I posted on Your Dunedin: The Woodhouse challenge – influence his alcohol purchase age vote… Andrew White has responded and has agreed for this to be posted:
I am under 20 years of age and I would like to express my staunch disapproval of any attempt to increase the alcohol purchase age. I also oppose a split of the alcohol purchase age. I disagree with many other parts of the Alcohol Reform Bill too. I urge you to vote “no” to any alcohol purchase age increase.
The status quo of being 18 years old to purchase alcohol from bars and liquor stores should be retained. I have no disagreement with tackling the issue of alcohol abuse; that is a valid and important aim. However what the Alcohol Reform Bill would do would be a knee jerk reaction and excessive.
Government should not legislate to discriminate against an entire age group based on the problems and actions of some in that group. By raising the age to purchase alcohol from bars and liquor stores or just the latter the majority of responsible 18 and 19 year olds will be subjected to collective punishment. 120,000 adult New Zealanders aged 18 and 19 should not be made scapegoats for New Zealand’s alcohol issues.
We allow 18 year olds to fight and die for our country, get married, and vote. Furthermore the New Zealand Medical Association has said there is no clinical evidence to suggest that alcohol was more harmful to an 18-year-old than a 20-year-old.
My way to tackle the issue of alcohol abuse is to make alcohol education part of the National Curriculum so all students in state schools will specifically learn about alcohol. Right now one of the learning areas in the National Curriculum is Health and Physical Education which teaches students about mental health, sexuality education, food and nutrition, body care and physical safety, sport studies, and outdoor education.
There is no specific emphasis put on alcohol education. If students all over New Zealand were given an entire lesson on alcohol when they start high school it will give them the information they need so that when they start consuming alcohol they will know the risks associated with it and it may well lead to a change in the alcohol culture in New Zealand.
Once alcohol education is added to the National Curriculum and been in place for at least 10 years I think New Zealand could see a reduction in alcohol abuse in young people and in 20-30 years we could see a reduction in alcohol abuse in older age groups. If you support public schooling then you support education. Education should be given a chance to prove itself with regards to tackling alcohol abuse.
Other parts of the Alcohol Reform Bill that I do not agree with are the national trading hours for liquor stores and bars, and if a “lock in” policy is part of the bill I do not agree with that also. There are legitimate reasons for people visiting these places at any time of the day. Not everyone works 9am-5pm.
There are late afternoon/night shift workers who purchase alcohol from liquor stores or bars after work and students who attend university during the day and work at night also purchase alcohol afterwards.
There are obese people in New Zealand, yet fast food outlets and supermarkets are allowed to be open 24 hours a day. There are problem gamblers in New Zealand, yet the TAB and casinos are allowed to be open 24 hours a day.
These are all issues that will determine my vote in the next election. Please do not support this bill in its current form.
Just to add something further. If you do have a problem with liquor stores and bars opening 24/7 maybe a compromise could be struck where there could be a limit on the amount of liquor each customer can purchase during certain hours -between 4am-8am 2 packs of beer and 2 wine bottles from a liquor store -3 purchases from a bar.
The limit could apply to all ages or just those under 20. These places could also be required to install CCTV cameras outside their premises and sign up to a private security firm who will do drive by patrols between 12am-4am to report any trouble being caused outside the premises.
It would be easy for the authorities to enforce and for liquor stores and bars to enforce. For example, if a person went into a liquor store at 4am and bought the maximum amount of alcohol(which could be 2 packs of beer and 2 bottles of wine) and that same person came again at 6am I think it’s highly likely that the liquor store owner will remember serving that person just 2 hours before. And the police could go undercover and test if liquor store owners are following the law.
At a bar, if a person purchased alcohol at 4am then at 4.30am then again at 5am that would be 3 seperate times a person approached the person serving the alcohol so I think it would be easy for the person serving to remember if a person has come up to the counter 3 times and the police could go undercover to test this too. I know people could just go to a different liquor store or bar but some people may not want to go to the extra hassle and they will still be limited in the amount of alcohol they can purchase from different liquor stores and bars.
And there is already a law making it illegal for bars to serve people who are drunk. If liquor store and bar owners can not afford these extra security requirements then they could be required by law to close at a certain time.