Guest Post: Shaun Wallis on the Alcohol Purchase Age

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

is the NZ Vice-President of the .

Shaun is currently working towards an LLB/BCA (Accounting and Taxation) double degree at Victoria University.

It’s who you are, not how old you are that determines drinking habits. There’s no denying we have a binge drinking culture, and there’s no denying that nearly all of us, young and old have been affected by it in ways large or small.

However, a large number of 18 and 19 year olds that drink responsibly will be scapegoated by the changes to the purchase age. Yet, the New Zealand-wide culture of alcohol abuse will remain…

If we are to tackle binge drinking as a country, we need to change our drinking habits not our . We know most problem drinkers are over 20. Where is the debate on the harm of drink driving and domestic violence to make New Zealand safer for young and old?

China, the UK, France, Spain and Ireland all have a purchase age of 18. The Germans allow 16 year olds to buy beer and wine, and 18 year olds to buy spirits. Italy has an age of 16 and Denmark allows 16 year olds to buy low-percentage alcohol from stores but not bars, restaurants and discos – and in the sweetest of ironies, the latter reserved for 18 year olds. Yet nearly all of these countries do not experience the abusive culture around alcohol. Fiddling with the purchase age is a red herring, which is why some of our politicians have got it so wrong on alcohol reform.

Better still the drinking habits of young people have improved since we lowered the age from 20 to 18. In 2006, ALAC research found 53% of 12 to 17 year olds were drinkers, but by 2010, only 32% were drinkers. That is a relative 40% drop in the prevalence rate over five years. The age at which young people start drinking has been increasing. In 2006, 35% of young drinkers started before they turned 14. In 2010, it was just 21%. Note this is the proportion of youth drinkers. Of total youth, only 11% start drinking before their 15th birthday. Thus there are positive signs already coming through with our youngest New Zealanders.

So lets focus on the changes in the Alcohol Reform Bill that do matter: It will empower agencies to use measures to regulate licencing responsibly – such as requiring bottle stores near schools to close when school gets out as well as targeting irresponsible supply to minors, requiring parental consent for supply of alcohol to minors based on reasonable grounds. Additionally, it cracks down on those who actively supply to minors, removing their licence/ certificate revoked if prosecuted. We have strong, sensible and practical measures that will address binge drinking across the board, not the age of a few binge drinkers alone.

The split age proposal will push 18 and 19 year olds into more dangerous environments when enjoying a few drinks with friends. No doubt about it – more serious harm and other associated harm occurs in and around licensed premises. Drink spiking, serious assault and sexual harm is more likely to occur in town than in the home of younger drinkers. 1 in 4 people arrested for disorderly behaviour as a result of excess drinking claim that their last drink was on a licensed premises. Even the NZ Law Commission is “not convinced the evidence supports this assumption“.

Why are we telling bar owners and staff to be babysitters of 18/19-year-old drinkers? The State needs to promote the virtues of personal responsibility and self-awareness of alcohol consumption on young drinkers to reduce alcohol abuse. Young drinkers need to understand the risks and manage their own consumption. Yet by limiting the place of alcohol consumption to bars and clubs for 18-19 year olds, the message to control your own drinking is diminished and babysitter functions are imposed on pubs and clubs.

Young rural New Zealanders will be unfairly affected by changing the purchase age. In provincial New Zealand, the days of the local pub have gone, with significantly fewer on-licensed premises. Rather than enjoy a few drinks at home with mates, 18 and 19 year old Kiwis in rural areas will be forced to jump in a car and drive a fair distance to the nearest licensed premises. Given nearly all New Zealanders overwhelmingly see drink driving as extremely dangerous and not acceptable, why would we want to contradict progress?

Lastly, there is a strong rights argument for the case to keep the purchase age at 18. At its most simplest form, if we deem 18 and 19 year olds old enough to move away from home, take a student loan out or start to learn a trade, manage their power, rent, internet, groceries and so on, surely they’re old enough to manage their own drinking habits? We need to promote more personal responsibility, and hence a targeted culture change campaign aimed at energizing individuals to take personal responsibility for their alcohol habits would be much, much more effective at delivering real change than just tinkering with the purchase age.

