Purchase age not drinking age

God it annoys me when people go on about the purchase age for alcohol, and confuse it with a drinking age.

The latest is the Chair of Kings.

Let us be very clear. NZ has no drinking age at present. It is absolutely legal for 12 year olds to drink spirits. I think this is crazy, and why I support there being a drinking age. And at present it is also legal for an adult to give a 12 year old a bottle of spirits.

The Government’s proposals go part of the way towards having a drinking age. They make it illegal to supply alcohol to someone under 18 without parental consent. However they don’t make the actual consumption of alcohol without consent an offence.

The purchase age is the age at which you can purchase alcohol. It is currently 18. When a 16 or 17 year old gets into trouble with alcohol, it has nothing to do with the purchase age and everything to do with the lack of a drinking age – or at the least the lack of a law preventing supply to those under 18.

What happened at Kings has nothing to do with the purchase age of alcohol being 18. The dead boy is aged 17. We won’t know until the Coroner reports what happened that night, but I have heard from multiple people that this was not primarily an alcohol issue. I am amazed the Chair of Kings is raising what is arguably a red herring.

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