Yes, something needs lifting in our liquor laws – but it’s the drinking age, not the price of booze

One mob is hollering for the drinking age to be raised. Another is hollering for the price of booze to be raised. Alf unabashedly supports the age lifters.

As he posted a few years ago, when musing on our liquor legislation, he was chuffed to find scientists have discovered a possible reason for hoonish behaviour – it’s that people don’t become true adults until they’re 24.

That suggests the drinking age should be raised to 24. Alf would not be fussed if it went higher.

A new study comes into the picture today.

According to a Radio NZ report –

A Massey University study has found that the risk of 18 and 19 year olds being injured in alcohol related crashes has risen by 21 percent since the drinking age was lowered from 20 to 18 in 1999.

An outfit called SADD – Students Against Drunken Driving – said the results are upsetting and disturbing.

Chief executive Anna Braidwood said it would be wrong to ignore the research and the group is calling for the legislation governing the drinking age to be looked at again.

The organisation has always supported a higher drinking age.

Alf has no sympathy whatsoever with the lobbying of the other mob.

It has got all huffy since Justice Minister Judith Collins – taking time out from stonewalling about that dinner with a Chinese border official – said the Government will not be introducing minimum pricing on alcohol.

She obviously listened to Alf on this matter, because she said raising the price would hit moderate drinkers in the pocket when there is no compelling evidence that increasing the price of alcohol is the correct approach.

“New Zealanders who drink responsibly and moderately should not be unfairly targeted. Introducing a minimum pricing regime would see alcohol companies earn around $131m extra a year at the $1.20 minimum price point,” says Ms Collins.

“Yesterday Police Minister Anne Tolley announced Police statistics showing significant drops in alcohol-related offences since the reforms came into full effect on 18 December last year”.

In the ten weeks after the Act came into full effect there were 22 per cent fewer serious assaults causing injury, public place violence and disorder offences between 8pm and 8am than for the same period last year.

But the bloody wowsers won’t be silenced.

According to another Radio NZ report, Alcohol Action New Zealand spokesperson Doug Sellman said the decision is a boost for the alcohol industry, which benefits from a heavy drinking culture.

”But,” he said, ”it’s also a dark day for ordinary New Zealanders.”

Alf is bound to say he regards himself as an extraordinary New Zealander.

But he drinks with ordinary New Zealanders and he can tell Doug Sellman this is by no means a dark day.

Dunno what the wowsers should do after suffering this setback. Alf suggests they might take solace in a stiff drink or three.

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