In sum, changing the purchase age will not have the desired effect of many in favour that seek to achieve. It won’t affect the culture. It won’t change behaviour. It’ll unnecessarily ping the vast majority of sensible 18 and 19 year olds, and I believe Parliament will be called upon again to vote on the purchase age in the future. Let’s not waste our opportunity to break this cycle by focusing on the changes we need to make and stop flogging the age. We can draw circles around the age or we can start making effective changes through good laws and quality education that changes habits and turns our drinking culture around.

The vote/s will be at 5.30 pm today. I really do hope they vote to , as we can then move on from this issue, and focus on the other issues around alcohol. If it is increased in part or full to 20, it will remain a contentious issue as young New Zealanders will never accept that they can be working, married, raising kids at 19 but not able to buy wine at the supermarket.

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50 Responses to “Guest Post: Shaun Wallis on the Alcohol Purchase Age”

  1. Redbaiter (9,080 comments) says:

    “I really do hope they vote to keep it 18, as we can then move on from this issue, and focus on the other issues around alcohol.”

    Yep, of course government and politicians will solve NZ’s social problems.

    In reality, they are at the root of most of them, and until we turn from this sick dependence upon government, and need so much from a gang of hypocrites turncoats liars and thieves in Wellington, nothing will change.

    We don’t need government and its perceived “solutions”, that usually just fuel the fire.

    Its the culture that has to change, and our present cultural condition is in disrepair because we depend too much on politicians and the central controllers in Wellington.

    We need a Tea Party, not more betrayal and interference from contemptible politicans.

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  2. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    I do not intend any derision of Shaun’s views or arguments, but the Young Ones have some thoughts on this issue that has clearly vexed society for many years (given the clip is from the ’80s)

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  3. my 2 cents (1,091 comments) says:

    I actually agree with him completely, 18 is the legal adult age and they should be treated like same.

    Then we can move on to criminalise adults who don’t behave like adults and get drunk in public.
    when being drunk in public is considered as bad as driving drunk then we might get a handle on binge drinking, until then it’s a a load of codswallop and bullshit from the pollies.

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  4. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Its the culture that has to change, and our present cultural condition is in disrepair because we depend too much on politicians and the central controllers in Wellington.

    I agree totally with this. Tweaking age laws will do little to address the cultures. But we need a Tea Party as much as we need a law change – not at all.

    What we need is individuals, families and communities to take responsibility and confront their own social problems.

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  5. anonymouse (716 comments) says:

    Better still the drinking habits of young people have improved since we lowered the age from 20 to 18. In 2006, ALAC research found 53% of 12 to 17 year olds were drinkers, but by 2010, only 32% were drinkers.

    Err but they haven’t improved by that huge margin, the most recent comparable figure in 2009-2009 was 50% drinking 50% non drinking,

    The table from the figure you cite for 2010 contained the following note on Page 18

    Note: Comparisons between years should only be made between 2005-06 and 2008-09. Comparisons with 2009-10 should not be made because of a change in the way “Moderate Drinkers” and “Binge Drinkers” have been defined.
    http://www.alac.org.nz/sites/default/files/research-publications/pdfs/2009-10-Annual-Summary-Report-FINAL.pdf

    [DPF: You are being misleading. The change in definition of a binge and moderate drinker in no way affects the quoted stat of total drinkers which has fallen a relative 40%]

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  6. wreck1080 (3,922 comments) says:

    If anything, taking into account culture, then the NZ drinking age should be 25.

    Kiwis don’t drink sensibly. Don’t tell me the majority do drink sensibly — I’ve been to the parties, the pubs & bars targeting younger drinkers in my time (90’s).

    Not to mention the fact the brain is still developing at 18 — you’re not a fully matured adult at 18, even though you may engage in the same activities as mature adults.

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  7. SalParadise (54 comments) says:

    As someone who hits up the Wellington town scene at least once a weekend and sometimes twice, a part of the problem is the failure of bars, not to babysit their patrons but to let them in the first place. If bars took seriously there responsibility to refuse entrance and alcohol to intoxicated patrons then some progress might be made in changing the drinking culture.

