Alcohol Review Positive Move Says ALAC
NOVEMBER 9 2006
The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) is disappointed Parliament has voted down a bill seeking to raise the legal purchase
age for alcohol from 18 to 20. However, ALAC says the announced review of the Sale of Liquor Act is a positive move and,
in the long run, could make a greater contribution to solving New Zealand’s drinking culture than changing the age at
which young people can purchase alcohol.
“ALAC supported the increase but we have always warned that such a move, in isolation, was never going to be the cure
all for New Zealand’s youth drinking problems,” says ALAC Chief Executive Officer Dr Mike MacAvoy.
“Simply raising the age would do nothing to change the adult drinking culture which says it is okay to get drunk. It
also would do nothing to stop the informal supply of young people by adults. Parents can legally give alcohol to their
children and young people can be supplied by anyone at a private party and this bill did nothing to address this.
“However, the promised review of supply of alcohol to minors and the possibility of a first principles review of the
Sale of Liquor Act gives us a great deal broader and better opportunity to really address the issue of alcohol misuse in
our society and not just amongst the young."
Dr MacAvoy says the review should be wide-ranging and comprehensive. “There are many aspects of the Sale of Liquor Act
that could be amended to reduce alcohol-related harm not only for young people but for all New Zealanders.
These could include outlet density, enhancing community involvement in decision-making on liquor licences in their area
and greater investment in enforcement.