Overwhelming Support for Drinking Age to be 21

Media Release 10 February 2011
Family First NZ is welcoming an online NZ Herald poll showing 72% support for their call to raise the drinking age to 21 and says that the government should ditch their split-age proposal. 

“Wth over 10,000 people voting on the NZ Herald poll, it’s sending a strong and unequivocal message,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. 

“It’s also consistent with all other other polls over the past couple of years. A rise in the drinking age was supported in a ONE News/Colmar Brunton poll (71% – 2004), a Police Association poll (75% – 2009), a Research NZ poll (almost 75% – 2009), an Oct 09 poll showing 75%, and an online poll in the Dominion Post late last year showing 77% of New Zealanders wanting the legal drinking age put back to at least 20.” 

“Of most significance was the Christchurch Press poll which found majority support for raising the drinking age from those aged under 30.” 

“The government should ditch their split-age proposal as it will confuse the issue, and fails to deal with the underlying problems of exposing young people to alcohol, as evidenced in the latest medical and bioscience research,” says Mr McCoskrie. 

Family First released a report on Monday entitled “YOUNG PEOPLE AND ALCOHOL: What Does the Medical Evidence Tell Us About the Legal Drinking Age in New Zealand?”. Author UK psychologist Dr Aric Sigman argued that alcohol policies and decisions about a legal drinking age should be firmly based on the health and well-being of New Zealand’s young people, and that New Zealand would benefit from adopting a single legal drinking age of 21. 

“New medical evidence on accident probability, disease and brain development makes it absolutely clear that delaying the age at which teenagers and young people have easy access to alcohol will reduce the level of damage they and society suffer at the moment as well as contributing to their future health and well-being,” says Dr Sigman 

“The evidence is in. The people have spoken. The real question now is whether the government will listen to NZ’ers on this issue or capitulate to the pressure from the alcohol lobby,” says Mr McCoskrie.

ENDS

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