Keep it 18 reason #2

May 30th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Yesterday I blogged how research showed that the prevalence of youth drinking has in fact been significantly dropping in New Zealand. Today I want to focus on reason no 2 not to increase the purchase age.

Increasing the purchase age will dilute the message not to supply to minors

One of the most important changes proposed in the Alcohol Reform Act is to make it an offence to supply alcohol to minors without parental permission. I supports this new law, as a major flaw in the current law is that (for example) it is currently legal for any adult to supply beer, wine or even spirits to a 14 year old.

I believe we need both a law change and a culture change where it is illegal and “uncool” to supply alcohol without parental permission to those not able to legally purchase it for themselves – just as over the past few decades it has become “uncool” to drink and drive.

But increasing the purchase age to 20 for off licenses, will work against achieving a culture of not supplying alcohol to those who can not purchase alcohol for themselves. 18 and 19 year olds are legally not minors and hence the new law making it an offence to supply alcohol to minors without parental consent will not apply to them. What this means is that if the purchase age is increased it will be legal for a 20 year old to supply alcohol to a 19 year old (who can not legally purchase it), but illegal to supply it to an 18 year old. This will be confusing and work against achieving a culture where no one supplies alcohol to those unable to purchase it for themselves, without parental consent.

The only way to achieve a culture of non-supply is to have the purchase age the same as the age at which a minor becomes an adult – which is 18. That will be consistent and maximise the chance of the new non-supply law being respected.

A purchase age of 20 will encourage a culture of supplying to those under the purchase age. This works directly against the other reforms in the Alcohol Reform Bill to prevent supply to minors.

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13 Responses to “Keep it 18 reason #2”

  1. tvb (4,491 comments) says:

    The price has to go up. Alcohol is far too cheap. Only the drunks are sensitive to a sharp significant increase in price. The moderate drinkers only require their one bottle of wine or 2-3 stubbies. If wine is $25/bottle and stubbies$7-8 each it will not matter too much. But the drunks will have to think again especially young people. Measures around where to purchase alcohol etc will have little effect on abuse and are just a red herring.

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  2. MT_Tinman (3,249 comments) says:

    tvb Bullshit! Pure, utter, pig-ignorant bullshit!

    DPF the split purchase age also fails to recognise that after leaving school social groups tend to be based on mutual interest (work, sport etc.) and ages within these groups more often than not vary considerably. Tthe split age will have no effect at all on 18-20yo’s ability to access alcoholic beverages.

    Law or no law their older mates will purchase it for them.

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  3. Than (487 comments) says:

    tvb – raising the price won’t help.

    Problem drunks, the ones who end up in jail or emergency rooms, are addicted and will buy alcohol no matter how expensive you make it. The additional expense will only put more financial stress on their families.

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  4. Ryan Sproull (7,259 comments) says:

    I believe we need both a law change and a culture change where it is illegal and “uncool” to supply alcohol without parental permission to those not able to legally purchase it for themselves – just as over the past few decades it has become “uncool” to drink and drive.

    This is the key point, DPF. Well put.

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  5. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    18 and 19 year olds are legally not minors

    I refer you to the Age of Majority Act 1970, section 4:

    4 Age of majority
    (1) For all the purposes of the law of New Zealand a person shall attain full age on attaining the age of 20 years.
    (2) In the absence of a definition or of any indication of a contrary intention, the expressions adult, full age, infant, infancy, minor, minority, full capacity, majority, and similar expressions in any enactment or instrument shall be construed in accordance with subsection (1).

    [DPF: In terms of the Alcohol Reform Bill. a minor under S11 is “a person who is under the age of 18 years”]

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  6. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    raising the price won’t help. Problem drunks, the ones who end up in jail or emergency rooms, are addicted and will buy alcohol no matter how expensive you make it.

    1. Plenty of young people who are not alcoholics end up in emergency rooms via alcohol-related injuries.

    2. Raising the price may have the effect of deterring some people from ever starting, or, prior to forming an attachment with alcohol, from drinking to the level and as frequently as is necessary for that to happen.

