Media Release 4 September 2014
Family First NZ says that the Vote Compass survey showing that two out of three New Zealanders think the drinking age should be raised is confirmation of earlier research which showed that the politicians got it wrong on the drinking age.
A nationwide poll by Curia Market Research, commissioned by Family First NZ in March 2013, asked respondents “Do you think Parliament should have raised the drinking age to 20 or kept it at 18?” 62% of respondents said Parliament should have voted to raise the drinking age to 20. Only 32% agreed with the politicians that it should remain at 18, and 7% were unsure or refused to say.
“Health boards, health professionals, police, family groups, addiction experts, the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, leading scientists, and the general public – including young people – were all shouting to politicians to raise the drinking age to 20 in order to protect young people and to save lives,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“Alcohol policies and decisions about a legal drinking age should have been firmly based on the health and well-being of New Zealand’s young people. New medical evidence on accident probability, disease and brain development, along with the Child and Youth Mortality Review, and the recommendations of the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, made it absolutely clear that delaying the age at which teenagers and young people have easy access to alcohol would reduce the level of damage they and society suffer at the moment as well as contributing to their future health and well-being,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“The split-age proposal was confusing, sent a mixed message, and was not supported by frontline workers who are still mopping up the mess of alcohol abuse on a regular basis.”
“Getting explicit permission from parents for under-age drinking also doesn’t work. We need to send an unambiguous message to young people and society about what is good for young people, and raising both the drinking and purchase age would make it easier for parents and the community to work together to prevent harm to our young people.”
“This poll confirms that the politicians were out of touch with grassroots New Zealanders on this issue.”
In Family First’s Value Your Vote election resource, the party leaders continue to be out of touch, with only the leaders of Maori party and the Conservatives supporting the age being raised.