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The Standard

The drinking age

Written By: - Date published: 12:20 pm, August 30th, 2012 - 107 comments
Categories: alcohol - Tags:

As Bunji has said, the Government’s alcohol reforms miss the real issues – advertising, price, availability – and focuses on wowserism over teens drinking, instead. Guess cause I’m older now, the drinking age debate doesn’t get me going like it did last time round.

Reckon the Hospitality Association will be rubbing its hands at the split age suggestion.

I just don’t think there’s a growing problem with booze. Alcohol consumption is falling. 25 years ago, we consumed 140 litres of alcoholic beverages per person (including children!) per year. Today, that number is 105 litres.

107 comments on “The drinking age”

  1. King Kong 1

    Whilst this whole thing is a total waste of time when you look on other blogs and see fat middle aged preditors campaigning so hard for young girls to be able to get their hands on booze it really makes me think that maybe raising the age might not be a bad thing.

    • fnjckg 1.1

      learning KK

      sowing a whole lot of misery

      own testimony: Three X Seven followed by Seven to return

      alcohol abuse and dependence is a great sadness, and i see the darkness spread every day

  2. Lanthanide 2

    “I just don’t think there’s a growing problem with booze. Alcohol consumption is falling. 25 years ago, we consumed 140 litres of alcoholic beverages per person (including children!) per year. Today, that number is 105 litres.”

    Which is probably not surprising, with the population demographics and the baby boomer bulge getting older. Sure, lots of older people drink, but I’d suspect on average the amount drank per person goes down with age, for many different reasons.

    So you may actually find that in the age range 18-49, people are drinking more than they used to, while the average across the whole population is declining.

    • The drinking age should be increaed to 21 yrs, the way it used to be. Most under that age can’t drink responsibly, and smoke dope as well. The right age is probably 25 yrs, but society could never get away with that.

      Seriously though, it should be returned to 20 yrs, off-licences should be abolished and liquor outlets should be seperate from the rest of supermarkets – ideally we should return to the situation of the 1990’s and earlier. Unfortunately, many hotels have closed and replaced by neighbourhood bars which do not have bottlestores attached as hotels did. The liquor stores in shopping centres and other areas should also be closed down. They are all profit-orientated and have no interst in the local community.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        similar hotels and bottlestores would all reopen within a year of a law change. Better than having 10 year old kids walking past shelves of alcohol in the supermarket.

    • …I’d suspect on average the amount drank per person goes down with age, for many different reasons.

      Not necessarily. I’m 50 and drink a lot more now than I did 30 years ago, for one very obvious reason: I have a lot more money now than I did 30 years ago. However, I get pissed a lot less often now, so average annual consumption doesn’t say much about how likely I am to constitute a drunk-and-disorderly problem.

      The basic issue is that whether I’m getting pissed or not is none of the govt’s business, regardless of what adult age I am. The only thing that’s the govt’s business is whether I’m currently constituting a public disorder problem, for the resolution of which problem we have a perfectly adequate and functional police force.

      • fnjckg 2.2.1

        health disorder

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.2

        The only thing that’s the govt’s business is whether I’m currently constituting a public disorder problem, for the resolution of which problem we have a perfectly adequate and functional police force.

        It’s cheaper if public disorder from drinking doesn’t happen but that’s a cultural change that needs to happen and there’s very little that the government can do about that.

      • Sunny 2.2.3

        Your drinking is of course entirely your business. However, so long as we have a public health system, the rest of us pay the costs associated with the cancers that are directly caused by contact with alcohol (mouth, throat, stomach, bladder, kidney and liver as well as prostate, colon and rectal). It seems that the leading cause of early onset blindness (macular degeneration) is down to regular consumption of alcohol too and anyone who gets ‘pissed’ regularly is staring down dementia. Good luck with all that, Psycho Milt. (Don’t think the cops will be much help)

        • Psycho Milt 2.2.3.1

          So long as we have a public health system we all pay all kinds of costs arising from people doing things that we might not choose to do ourselves. That’s because it’s a public health system and not an insurance-based one. If it really bugs you that your taxes are funding health care for people you feel haven’t taken enough care of themselves, join the libertarians and push for privatisation of the health system – private healthcare is very good at user pays.

          As to the health “threats” themselves, if you prefer to spend your time fretting over what might raise your risk of cancer a few percent and end up failing to actually live your life as a result, that’s your choice. It’s certainly not mine though.

