From the Southland Times
An Invercargill Youth Court judge has expressed his frustration that many people believe it is acceptable for minors to get drunk if they are supervised by adults. Judge Dominic Flatley yesterday disqualified a 16-year-old from driving for six months after he recorded a breath alcohol level of 1118mcg – almost three times the adult legal drink-drive limit. The judge asked the teen why he thought he was able to drink alcohol when he was 16. The teen, who had been at his sister’s place where he was drinking before driving, replied he thought minors could drink under the supervision of an adult family member. “Where do you get that from? This does my head in because I get it all the time,” the judge said.
The intention of the law was that minors could have an alcoholic drink if they were at a function with their parents or guardians, he said. It didn’t cover allowing minors to get “completely legless”.
The problem is that the intention of the law is irrelevant to a teenager who has been given the green light to drink alcohol and is their last consideration when the effect of the alcohol has kicked in.
This is why split-age and parental supervision proposals by the government are flawed. They fail to account for the effect of a drug (alcohol) on a developing teenage brain. The medical evidence is clear – the drinking age should be raised to at least 21.