INDEPENDENT NEWS

Party Youth Wings get together to 'Keep It 18'

Published: Mon 6 Nov 2006 02:39 PM
Party Youth Wings get together to 'Keep It 18'
Media Release by: Young Labour - Young Nats - Young Greens - ACT on Campus
Youth wings from four political parties sent a united message to MPs today - Keep it 18!
In a cross party effort the Young Nats, Young Labour, the Young Greens and ACT on Campus held a joint press conference to urge MPs to vote against the Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction: Purchase Age) Amendment Bill.
Young Labour spokesperson Sonny Thomas said;
"Parliament should look at ways of changing the binge-drinking culture that is harming our society– but raising the drinking age is not the answer. Changing attitudes towards our drinking is.
"That's why we call on MPs to get behind, and provide more support for enforcement efforts and educational campaigns like ALAC's campaign against binge drinking – not to deprive 18 year olds of the right to a beer as some sort of knee jerk response."
"Many young activists would find it difficult to campaign and vote for a political party, yet not be able to buy a drink to celebrate their party's election."
Young Nat's President Matthew Patterson said;
"This bill is just unfair. If the law allows 18 year olds to fight for their country, get married and vote - why can't we have the freedom to buy a drink? It would be ridiculous if 19 year olds are being sent overseas on often dangerous peace keeping missions with our armed forces, yet when they return can't have a drink with their colleagues.
"In addition, this is bad law - it creates multiple inconsistencies between bar staff and patrons, and there has been no proper consultation with young people
Young Greens spokesperson Zach Dorner said;
"20 was an age limit that no-one respected or enforced. It didn't work then so why go back? The 18 years limit is working well in responsible bars, but issues remain around irresponsible supply. We say to MPs tackle this problem, not the age limit."
"Political parties should look at how alcohol is promoted to young people."
ACT on Campus's Helen Simpson said;
"This Bill is immoral. It is immoral because it is an assault on freedom and democracy. It contradicts the liberal democratic notion that parliament exists to protect the socially responsible majority from the tiny handful of reckless individuals who refuse to respect others.
"We call on parliament to take responsibility and resist the temptation for a sensational headline-grabbing ban."
The group urged all MPs, who are facing a possible vote on the Bill this Wednesday, to listen to the voice of those who will be affected, ditch the proposal and instead focus on finding actual solutions to New Zealand's drinking problems.
Rasing the drinking age wont work, changing attitudes will.
ENDS

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