      • jcuknz 2.2.4

        It is personal irresponsibly typical of the welfare state to say it is none of the governments responsibility to be concerned at a persons personal habits. We accept and want the welfare but are not willing to exercise responsibility in return.

        I drink much more in my old age than during my working life but this is because of health reasons and I have been told it is good for my health to have a drink on a daily basis …. a single drink that is.

  3. Plastic Tolstoy 3

    Are those amounts measured in ‘standard drinks’ so that differences in alcohol percentage are factored in? Or is it possible that, while the total volume of alcoholic beverages consumed in litres has declined, many of the beverages preferred today have a higher alcohol concentration, meaning people need to consume less in volume than before to have the same effect? Just a thought.

    • fatty 3.1

      yeah, good point…data on drinking seems difficult to find, which is surprising, considering that everywhere we turn people are saying that the youth have a drinking problem – evidence please.
      I had a quick flick though this, but its from 2008/2009 and the data is badly presented…ALAC should be ashamed at such a pathetic publication http://www.alac.org.nz/sites/default/files/research-publications/pdfs/Alcohol_Monitor_08-09.pdf

      The concept of a split age is laughable and shouldn’t be considered as anything more than a joke. This issue is being handled the same way capitalism is…tinker round the edges to look like MPs are fixing the problem – really, major changes need to happen

      • Plastic Tolstoy 3.1.1

        It seems most data about alcohol consumption (aside from sales) is gathered during those times when alcohol use becomes problematic to the point where police or health professionals need to be involved. Looking at the worst cases doesn’t provide an accurate picture of the overall drinking habits of New Zealanders, and surveys regarding alcohol use rely on people being totally honest about their habits so it’s impossible to tell the true level of consumption and abuse.

        If there is clear evidence to be found that it is mainly youth that have a drinking problem (as opposed to many NZers of all ages), instead of scapegoating them we should be looking at why they feel the need to get ‘smashed’ every weekend. I agree that major changes need to happen rather than the usual softly, softly tinkering, a good start would be radical advertising restrictions.

        • RedLogix 3.1.1.1

          we should be looking at why they feel the need to get ‘smashed’ every weekend.

          It’s no secret seeing as how alcohol is the drug that traditionally makes capitalism (or more precisely … grossly unequal societies) tolerable.

          • fnjckg 3.1.1.1.1

            Yes

          • Plastic Tolstoy 3.1.1.1.2

            No, it isn’t a secret to those of us who can understand that people resort to coping mechanisms, good or bad, when they are stressed. It will take the personal responsibility groupies a long time to get that message though.

            • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Plenty of the personal responsibility groupies in Parliament enjoy the occasional drink. Or eight.

        • SHG 3.1.1.2

          One might argue that NZ has never recovered from the introduction of 6 o’clock closing by the Reform-Liberal coalition government in 1917. Binge drinking became part of NZ (and Australian) culture and we’ve never shaken it off.

  4. This summary from Stats New Zealand shows that alcoholic beverages and pure alcohol available for consumption has dropped marginally over the past couple of years.

    Assuming no change in ‘uptake’ of what’s available, that suggests a pretty much steady-state consumption, at the population level, over the last couple of years.

    But take a look at the graph accompanying the summary. Over the 16 years 1996-2011, beer consumption has reduced, wine consumption increased a bit then stayed pretty constant, but … ‘spirits and spirit-based’ drinks have gone up steadily before stabilising.

    For a closer look, download the pdf of the report (and tables if you’re really keen) and you’ll notice (on page 4) that ‘spirit-based’ drinks have increased quite dramatically over the past 10-15 years while ‘spirits’ have been remarkably constant.

    ‘Spirit-based’ today basically means alcopops. That’s the kind of drink that is being consumed more as a proportion of overall consumption. It’s also the alcohol of choice for many younger people (and a lot higher alcohol content than what I used to drink as a teenager – beer).

    • And, of course, the government scrapped its plans to ban RTDs with more than 5% alcohol.

      • Plastic Tolstoy 4.1.1

        Ugh, those things are lethal, taste sickly sweet to make people think they’re drinking soft drink and then people don’t realise how much alcohol they’re actually consuming. Perhaps these are one of the main contributors to the apparent youth drinking problem?

        • tc 4.1.1.1

          They are a huge contributor, it’s the next step from coke/l&p/energy drinks which are far from healthy anyway.

          Easy to make, massive margins, usually created with a specific youth sector in mind, I mean do you see many middle aged + or folk with the money to choose buying them.

