Collins unhappy with liquor vote
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Parliament's decision to keep the alcohol purchase age at 18 has removed an effective way to curb problem drinking, Justice Minister Judith Collins says.
Ms Collins, who sponsors the Alcohol Reform Bill, wanted the age to be split, keeping it at 18 in bars and raising it to 20 in supermarkets and liquor stores.
The split age option was one of three which MPs were given the choice to cast conscience votes on, but it was the least favoured option and thus the first eliminated.
In a subsequent run-off vote there were 68 in favour of keeping the age at 18 and 53 in favour of raising it to 20.
"Keeping the purchase age at 18 across the board denies one effective way of curbing problem drinking but it is not the only tool available," Ms Collins said.
Prime Minister John Key supported the split age and said before the votes were taken he was confident it would be passed.
Ms Collins says her bill still has a wide range of measures to reduce alcohol-related harm.
"This is the first time in more than two decades that any Government is acting to restrict rather than relax our drinking laws."
Measures in the bill include:
- Giving communities a stronger say on when and where alcohol can be sold
- Strengthening the rules around the types of stores that can sell alcohol
- Forcing supermarkets and grocery stores to display alcohol in a single area
- Requiring express parental consent for private supply of alcohol to people under 18
- Changing the rules so it is more difficult to get a licence and introducing maximum trading hours for licensed premises.
Now the age has been dealt with, Parliament will go through the rest of the bill in a week's time.