INDEPENDENT NEWS

Billboard campaign to raise drinking age

Published: Wed 1 Dec 2004 03:31 PM
Progressive billboard campaign to raise drinking age
The Progressive Party's publicity campaign to gain public support for raising the alcohol purchasing age back to twenty kicks off this week with billboards going up in Auckland and Christchurch, says Progressive leader Jim Anderton.
The Progressive leader told Parliament today that the misuse of alcohol is emerging as the single biggest cause of pain, suffering and ill-health from mind-altering substances in our communities.
"Progressives are campaigning to have the next coalition agreement include provision to provide Parliament as a whole with an opportunity to re-examine the drinking age, which was lowered to 18 from 20 years in 1999," Jim Anderton said.
"Ahead of the election, Progressive candidates will be aiming to lead public debate on the issue, outline the evidence on the impact of the drinking age on behaviour, including youth binge drinking.
"Most importantly of all, Progressive candidates will give people hope that we can win this battle in the face of stiff opposition from lobbyists.
"The weight of international evidence indicates that, compared with a wide range of other strategies, an increase in minimum purchase age is one of the most effective single measures Parliament can take to reduce youth drinking.
"It isn't a magic bullet, however. It is just one very important part of a mix of strategies which, as they are collectively implemented, will significantly reduce the personal, social and economic cost of alcohol-related harm," Jim Anderton said.
BACKGROUND NOTE:
Jim Anderton is currently chairing a series of public meetings on P, alcohol and other drugs around the country. The misuse of alcohol is emerging as the single biggest cause of pain, suffering and ill-health from mind-altering substances in our communities.
The Ministerial Committee on Drugs and Alcohol, which Jim Anderton chairs, received a report at its August meeting advising that international evidence relating to raising the minimum legal drinking age from 18/19 years to 20/21 years offers the prospect of lower alcohol consumption, reduced traffic injuries, reduced non-traffic injuries and improved sexual health benefits for young people in our own country.
The report to the Ministerial Committee on Drug Policy, entitled 'International and New Zealand Evidence on Health Impacts of Legal Age Limits for Drinking or Purchasing Alcohol' can be obtained from my office.

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