          Erceg (RIP) was known and loved by the industry for being able to produce an equivalent to any ‘name brand ‘ RTD within a few months, on the shelves, similar taste, lower price, much larger margin.

          Crack a woody then crack your skull passing out.

          • NickS 4.1.1.1.1

            Crack a woody then crack your skull passing out.

            lawl.

            Don’t forget the massive sugar high that adds to the later hangover beautifully either.

            • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Sugar and caffeine. The caffeine is good because although you may already be effectively passed out from alcohol poisoning, it stimulates enough muscle activity for you to keep repetitively lifting the bottle to your mouth.

        • rosy 4.1.1.2

          +1 These are the difference between the drinking culture now, and the drinking culture before. Also don’t forget you can get a $2 shot at the counter of the booze store as you leave. Kids used to have to save up enough for 6-pack to beg someone at the door to grab some alcohol for them… now they just need $2.

          And the Nacts have completely reneged on their duty to work for the best interests of the population by allowing the drinks companies self-regulation. This is a much bigger issue than the drinking age.

          • QoT 4.1.1.2.1

            don’t forget you can get a $2 shot at the counter of the booze store as you leave

            That’s still the “booze store” where you have to produce ID to show you’re 18, right?

            I’m frankly so over these pathetic “oh but they taste like lolly water and kids are stupid” arguments. When I was 15 (quite some time ago) I went to parties where other girls had saved up to go halves on fucking disgusting cheap bottles of red wine.

            We didn’t need candy colours to convince us to drink. We’d already figured out that drinking = fun, and choking down a shitty cabernet was the sacrifice we had to make for it, so that’s what we did.

            The problem is culture, not “dumb kids don’t realise RTDs from liquor stores have OMG alcohol in them.”

            • rosy 4.1.1.2.1.1

              It’s the 14 year-olds outside that are the problem. Kids drink, I get that – was one, have some… this is like dairies selling single cigarettes to kids, and I object to that too.

  5. fnjckg 5

    follow Doug Sellman

    • Herodotus 6.1

      Really I wonder on what basis you give your support ?
      Also what evidence have you found to support alcohol on a developing brain ?????
      Here are a couple of kinks to support my position on minimising harm
      http://www.pmcsa.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/Improving-the-Transition-report.pdf
      http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/HealthIssues/1127400726.html
      “Labour’s justice spokesman Charles Chauvel said claims that the drinking of under-20s were out of control was not borne out by the evidence and distracted from the “real problem”.” Nice to read that the real problem is not brain damage !!!

      • fatty 6.1.1

        whats your position?
        when does a brain stop developing?

        • Herodotus 6.1.1.1

          Align the drinking age to be the same as entering a casino.
          http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Parents/Yourchildshealthandsafety/Youngpeopleandalcohol/DG_183848
          The effects of alcohol on young people are not the same as they are on adults. While alcohol misuse can present health risks and cause careless behaviour in all age groups, it is even more dangerous for young people. Find out how alcohol can affect young people’s health and behaviour.
          http://samafoundation.org/youth-substance-addiction/effects-of-drugs-on-adolescent-brain/
          http://www.mcaay.org.au/component/attachments/download/19.html
          And to answer your second question….. When one enters parliament. :-)

          • fatty 6.1.1.1.1

            “Find out how alcohol can affect young people’s health and behaviour.”

            I already know. It’s one of the more dangerous drugs out there, very dangerous.
            Regarding my second question, am I right in guessing that a brain finishes developing at 25? If so, how does this relate to R20 drinking?

            • Herodotus 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Who knows when it stops, a few years ago it was thought that most if not all the development finished late teens early 20’s. But it as you know has been taken to be later in the mid 20’s.
              At least all the effort placed by the booze industry was well spent.

              • fatty

                “At least all the effort placed by the booze industry was well spent.”

                True, but the booze industry doesn’t need to put in much effort does it?…plain packaging is being used on another drug that only really causes harm to the user. In contrast, many people beyond the user are vulnerable to alcohol.

          • Carol 6.1.1.1.2

            It’s not the drinking but how some are drinking.

            I think other measures can best deal with that.

            • Herodotus 6.1.1.1.2.1

              From this link you could infer that it “is” the drinking
              http://www.mcaay.org.au/component/attachments/download/19.html

            • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.2.2

              I think other measures can best deal with that.

              Well, we can lower the drinking age again once those other measures are in place and working.

