Drinking at age four

The Dom Post reports:

A binge-drinker who started drinking when he was four is an example of why New Zealand’s drinking culture needs attention, a district court judge says. …

Hakaraia, who was an alcohol and drug addict by the age of 12, was an example of why Parliament was trying to tackle the youth binge-drinking culture, Judge Oke Blaikie said.

“There is a photo of you on files drinking a can of alcohol when you were just age four.

“From 13 to 18, you would drink four bottles of straight bourbon or gin with a few mates on a Friday and Saturday alone,” Judge Blaikie said.

When he was 12, Hakaraia was smoking cannabis twice a day. During his teenage years, it was costing $400 a week to feed his addictions, which led to a life of crime and years spent behind bars.

This is an awful tale, and is a sterling example of the harm that can be caused.

However I note that very few of the Law Commission proposals will have any impact on what happened, so that a four year old is drinking alcohol.

Certainly lowering the purchase age from 20 to 18 will have zero impact on this situation.

Neither will forcing bars to have a one way policy.

What will have an impact is making it an offence for youth to be supplied alcohol irresponsibly.

What would have an impact is having a drinking age, not just a purchase age.

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