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  8. Weihana (4,546 comments) says:

    wreck1080,

    It is irrelevant in my view whether or not their brains are still developing. Arguably some people’s brains never develop, but that doesn’t negate their rights as an adult. The salient fact is that there comes a point where a person’s brain has developed enough such that they have a right to make their own decisions about their own life.

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  9. Redbaiter (9,080 comments) says:

    “The salient fact is that there comes a point where a person’s brain has developed enough such that they have a right to make their own decisions about their own life.”

    If they used that fact as the basis for this decision, in NZ, where the mostly stupefied socialist public begs politicians to make every important decision for them, then the age for buying alcohol should be raised to 99.

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  10. Liberal Minded Kiwi (1,571 comments) says:

    Good post. Agreed on most of it but the part putting the youth of the UK into the category of not having an abusive culture to alcohol. They’re simply the worst when it comes to drinking.
    But that’s got not nothing to do with the age, moreso it’s bad parenting.

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  11. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    I appreciate the argument but it’s all rubbish. We have a drinking culture because former generations learned to get on the piss from the age of 16 and do it still. That is why we have a drinking culture, not because, adult drinkers = bad . Their has been no real break in the pattern for years. To make real indents on alcohol abuse the 18 yr old contingent should do their part for their pisshed mates and support a raise in age. Then they can teach the next generations to drink responsibly. It should be a no brainer, split age at the least to allow people to develop the habits to drink responsibly when they reach full adulthood. Which 18 isn’t. You’re just out of diapers at 18. The argument that drinking fighting and marrying should all be done at the same age is also rubbish as you shouldn’t be doing any of these things until you’re 25.
    I find it hilarious that studies say alcohol abuse is dropping when every NZ 18-20 yr old I have known in the last five years is a piss-head. \

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  12. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    If we are to tackle binge drinking as a country, we need to change our drinking habits not our drinking age.

    Herein lies the problem – in my opinion (as someone with 15+ years in the Liquor and Hospitality Industry), the issues and the associated problems are totally linked.

    When the liquor age was lowered from 21 to 20 (around 1970 / 71?) and then from 20 to 18 in 1999, one of the considerations was whether the ‘sinking lid’ principle would apply – when the age was 21, it was ‘known’ that 18 year olds were sometimes in pubs and there was concern that, if the drinking age was lowered to 20, would this sinking lid now see 17 and 16 year olds in pubs? At the time of both reductions in the drinking age, the promise of stricter enforcement of under-age drinking (in pubs and in public) was considered sufficient to alleviate such fears, but what was not considered at the time (because it was not known), was that the product being consumed was also to change…

    For decades, young girls had experienced their first alcoholic drinks courtesy of sipping Pimms, sherry or wine from Mum’s glass and young boys sipped beer from Dad’s. As their palate matured, the girls (now 18-20) gravitated from sweeter wines (Asti / Marque Vue etc) to dry wine and it was totally predictable that they would start to experiment with spirits around the age of 23. In the case of boys, they kept drinking beer until they too started to experiment with spirits around the age of 23.

    Then along came a total game changer – alcopops. The first were basic products consisting of Te Kauwhata produced whey spirit and locally sourced flavours / colours – targeting the teenage drinker . So, gradually we saw a scenario where teenagers were drinking full strength spirits from a can or bottle instead of being gradually exposed to higher strength product. And, it wasn’t only the 18 year olds – the same alcopops contained popular citrus flavours that masked the basic spirit (pineapple, raspberry, orange, lime etc) and kids even younger than 18 became targeted consumers. It was a total recipe for disaster and guess what – that’s exactly what’s transpired: We now have regular reports of 12 / 13 year old kids getting trashed on alcopops – as well as ‘adults’ that slurp them like water (but with the same, totally predictable, anti-social result). This has become an increasing problem due to target marketing decisions by a small number of alcopop manufacturers – they not only target teenage (under-age) drinkers with flavours created specifically for an immature palate, but they also put them into a 440ml can!

    And it is pointless suggesting that the industry should be ‘self regulating’ – according to a Lion Nathan spokesperson interviewed recently by Larry Williams on NewstalkZB, the biggest manufacturer of alcopops in this country doesn’t even belong to the industry association and as such they wouldn’t be bound by any self regulation!