              • QoT

                Sorry, CV, but to me that just sounds like “sorry, responsible young folk, but because older generations have created a stupid drinking culture and can’t themselves drink responsibly, thus setting you up to be binge-drinkers, we’re going to keep treating you like children (even though you can get married and die for your country at 18) until we have sorted our own shit out.”

              • Carol

                Some of those measures can be put in place relatively quickly. And putting the age up and down would just create confusions.

                http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7579040/No-age-rise-for-alcohol-sales

                Kaye said there had been a relative drop in alcohol consumption among 12 to 17 year olds of 40 percent in the last five years.

                There were effective measures in other parts of the Alcohol Reform Bill that would help reduce the access to alcohol of young people under the age of 18, Kaye said. Already, 92 percent of young people got their alcohol from people aged over 20.

                “You need to vote with your heads and vote for provisions that will make an actually difference in terms of supply,” Kaye urged MPs.

                Labour’s justice spokesman Charles Chauvel said claims that the drinking of under-20s were out of control was not borne out by the evidence and distracted from the “real problem”.

                “The issue is the culture, price, access and supervision all issues that need to be dealt with in the next phase of this debate,” Chauvel said.

                Green Party youth spokeswoman Holly Walker said there was an undoubted unhealthy drinking culture in New Zealand.

                “We need to change this culture but raising the purchase age will not achieve that change,” Walker said.

                Changing the culture is more difficult. But it seems to me binge drinking at various ages – not just teens – has increased since the escalation of consumer culture in the 80s -‘you are what you consume”.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Sure, I accept that the protections could be put in place relatively quickly. They’re just not going to be.

            • NickS 6.1.1.1.2.3

              It’s not the drinking but how some are drinking.

              This+1

              So simple, yet so hard to get. Especially when you can attack the younger generations.

  6. Tim G 7

    What a stupid measure! Litres of alcoholic beverages? Talk about missing the point given that:

    a) The average strength of beer has increased significantly; and
    b) The popularity of beer has declined relative to high-strength RTDs, wine (complete wine revolution in the last 25 years and it is orders of magnitude higher in alcohol than beer) and spirits.

    What a daft post.

    EDIT: Now see that this point has been made above, and more eloquently/better supported by evidence. It is hard to get through 25 comments when tickled by the forces of righteous indignation.

    • SHG 7.1

      complete wine revolution in the last 25 years and it is orders of magnitude higher in alcohol than beer

      Beer, let’s say 4.5% alcohol. So you’re saying that wine is at least 45% alcohol now?

      Wow.

      • Tim G 7.1.1

        Beer, let’s say 4.5% alcohol. So you’re saying that wine is at least 45% alcohol now?

        Nope, but as you are probably aware, alcohol by volume isn’t linear in terms of either its actual ethanol content or its effects on the brain. That is, 2 x 500ml glasses of 4.5% beer does not equal the alcohol content of 1 x 500ml glass of 9% beer.

        I am not a mathemetician but I am a practising alcoholic, and this was once explained to me by someone who was.

  7. QoT 8

    Reckon the Hospitality Association will be rubbing its hands at the split age suggestion.

    In complete honesty, this is the only reason I can actually comprehend for suggesting a split age: get 18-year-olds used to paying exorbitant bar prices for booze before we give them access to the blessings of a $30 40-oz.

  8. xtasy 9

    The alcohol and other drug issue in NZ is not a question of too low an age for drinking, of too low prices and all other excuses or arguments delivered, it is simply a result of a failed society, of a society that has failed in its roots, to develop, nurture and maintain any “culture” and “sense of being” beyond of basic material survival, commercial interest, consumerism and the below any sense level applied to the general pupulace to “belong”, apart from doing just that by boozing, drugging, watching rugby and so forth.

    Once people may be facing a real opportunity to do something else but get “smashed” on evenings and/or weekends, once the societal forces may offer something else that may actually be “stimulating”, “enlightening” and “enticing”, that involves more than “rugby, racing and beer”, that involves more than moronic pressures to do any crap job to survive, that involves the continued dumbing down of media and other information sources, that just continues to “dictate”, to “lecture”, to “divide”, to “marginalise”, to treat people with contempt, then we may have a see change.

    I see NO such change, and I welcome that the age of allowed alcohol consumption remains as it has been at 18, because age alone will do nothing at all to change behaviour. Perhaps some drunks in Parliament, in the higher business circles, who also are happy to get their staff drunk to keep them “motivated”, they may first change their bloody self righteous behaviour, before they try to blame all the problems and responsibilities on the younger ones.