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  7. tvb (4,491 comments) says:

    MT Tinnman your response to putting the price up will not affect consumption is pure rubbish, utter rubbish in fact. I can only assume you are a heavy drinker and do not want to pay much for it. I sigh that the alcohol debate is around silly measures such as purchase age vs drinking age, where alcohol can be bought and anything else. They are worthless measures. The elephant in the room is price and it needs to go up sharply and hard. That will affect abuse.

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  8. Grendel (1,003 comments) says:

    TVB, as a non drinker i can safely say get fucked. what is it with socialists wanting to control everyones life just to try and change a tiny percentage?

    penalising those who like a drink in an effort to ‘maybe’ stop the usual pricks who cannot control themselves is the usual socialist big state approach.

    other than the fact it wont work; the idiots will just give up other stuff or go for nastier rotgut, why should those who like a drink have to pay more?

    the elephant in the room is the wowsers who think they have a right to control the lives of free individuals.

    Its none of our business if someone wants to abuse alcohol, its only become our problem becuase big state says we have to pay for their choices.

    you want to change peoples attitude towards getting over drunk and needing to be hospitalised or imprisoned? charge them the full cost of the medical treatment or police time.

    alcohol abuse will plummet amongst all but the serious hardcore (which nothing will stop) really fast when Johnny gets a 9K bill after drinking too much and needing his stomach pumped etc. that will make his weekend seem a lot less ‘cool’.

    thats the price action that will work, the action of consequences. even with your big state price markup desire, there are no consequences for getting wasted and ending up in hospital, other than a lighter wallet from the drinking.

    charge for the medical costs and let free individuals who do not abuse alcohol get on with enjoying a cheap tipple.

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  9. onthenumber8 (20 comments) says:

    In my opinion the problem with drinking in NZ is that we associate alcohol with drunkiness instead of the social occasion. How do we fix that? Raising the drinking age an absurd way to solve a problem that exists throughout the generations.

    I would propose a tax switch to make it more expensive to buy alcohol from the bottleshop and less expensive from the pub. Six beers at the pub costs around $40-$50 and only $15 from the bottle-o. What if it was the other way round? We would have less at home ‘beat the wife’ drinking and more socially focussed regulated environment drinking.

    Just a thought.

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  10. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Please raise the price Mr Key. My still will be cranking out piss 24/7 as more people “acquire” their liquid cheer from me rather than get raped at the local store.

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  11. mikenmild (11,627 comments) says:

    Price and advertising are the main tools to use should the desired result be lower consumption overall. See tobacco. Sure, you may not want to pay a bit more, but it is similar to many other things that affect individuals but provide significant overall benefits.

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  12. MT_Tinman (3,249 comments) says:

    tvb, you are still talking pure, unadulterated crap, bullshit does not do the degree of crap justice.

    Putting the price of take-away booze up will have no effect on consumption by young people (although it may on the home brewing/home distilling industries), it will simply penalise those older people on limited income who currently purchase a bottle of $10 wine once a week as a special treat.

    Young people, many of whom earn fairly good money, many of whom receive good money via taxpayers and with no overheads will get the alcoholic beverages (and drugs) with no real trouble at all.

    Only the pig ignorant, thoughtless, wowser brigade would even suggest such a bullshit move.

    Not that long ago a socialist (read wannabe-communist) government pushed the price of fortified wine up. Now (epithet deleted in deference to DPF) idiots like tvb want to compound those older peoples discomfort.

    Thoughtless Scum!

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  13. Tauhei Notts (1,745 comments) says:

    In a democracy the most important thing that a mature citizen does is vote.
    Drinking copious quantities of piss is not important.
    To suggest that somebody is old enough to take part in democracy’s most important event, but is not old enough to buy grog is non sensical. If I was that phucked in the head I would probably be on The Standard’s web site, and not here.

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