    IMO, if the drinking age is to remain at 18, there really needs to be some parallel directives:

    1. Get rid of full strength 440ml alcopops. They are simply a hand grenade in a can – especially for kids.
    2. Limit serving size – 2 std drinks per can.
    3. Strict enforcement of under-age drinking.

    Unless this happens, the binge drinking mentality that has emerged will only get worse…. the evidence of the last 20 years should be proof of that!

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  13. Weihana (4,546 comments) says:

    Monique Watson (637) Says:
    August 30th, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I find it hilarious that studies say alcohol abuse is dropping when every NZ 18-20 yr old I have known in the last five years is a piss-head.

    Is it not more hilarious that you think anecdote disproves objective research?

    On the other hand the concept of “alcohol abuse” varies. Personally I don’t think getting “on the piss” is necessarily abusive. Drug abuse, in my view, is prolonged heavy use of a drug due to dependency, and not merely the occasional letting loose. Indeed, by that measure alcohol abuse is more prevalent amongst people in their late 20s and 30s IIRC.

    In any case, the primary issue is respect for other people, and in my view blaming everything on alcohol excuses what is simply bad behaviour. Especially since most drinkers do not cause problems for others. It is a small minority that gets violent, that gets behind the wheel of a vehicle etc. and they are used as a standard of measurement for all.

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  14. Weihana (4,546 comments) says:

    “We now have regular reports of 12 / 13 year old kids getting trashed on alcopops…”

    As opposed to getting trashed on wine and beer. Oh yes, sipping from mums glass or dad’s bottle. At the Sunday BBQ sure, but to think that was the extent of it seems a pleasant fiction. That we have regular reports these days only speaks to media hype and public perception which as usual is far removed from reality. When I was 13 there were plenty of parties where kids got trashed whilst the parents were out of town or at some other location. There weren’t any media cameras around or a climate of public hysteria yet it did happen.

    Out of sight, out of mind. Now it’s in sight and everyone’s in a panic.

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  15. redeye (629 comments) says:

    You make some sense on this issue Elaycee.

    This blog is big on knocking any effort to correct an obvious problem, but not that big on offering solutions.

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  16. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    @Weihana:

    …but to think that was the extent of it seems a pleasant fiction.

    Again you confirm your poor comprehension skills… best read the comment again. And point out any fiction… :D

    As opposed to getting trashed on wine and beer.

    Unlike full strength alcopops, wine and beer manufacturers do not target the teenage and under-age market. In fact, based on your response, I wonder whether your reference: “When I was 13…” refers to a period of time not long ago. Had you witnessed the increasing problem associated with alcopops, I’m sure that you would have had a less flippant opinion on kids getting trashed.

    Its a social disaster that is only out of sight to those who cannot see.

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  17. Bob R (1,377 comments) says:

    Well said Elaycee.

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  18. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    If we go with the still maturing brain argument the age would have to be raised to at least 25, maybe even 27 given current research. We decided long decades ago that 18 was the age of adulthood and raising the bar only makes it easier for young people to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

    I really resent the hypocrisy of Winston Peters and his party though. Just yesterday he got up and argued that law shouldn’t be changed on a conscience vote and a referendum must be called for on gay marriage. Today he is using a conscience vote to change the law in order to remove a category of adults’ rights. Whatever you think about purchase age and gay marriage you have to admit that absolutely reeks of arrogant hypocrisy.

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  19. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Rightandleft,

    Whatever you think about purchase age and gay marriage you have to admit that absolutely reeks of arrogant hypocrisy.

    Remember, it IS Winston you are talking about…

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  20. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    All redundant IMHO. It’s going to split age as National can’t risk getting to the next election and having the charge of “too liberal”. thrown at them. They’ve made an important social change last night but you won’t get it two days in a row. They need to throw the baby-boomers a bone @Weihana. Yup that’s humour- the humour found in irony, anyway. And piss-heads lie so I never believe stats around alcohol abuse.

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  21. Weihana (4,546 comments) says:

    Elaycee,

    “Unlike full strength alcopops, wine and beer manufacturers do not target the teenage and under-age market. ”

    And yet beer was the drink of choice amongst my peer group. How could it be when they weren’t targeting us? :)

    I wonder whether your reference: “When I was 13…” refers to a period of time not long ago.