    Good riddance, have a good, enjoyable beer or wine and cheer the result of tonight, dear folk, just do not go crazy. We have enough crazies that are so without additional substance contribution.

    Listening to Dr Sellman tonight on Campbell Live, it was all a conspiracy, so MPs wer ebought off by the alcohol industry? Doubt it, to be honest. Just more PC dictatorship! Had the gutsful of this crap!

    • millsy 9.1

      Sex sounds alright to me — prefer to feel a woman’s (you know what) than a beer bottle — they taste nicer too. . :-)

      Seriously, putting the age back up was a naive and stupid idea. Wouldnt solve a thing. Just lead to our courts being clogged up :-(

      The moral panic around booze seems to be about snobbery more than anything else – if youre not white, over 45, male and earning over $45000 per annum, then you cannot handle your booze and need it taken off you.

      It’s better to provide a safe environment for people to drink in than anything else, which will require a greater investment spread. This can include:

      Better lighting in public places
      A more visible police presence
      Perhaps cheap/free public transport so people can get home safer
      Volunteers dishing out tea and coffee and running alcohol free ‘chill out’ rooms where people can go and wind down and maybe sober up.

  9. Blue 10

    I’m disgusted that MPs have voted to keep it 18. How irresponsible can you get.

    Yes, drinking alcohol can be fun, and every teenager in the country would scream at the top of their lungs about their ‘rights’ if the age was raised, blah blah blah.

    But the people who have to deal with the consequences of this policy – health workers and law enforcement officials – want the age raised.

    It’s a no brainer – when the drinking age is 18, plenty of kids turn 18 in their last year of high school, meaning they can now supply booze to younger siblings, friends and partygoers.

    Raising the age to 20 means kids will have left high school when they are legally allowed to purchase alcohol, and be in uni, tech or work and part of a different social crowd.

    I was okay with the split age, because it allows 18 years olds to have a social life but takes away the mechanism to spread the booze to younger people. It was a good idea, and shame on our gutless MPs for voting it down.

  10. xtasy 11

    I am disgusted with the primitive mentality in NZ. Grow bloody up! You cannot handle the grog at 18, well yo9u will never grow up. will ya. It is a totally dumb nanny state this, coming from left and right wing idiots. I never have seen such dumb, idiot comments about alcohol, drugs and so forth, anywhere, on any blog all over the world. Are you people here for real? Are you living in this century? Are you even entrusting your kids to grow up? You ar elosers, total losers, not able to even get your own life in order, so you must dictate to others. What a fucked up country this is, and in Whanganui they create witch hunt about a 65 year old, bizarre, sick person, who is shit scared to be released from prison, because people want to hang, shoot, poison, are any way trespassing him (in breach of law) and go on like Neandertal people. NZ is a FUCKED SOCIETY TO ME!

  11. mike e 12

    idiots ranting and trying to bully people into submission with an illogical arguments mean you can include your self in your cohort.
    Preventative detention should be in place for Wilson and there wouldn’t be any complaints or you could invite him to live with your family .

    • xtasy 12.1

      mike e: Sorry I miss your link! Wilson already labelled “the beast” or ” the beast of Blenheim”, he has been already punished by his story and face being transmitted all over the media and more! So what is the issue to have him live in a strictly controlled area? I think it stinks how people in Whanganui react. By the way, I have NO problem living him in a flat next to me! I have learned tough life, met low life, been close to suicide and worse before myself, not at all resembling any criminal issues, but I know what this situation involves. It is irresponsible to stigmatise, lock out and make all worse, it is idiotic, but that seems to be the common approach in NZ. Immaturity, hate, isolation and so on, it is very, very unhealty. If I was Wilson, I would TAKE MY LIFE NOW! There is NO FORGIVENESS IN NZ!

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        He remains a heightened risk that is of no doubt, but people forget that he has served the time and the penalties required of him by our society and our laws.

        Do we intend to go on punishing those who have paid their dues, forever.

    • Carol 12.2

      Chill. Chill. The beast or any sexual predator should be dealt with by the law. They do damage, especially to children. But they are not NZ’s main problem. All the lynch mob, public venting of anger is the kind of media-led distraction, that I’m sure the NAct’s are loving.

