Despite lower drinking age reforms still to come
Fri, 31 Aug 2012 10:35p.m.
By Laura Frykberg
The Justice Minister is promising reform of the alcohol industry to tackle problem drinking the day after politicians voted to leave the drinking age unchanged.
But critics say the Government's missed its chance to make a real change.
“It's so expensive to buy things out in the clubs and that and I mean sharing a bottle of wine at home with a friend before you go out there's not much harm in that,” says decision supporter Sarah Shuttleworth
But critics of last night's conscience vote on the drinking age say our MPs got it wrong.
“It's very, very disappointing we are aware about 78% of New Zealanders wanted it back to 20,”says Alcohol Health Watch director Rebecca Williams.
But Labour MP Grant Robertson disagrees.
“Changing the age won't make the difference of curbing alcohol abuse - alcohol abuse happens at all ages,” says Mr Robertson
And, despite the drinking age being unchanged, some level of reform is on the way.
Among the proposed measures are:
Giving residents more say in the issuing of liquor licences,
Stopping dairies from selling alcohol
Restricting alcohol displays to one area of supermarkets and groceries
Making it illegal to supply underage drinkers without parental approval
Justice Minister Judith Collins wants the industry to take the lead and regulate itself but critics say that won't work.
“Why doesn't the Government act right now? That's the same as expecting an alcoholic to control his drinking,” says addiction counselor Roger Brooking.
And they're worried that cheap RTDs are getting even more popular with young drinkers.
Cabinet backed away from restricting their sale and now Woodstock bourbon and cola is biggest selling single brand of alcoholic drink in the country,
Judith Collins says she'll act quickly if the industry doesn't, and she says liquor reforms will work - even with the drinking age remaining at 18, but critics are unconvinced and say the our politicians had a prize opportunity and they blew it.
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