MPs got drinking age wrong - poll
Wed, 17 Oct 2012 6:05p.m.
By Duncan Garner
A 3 News/Reid Research poll has found voters think MPs were wrong to keep the drinking age at 18.
Six weeks ago Parliament voted by 68 votes to 53 to keep the drinking age at 18. But when 1000 voters were asked if the MPs got it right – 57 percent said no, 40 percent said yes and 3 percent did not know.
Prime Minister John Key says he was always uncomfortable with Parliament keeping it at 18, and that it was a missed chance.
“That's one of the reasons I voted for it to go to 20 – in line with what the public thought - but Parliament didn't vote that one,” says John Key.
Mr Key actually voted for a split age – 18 in pubs and 20 at off licences – but when that was knocked out, he voted for a single age of 18 instead of 20.
Some MPs, however, don't want to hear the criticism.
“Yeah the public always tells us we got it wrong - on a daily basis,” says National MP Tau Henare.
The experts say Parliament missed a golden opportunity to raise the age because MPs are in the industry's pockets.
“It's money, and some of the most powerful people in New Zealand are making a lot of money out of the heavy drinking culture,” says Professor Doug Sellman.
“You can see the degree by which the Government is captured by the alcohol industry”.
Other MPs, including Peter Dunne, say it's now their job to make the new law work.
“It just means that the challenge now is for Parliament and Government to make sure the police have the resources to enforce the law as passed."
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24/10/2012 12:11:10 p.m.
I feel some sympathy for those who support raised minimum drinking ages, but it may well be the case that other more stringent alcohol access restrictions may cut down adolescent access to booze. Let's try those.
18/10/2012 7:53:48 p.m.
let it be on there heads if our children died in drinking related deaths..when will we learn!!
18/10/2012 9:21:31 a.m.
With $10.80 wages none of them will be able to afford alcohol anyway.
18/10/2012 12:33:49 a.m.
When it comes to wars 18 year olds make the best cannon fodder, im convinced thats a big factor in letting them vote after all anyone willing to risk their life deserves to be able to vote, its a pity alot can't handle their booze.
I dont see what the big drama is about anyway, having the legal age at 20 never stopped me from getting drunk every weekend from the age 16-20, on the up side keeping a low profile forced me to learn a few good drinking habits vs some kids these days who think they are entitled to act how ever they like while drunk.
18/10/2012 12:18:42 a.m.
We have enough trouble with the idiots over 20 drinking without the idiots under 20 as well.
As for the politicians, well they have shown a lack of intelligance on both sides of the house and have shown the good of the people is well down the list of there priorieties.
I believe that they voted in favor with the low drinking age more because its UN policy than because they are slaves of big money liquor.
18/10/2012 12:15:16 a.m.
@Daniel Lang. In the UK the age is 18 (same as here). In Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Austria and Italy it is 16 for any alcohol below and average ABV of 22% (18 for any higher). Only eleven countries in the world have an age of 20 or higher (minimum) and many are secular Muslim states, as well as the USA. The countries with lower drinking ages actually have fewer social problems with regards to alcohol.
17/10/2012 9:50:10 p.m.
The public don't always know better, they are just looking out for their own interests, wanting everything except their own drinking habits curtails. MP's got it right. Two failed attempts to raise it speaks for itself.
17/10/2012 8:56:35 p.m.
Daniel Lang wrote:
It would have been good if it was raised to 20, not just drinking in pubs but all of it. We have such an ingrained drinking culture, it's just ridiculous. It's 21 in the United States and I think 15 or 16 in the United Kingdom. Why all western countries don't have it set at 20 years is beyond me.
17/10/2012 8:30:28 p.m.
Just Me wrote:
The voting age is 18 so why not have the age to purchase alcohol at the same?Politicians only think within the limited realm of their next voters and election.The 16 year olds today will be old enough to vote and drink by next election if held in NOvember 2014.That is the main priority for a National government which is every day losing grip of credibility.Today's young people(16 year olds)are tomorrow's voters(much like the Tomorrows schools one political party(I think it was National)advocated in the 2008 election lead up)).Lets not go there right now with the Tomorrow Schools political advertising as it would result in discussion about Teacher/Pupil class numbers and currently in the news pending Canterbury schools closures.
John Key may be 'uncomfortable' with the current drinking age but he is depedning upon this age grouping to ensure votes in the next general election.
At Cuppagate Banksie and him talked about the older voters dying out.I am sure Key prefers to keep favour with the younger voters as they are more important to his re-election than the older voters.
17/10/2012 8:26:52 p.m.
They definitely got it wrong, should have been raised back up to 18. Even my Year 10 students think 18 is too young. Teenagers are under a lot of peer pressure to drink and go pubbing at an age they can not handle the booze or the driving!
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