      I started to talk about the dire situation of poverty etc to a colleague recently. This colleague then spent most of the rest of the conversation venting about sexual predators and the damage they do to children, and didn’t seem that interested in issues of poverty or income/wealth inequalities.

  12. mike e 13

    Wilson is his own worst enemy by not doing any rehabilitation and still blaming the victims and denying he has a problem get real if he had done rehab admitted his crimes i would have no problem with him .

  13. mike e 14

    didn’t Wilson alcohol to stupefy women and children.
    I rest my case,

  14. Colonial Viper 15

    To all you old people supporting the drinking age staying at 18, just remember you are paying for it all, and you are all going to keep on paying for it. In more ways than financial.

    • Balanced View 15.1

      I really don’t see any change in “cost” between a drinking age of 18 vs 20 – therefore I’m happy with the status quo

      • Colonial Viper 15.1.1

        There are approximately 90,000 18 year olds and 19 year olds in NZ. There is plenty of cost and injury there.

        So what do you base your observation off. If anything.

        • Balanced View 15.1.1.1

          I guess you’re assuming that changing the age will ensure alcohol doesn’t get into their hands.
          This is incorrect.

  15. Jenny 16

    With the conscience vote in parliament to leave the drinking age at 18 reason has prevailed in parliament today.

    ;Before the vote was listening to the “Hospitality Association” spokesperson speaking on National Radio, saying that they supported the raising of the age and splitting it, (funny that, same as Key).

    He then went on to say that being drunk in public should be made a crime.

    This exposes the self interest and punitive response favoured by the booze barons who are pandered to supported by the conservative law’n order lobbyists.

    This lobby appose any regulation of the liquor industry that might infringe their huge profits, instead concentrate on calls to criminalise the victims.

    If they got their way, what would be the result?

    As in most crime stats, under-age drinking laws would be applied much more savagely and aggressively to lower socio-economic working class youth. Resulting in proportionately more young Maori and Island youth in particular being arrested and hauled before courts and receiving fines and criminal convictions.

    The vote in parliament to retain the drinking age at 18 must be seen as defeat for the punitive lobby that hypocritically shield the booze barons while seeking a crack down on young people.

    With this break out of sanity in parliament, now maybe we can move onto some decent legislation to regulate the pushers. Of course this would mean combating MPs the likes of Judith Collins who act as a corrupt shills for the liquor industry in our parliament.

  16. vto 17

    Welcome back to the Victorian age where thou shall all follow the rules and prudent guidelines set down by your elders and superiors. Thou shall attend Church on Sundays, thou shall not wear hems above the ankle, thou shall not imbibe the devils drink.

    Fucking wowsers. Fuck off. Live your own life and leave people alone. Hypocrites Nosybodies. School teachers. Wowsers. Victorian oppressors. Wankers and tosspots. Judgmental, self-righteous pricks. Piss off.

  17. fnjckg 18

    ‘self”-many
    politics of identity-politics of lifesyle, oh, where will it end————-

  18. fnjckg 19

    master full

  19. fnjckg 20

    nothing new under the sun. Eccl. (off to real garden now) :)

  20. Treetop 21

    I am not impressed with the drinking age remaining at 18 for three main reasons.

    1. Being at secondary school and being able to purchase and drink alcohol legally is a bad mix.
    2. Intoxicated people who wake me up every Thursday – Sunday going into the CBD would be reduced were the age raised to 20.
    3. The amount of pokie machines in a person’s face when they drink at a bar does encourages a person to gamble at a younger age.

    A hard line needs to be taken regarding liquor advertising, pricing and access. The fithly drunks need to clean up their vomit, urine and litter. Violence associated with alcohol requires public education and the allowable legal limit for driving when alcohol has been consumed needs to be lowered.

    When a person is drinking responsibly they are not a problem, e.g. they do not end up at the hospital ED.

    • SHG 21.1

      When a person is drinking responsibly they are not a problem

      So you don’t have a problem with the purchase age, you have a problem with drunken behaviour.

      That’s not something that can be fixed with an Act of Parliament.

      • Treetop 21.1.1

        Usually an 18 year old has less life experience than a 20 year old, this is also why I wanted the age raised to 20.

    • vto 21.2

      Well what you need to do Mr Treetop is to take those issues up with those people who drink and cause that disturbance, but don’t take it out on people who drink and do not cause those disturbances.

      • Treetop 21.2.1

        From experience it is a one way conversation when you are sober and you are talking to a pissed person/s. Occasionally I open the front door and say “Do I yell in your ear when you are sleeping, you have a choice shut up or piss off.”

