INDEPENDENT NEWS

Teen Drinking—Stop The Madness!

Published: Thu 12 Jul 2001 02:50 PM
(Extracts from an Address by the Rt Hon Winston Peters MP to Local New Zealand First Members, Settlers Lounge, Memorial Hall, TE PUKE)
I want to talk today about an issue that is quickly becoming a critical issue not just to the Tauranga Electorate, but also the Bay of Plenty and New Zealand.
It is a problem which has been caused, not surprisingly, by foolishness in Wellington.
It is now almost two years since Parliament, in a collective rush of blood to the head, voted in favour of lowering the drinking age to 18, and moving the de facto drinking age to 15.
This has got to be one of the dumbest things that has ever come out of the Wellington Establishment—and that’s saying something!
On New Year’s eve 1997 and 1998 my home electorate saw riots of drunken louts running amok in Mt Maunganui.
This has become something of a tradition at the Mount. The locals move out for the night because they don’t feel safe in their own homes.
Thankfully the police managed to stop the trouble there this year, but that doesn’t mean that next new year’s eve we won’t see inebriated teenagers once again reverting to drunken lawlessness.
But the scenes we saw on the Mount were just a lightning rod for publicity. All over the country, in rural areas and cities alike, police are having to deal with more and more drunken teenagers, and often children as young as 11 being drunken and lawless.
Remember the annual riots at the Mount happened BEFORE the drinking age was lowered. What was Parliament’s response? They made it easier for our youth to get drink.
Parliament, with the stroke of a pen, encouraged institutionalised teen-drunkenness!
The Police are quietly being undermined by their Minister. They are being forced to stay quiet while they will privately tell you that they are pulling more drunken youth out of cars and are having to deal with more fights and unrest from drunken teens.
Ambulance Drivers and hospital staff are having to deal with teenagers who are now allowed into bars and are getting into alcohol and hard drugs whilst they are there.
Last week we had to open New Zealand’s first ever Alcohol dependency clinic for teenagers.
The police are against it, the medical profession is against the law change, parents are against it. It seems that the only people in favour of the new laws are those in Parliament!
How much more proof do you need?
The actions of the Parliament last year were nothing short of shameful, and it is time to say enough is enough.
Stop the madness—change the drinking age laws back!
Currently we have an epidemic of teenage drunkenness—we must stop it before it becomes a way of life.
The Government’s reaction to this trend of drunkenness for our young people?
Did they change the law back? That would be too sensible. Instead they turned 27 police into youth aid workers to process youths arrested, and made extra cellspace for 130 young offenders that the police are having to deal with.
There is no serious question for which this government does not have a stupid politically correct answer.
I want to remind you all here that New Zealand First’s Caucus all voted against the lowering of the drinking age. I am very proud of that fact.
So who is to blame? I want everyone here to know who is responsible.
Here is the list of some of those responsible, those who voted for this madness:
- John Banks
- Rod Donald
- Jonathon Hunt
- Trevor Mallard
- Richard Prebble
- Jenny Shipley
- Tony Ryall
- Bill English
- Steve Maharey
65 MPs voted for the Bill. I would be willing to bet that none of them would now like this to be known.
I urge our members to pressure those who did vote for this madness, and reverse things before it’s too late. We in the New Zealand First caucus certainly will be.
ENDS

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