    I was 13 in 1995. ALAC quotes statistics which shows that in 1996 beer made up 81% of all consumed alcoholic beverages. Similar to 1986 when it was 86%. By 2007 Beer had fallen to 66%, largely due to the increased popularity of RTD’s.

    So my experiences come before and during the increased prevalence of RTDs. Indeed I remember around the end of high school they started to become quite popular. I did not note any appreciable change in behaviour amongst teenagers. They were getting just as pissed by the end of the 90s as they were in the middle of it.

    Had you witnessed the increasing problem associated with alcopops, I’m sure that you would have had a less flippant opinion on kids getting trashed.

    My opinion is that parents must determine the boundaries for their children and no amount of government tinkering is going to change what is fundamentally a relationship between parent and child. The government can outlaw alcohol altogether if they like. It will not stop young people wanting to push against their restrictions.

    It’s not about denying the existence of a problem, rather I am stating that the problem has little to do with the government.

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  22. Weihana (4,546 comments) says:

    Monique Watson (638) Says:
    August 30th, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    And piss-heads lie so I never believe stats around alcohol abuse.

    Somehow I suspect if the stats were reversed they’d become gospel. :)

    In any case, while you may argue that they lie, on what basis do you suppose that they are bigger liars today than they have been in the past?

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  23. tamati (75 comments) says:

    I have an interesting question for someone who know a bit about parliamentary procedure (DPF) ?

    Is there a possibility that MP’s could vote tactically in tonight vote, to sabotage one option in the run off?

    My understanding is each of the three choices gets a straight up-down vote in the house, and if none of them gain a majority then, the lowest vote option is eliminated and a second round is held. Would it then not be possible for the supporters of the keep it 18 campaign, to tactically vote in favor of raising the age to 20 across the board, to ensure the second round is simply a straight up vote between 18 and 20. (As a virtue of split age being eliminated in the first round)

    Obviously this tactic could also be employed by those who support raising the age across the board. They could also also vote tactically to ensure that the split age is eliminated, and forcing those who initially supported the split, to choose between the straight age choices. (My gut tell’s me that most MP’s supporting the split age would not raise it 20 though)

    A similar tactic was used by backbench Tory MP’s in Lords reform, back in 2007. They voted for having an entirely elected upper house, knowing that in a run-off this option would certainly be defeated, the tactic worked and the status quo remained.

    Obviously if any group decided to use tactics such as these, there would be risks involved. It would be an unmitigated disaster, if “raise to 20″ motion was passed by a majority in the first round, on the back of “keep it 18’s” tactical support. For the system to be employed correctly, it would require very precise and accurate knowledge of the way MP’s will vote. Also any MP choosing to vote tactically, would have to answer to some tricky questions on the way they voted, as such gaming of the system is unlikely to be popular with the electorate!

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  24. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    The trouble with most of the wowsers (and it seems a fuck load my age) is that they have forgotten that it was no different back when we were younger. I can’t stand most teenagers and young people when they are drinking, but am pretty happy in the knowledge that they will be moaning about teens and drinking in another 30 years.

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  25. wreck1080 (3,922 comments) says:

    @weihana — there is evidence that drugs can damage the IQ permanently if taken before the brain is fully developed.

    Perhaps more studies are needed, but finding young people who do not drink must be difficult.

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  26. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    @Weihana

    The only stats I’d take as gospel would be hospital admissions where intoxication is a factor.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/358898/Drunken-youths-flood-into-hospital

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  27. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    @tamati. Nice one.

    Also, DPF, how did two conscience votes come up back to back?

    [DPF: Fluke. One is a members' bill and one a Govt bill]

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  28. Weihana (4,546 comments) says:

    wreck1080,

    If you are referring to the Cannabis study my understanding was that the 18+ group did not show the decrease in IQ which was evident in persistent users under age 18.

    But regardless, my view is that 18 is sufficient for them to be able to make decisions regarding, and take risks with, their own lives including any potential loss in terms of their optimum development. Quite simply, some people, even though not fully matured according to their own potential are nevertheless more developed and intelligent during adolescence than many others are throughout their whole life.

    If mental capacity is the measure of one’s rights then arguably some people should never be considered adults whilst others would attain such rights at an age earlier than normally tolerated.

