smoke most and have the highest abuse rates? NO. Banning people is not the answer we need to restrict this poison and make it less of an important part of our Nz culture~

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who ever made this is retarted:)

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Raising the drinking age is not going to directly change anything. Another method is needed to change our culture of drinking.

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So at 18 you can vote for who represents you in parliament, join the army, go to war, die for your country...But you cant make the right decision about buying a beer? That is absolutely ridiculous. If 18-19 year olds are expected to behave like responsible adults, they should be treated like adults. Taking away their privilege to drink is a stupid way of dealing with a minority who abuse their privilege.

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the drinking age shuld be romoved compleatly becose then it is not restrected and the thrill of 14 year olds drinking is gone

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Drinking is OK so long as you keep in-side the law and dont do anything stupid!!

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the drinking age shuld be romoved compleatly becose then it is not restrected and the thrill of 14 year olds drinking is gone

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