Why it is wrong to raise the purchase age

An advertisement showing why it would be wrong to raise the purchase age, ny Keep It 18.

The release says:

Keep It 18 has released a video highlighting how ridiculous it will be if MPs vote to increase the purchase age for alcohol from 18 to 20.

The video, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ9K1-OY6Zs, shows a 19 year old couple getting married, and then at the reception the happy couple having to drink chocolate milk for the wedding toast.  

“It is ridiculous that MPs could vote for a law which says a 19 year old is not mature enough to buy a bottle of wine from a supermarket, yet is old enough to get married” said Sean Topham, Spokesperson for the Keep It 18 campaign. “Our video shows how ludicrous such a situation would be”.

“The proposed increase in the purchase age will actually encourage greater supply of alcohol to those who can’t purchase it for themselves – contradicting one of the primary aims of the bill, which is to reduce supply to minors.”

“It is a myth that youth drinking has increased since the purchase age was lowered to 18. In fact, the prevalence rate of under 18s who drink has dropped 40% in the last five years, according to ALAC’s annual alcohol monitor surveys. The Auckland University’s Adolescent Health Research Group survey of 10,000 secondary school students in 2000 and 2007 also found that the prevalence rate of youth drinkers has dropped significantly since 2000.

“The number of young people caught drink driving has also dramatically dropped, by 50% from 2007 to 2009 and a further 50% in the last year.”

“This shows there is no sound reason to discriminate against 18 and 19 year olds and treat them as minors. We urge MPs to vote for sensible measures to reduce harm caused by alcohol, and to resist the populist temptation to scape-goat 18 and 19 year olds.” concluded Sean Topham.

Also a good read is this op ed in the ODT by ACT on Campus President Hayden Fitzgerald:

Thirty years ago, a four-pack of New Zealand-made beer for $20 would have been unsaleable.

Who would have chosen such poor value over a swap-a-crate of draught beer or a cask of wine?

Today, such boutique offerings are not unusual.

If the products people purchase are any indication of where our drinking culture is headed, the role of alcohol advertising has been misunderstood.

The volume of alcohol sold per capita has actually decreased since the 1989 reforms.

For a start, alcohol advertisers do not necessarily want consumers to drink more alcohol.

What they really want is to increase their own profits.

It is this dynamic which explains why the amount drunk per capita has declined, the amount of advertising has increased, and the sophistication of alcohol offerings has grown during the past 30 years.


It is no coincidence drinking culture has become more sophisticated while advertising has been liberalised.

How do you introduce a classier European equivalent to the New Zealand market if you cannot sing its praises to the punters?

What local brewer or vintner will respond by innovating if they are not able to tell consumers what they have done?

Alcohol advertising restrictions will make it that much harder for the boutique start-ups to enter the market.

Those who remain will find the profits are back at the lowest common denominators of price and volume.

A good warning.

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