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  29. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    tamati,

    As it is not a Preferential Voting model, I suggest that anyone not voting for their own preferred option would merely weaken its prospects of making it through to the second round.

    Furthermore, people’s second choices (from what has been reported at least) are one up or one down, not complete opposites. So someone who was 20, would have a second preference of split age. Trying to construct a tactical vote with the 18s achieves nothing but to threaten their own preference or remove their second preference. A bad outcome for them.

    The same holds for any other combination (except for those whose second preference is the exact opposite of their first.)

    The only effective tactic is for everyone to vote for their first preference (and lobby everyone to also vote for the same option.)

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  30. Weihana (4,546 comments) says:

    Monique Watson (640) Says:
    August 30th, 2012 at 12:56 pm


    “Unlike previous data, which only counted instances where alcohol was the primary cause of admission, the new study also included alcohol-related injuries, such as facial injuries, concussion and fractured hands – dramatically increasing the tally. “

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  31. tamati (75 comments) says:

    @bhudson,

    My understanding was that each of the three options are voted on sequentially, so a MP could choose to vote in favor of more than one option. Eg. an MP could for 18, against the split age and for raising to 20.

    I could have entirely misinterpreted the situation though!

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  32. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    @tamati,

    I guess we’ll find out in just a few short hours, but I think the three are voted on together in the first round. I recall some stipulation that if one achieved an absolute majority (as opposed to a plurality) then it would win outright. That could only happen if the three were voted on together.

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  33. David Farrar (1,898 comments) says:

    Brett is right. One vote on all three options and if none gets 50% then the bottom one drops off.

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  34. tamati (75 comments) says:

    Interesting, I thought for some reason that all parliamentary votes were either aye or nay.

    Guess you learn something every day!

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  35. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    Weihana:

    And yet beer was the drink of choice amongst my peer group. How could it be when they weren’t targeting us?

    Oh dear….. I’ll try again…

    Show me an advertisement (from Lion, DB or CUB) that targets teenagers. But I’ll save you the trouble – there won’t be one.
    Or show me an advert from any winery that targets teenagers. But again, I’ll save you the effort – there won’t be one.

    It’s not about denying the existence of a problem, rather I am stating that the problem has little to do with the government.

    Herein lies the problem – If we always do what we’ve always done, we will always get what we’ve always got. But I believe that the current situation where kids as young as 12 and 13 are getting plastered on alcopops, is a national disgrace.

    The issues of drinking age / consumption habits / the products being consumed by demographic, are linked.

    Status quo (and hoping that this problem will somehow go away), is not an option.

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  36. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    @tamati,

    I believe it was a change made at special request to ensure that no single option could be disadvantaged by order of voting.

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  37. tamati (75 comments) says:

    @DPF, Brett,

    Given the vote is so close, what would happen under a tied voted? It would not be beyond the realms of possibility for a two way tie for second, or even a three way tie, if Raymond decides to go out for Yum Cha again.

    Obviously the speaker would then vote, but that may still leave a tie for second place. Would they simply vote again, until a clear result is produced?

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  38. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    @tamati,

    The Speaker casts a vote in the principal vote (under party vote in general votes and by proxy for personal votes) so no longer has a casting vote.

    I can only speculate on what happens with a tie. For purity I would prefer a full repeat vote even if only 2nd and 3rd are tied. For expediency I could imagine a run off vote only between 2nd and 3rd, but that would give a great deal of additional voting power to the supporters of the option that came first. It would be more like a Preferential Vote for them – two bites at the cherry so to speak.

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  39. tamati (75 comments) says:

    @ Brett,

    The system certainly has it’s faults. A preferential ranking system, would probably be the fairest way.

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  40. Weihana (4,546 comments) says:

    Elaycee (2,723) Says:
    August 30th, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Weihana:

    And yet beer was the drink of choice amongst my peer group. How could it be when they weren’t targeting us?

    Oh dear….. I’ll try again…

    Show me an advertisement (from Lion, DB or CUB) that targets teenagers. But I’ll save you the trouble – there won’t be one.
    Or show me an advert from any winery that targets teenagers. But again, I’ll save you the effort – there won’t be one.

