Power against raising drinking age

Very pleased to see balanced and sensible view from Simon Power on alcohol issues:

“But in the end we have to ask ourselves how broad an issue this is when it is such a critical part of offending and if you want to drive the crime rate down in New Zealand you can’t do that without having a discussion about alcohol,” he told Radio New Zealand.

Of course. The challenge is how you target those who can not handle alcohol, without needlessly interfering with the vast majority who can enjoy a night on the town without incidence.

“I don’t think that you can have a serious discussion about reducing offending in New Zealand without asking yourself some serious questions about the proliferation of liquor licensing in New Zealand.”

One has to be careful to generalise. I don’t think the fact that many cafes now serve wine, or you can have a beer at Downstage is creating problems.

Mr Power said he did not personally believe raising the drinking age is the answer to the problems.

The issues of parental responsibility and education were important and raising the purchasing age did not deal with the issue of drinking in homes.

Absolutely. I tend to favour a law change that targets irresponsible supply of alcohol to minors. It would be hard to word, but worth doing in my opinion.

“I can’t be convinced that you need to walk into a bar for the first time at 3 o’clock in the morning to have a drink. It just seems to me that the range of hours that we’re making alcohol available are very very wide.

I don’t think many people get their first drink at 3 am. However if one is having a night out dancing in Courtenay Place, then you are still going at 3 am. Maybe you could have bars remain open, but not serve alcohol – but realistically they won’t stay open if they are not making enough money to pay wages and costs.

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