    I haven’t said there are any. Point is kids don’t want to try alcohol because of an advertisement. They want to try it because

    1. It is ubiquitous
    2. It is not allowed
    3. It’s fun

    But I believe that the current situation where kids as young as 12 and 13 are getting plastered on alcopops, is a national disgrace.

    It is not a national disgrace. The disgrace falls on those who allow it, condone it or facilitate it. I accept absolutely no responsibility for what other people do merely by virtue of residing in the same country.

    The issues of drinking age / consumption habits / the products being consumed by demographic, are linked.

    Agreed, to a point. But the government isn’t able to fix what is fundamentally a matter between parent and child. No amount of tinkering with any rules and regulations is going to fundamentally alter the dynamic between parent and child in terms of whether or not a parent has boundaries for their child and makes genuine attempts to enforce them.

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  41. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    Weihana:

    It is not a national disgrace. The disgrace falls on those who allow it, condone it or facilitate it.

    Oh, bollocks. It is a national disgrace and just because you believe that, if it’s not your own kid that’s pissed then it’s someone else’s problem, it doesn’t make is any lesser problem.

    Status quo, is not an option. Especially if we don’t like what we see.

    Now, work to do at this end…

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  42. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    “When I was 18 we only had 3% beer….(creak, groans with age)….not these full strength 6-8% alcopops”

    Of course, we used to buy our 3% beer in Flagons – the is Half a gallon bottle for you younguns and drink 2-3 of them at a party. People my ages bellyaching about people 18-19 drinking have fucked up memories.

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  43. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    2Weihaana
    “Drinking admissions for under-20s at Wellington Hospital now account for 40 per cent of all alcohol-related cases. The rest are evenly spread among age groups”.

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  44. Griff (7,791 comments) says:

    Back when I was young it was the cheapest
    spewmental wine, gimlet and tia marie in flagons from the dally slygroger up the road
    Of course then there was boozebarns jugs and 10oclook closing great days for responsible alcohol imbibing NOT

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  45. Weihana (4,546 comments) says:

    Elaycee,

    Status quo, is not an option. Especially if we don’t like what we see.

    Propose any solutions you wish. Just leave 18+ alone and don’t expect tinkering with alcopops to be the solution. 12-13 year olds were getting pissed before alcopops were popular and when the age was 20.

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  46. Weihana (4,546 comments) says:

    Monique Watson (641) Says:
    August 30th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    They account for 40 percent because the figures have been reassessed. It doesn’t appear to be evidence of a trend.

    Moreover, I don’t care what age a person is. If they are admitted because of an alcohol-related injury then they should suffer some sort of financial disincentive. The general populace should not be punished on the basis of the actions of a very small minority. The vast majority of people 18-20 year olds who drink do not end up in hospital and shouldn’t be judged by those who do.

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  47. tamati (75 comments) says:

    According to the Member for Palmerston North, tactical voting on the first round is going to happen.

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  48. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    Weihana:

    “Propose any solutions you wish. Just leave 18+ alone and don’t expect tinkering with alcopops to be the solution. 12-13 year olds were getting pissed before alcopops were popular and when the age was 20.”

    You seemed to have missed the link to such evidence…. probably because there isn’t any!

    And you’ve missed the point entirely. No surprises.

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  49. rolla_fxgt (311 comments) says:

    Simon Bridges should be kicked out of the National Party for his comments about young nats. Just because he disagrees with their campaign and lobbying to keep it 18. He calle them and indeed all youth wings, pimply idiots.

    No place for that from a minister in a Nat govt.

    I’m very keen to stack the selection comittee next election to ensure Simon is no longer the National candidate for Tauranga. He needs to be taught a lesson, that rubbishing the next wave of supporters is a sure fire way to piss of a good number of them.

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  50. Weihana (4,546 comments) says:

    Elaycee,

    You seemed to have missed the link to such evidence…. probably because there isn’t any!

    The statistics I previously quoted was from ALAC and my evidence that 12-13 years old were getting pissed before alcopops is based on direct personal experience. You are naive to believe it is a new phenomenon.

    And you’ve missed the point entirely. No surprises.

    I understand your point quite well. It’s the usual “something must be done”, ignoring the fact that acting for the sake of acting is unlikely to produce anything substantial.

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