    • QoT 21.3

      Being at secondary school and being able to purchase and drink alcohol legally is a bad mix.

      Being able to vote, join the military and get married without being able to purchase alcohol, on the other hand, is just fucking insulting.

      • weka 21.3.1

        Not so sure about the QoT. I don’t see a lot of damage being done by 18 yr olds voting, joining the military or getting married. Alcohol on the otherhand…

        • QoT 21.3.1.1

          Right, so you’re happy to let someone die for our country or throw themselves into an unproven relationship or control the destiny of their country … but they can’t have a beer to celebrate any of those things. And this isn’t horribly patronising how?

          • weka 21.3.1.1.1

            Why not set the age for all those things at 16 (the age of sexual consent) and be done with it?

            “so you’re happy to let someone die for our country or throw themselves into an unproven relationship or control the destiny of their country”

            Sure, there are always examples of problems in all those areas. But on scale, drinking far outstrips those IMO.

            It’s likely that soon after the drinking age was lowered, rates of STDs and sexual assault increased.  I say likely because I remember A and E doctors talking about it, but no-one had done any research. Maybe they were wrong and it was merely a blip for other reasons, but which is more likely: that increasing access to alcohol to people who already have poor outcomes leads to worse outcomes or better or the same?

            When I was a teen and binge drinking, there was a direct, overwhelmingly obvious connection between access and how much we drank and how often. If the legal age had been 18 instead of 20, I would have been drinking much more at 15 than I was.

            Don’t get me wrong, I think the real solutions are somewhere else entirely, but I don’t see us doing anything sensible any time soon and in the meantime we can mitigate some of the damage. Or could have. Now that the age has been lowered, it is very difficult to change that back.

            • QoT 21.3.1.1.1.1

              Why not set the age for all those things at 16 (the age of sexual consent) and be done with it?

              Yes, why not? Then maybe we could have a firm line in the sand where people could say “right, you’re an adult now, here’s how that works.” Or even 18, I personally feel squeamish about sending 16-year-olds to die overseas.

              I say likely because I remember A and E doctors talking about it, but no-one had done any research.

              Yes, and our media surely wouldn’t have deliberately sought those anecdotes out! They’re so responsible about reporting on youth drinking, after all. And no one in the medical field could possibly suffer from confirmation bias.

              I don’t see us doing anything sensible any time soon and in the meantime we can mitigate some of the damage.

              Sorry weka, this just sounds patronising again. “Oh, sorry we’ve fucked up your cultural experiences, kids, we’re going to treat you like infants who can’t make your own decisions for your own good.”

              It is not the fault of 18-year-olds that we don’t have the guts or will to do something about our own attitudes.

        • QoT 21.3.1.2

          Also, I seriously want to see the “harm” being done by 18-year-old drinkers versus other age groups’ rates of drink-driving or committing assault after drinking. Just a hint, panic-mongering montage footage from TV3 which doesn’t even specify the participants’ ages doesn’t count.

          • McFlock 21.3.1.2.1

            we-ell they are well represented in the drink driving stats, even if you exclude the lower thresh-hold readings for some licence holders. And there’s a big peak in alcohol-related hospital admissions in the 18-22 age range (figure 92 page 169).
                   
            Personally I would look more to pricing, enforcement of current laws, community involvement in licence applications, and cutting the number of licences. But I’m not sure that age bumps would be entirely ineffectual, either.

            • QoT 21.3.1.2.1.1

              But I’m not sure that age bumps would be entirely ineffectual, either.

              In that case, why not 25? 30? 40? Men are pretty well-represented too, how about different age limits for men and women?

              Sure, age bumps will reduce the number of (responsible, law-abiding) young folk drinking. And then they’ll just hit 20 or 21 or whatever other arbitrary line we draw in the sand, they’ll still have our shitty NZ attitudes to alcohol, it will have been more of a forbidden fruit to them, and voila, suddenly we have a “peak” in the rates of hospital admissions for 22-25 year olds.

              Adults telling a group of people who are in all other ways treated as adults that they’re not smart enough to handle the lolly-water is dickish. That age group hasn’t magically fashioned binge-drinking out of whole cloth, they’ve learnt it from their parents and grandparents. They’ve seen it whenever someone suggests lowering the drinking age and old white farmers have a cry about not being able to get blotto at the pub then drive home and kill their mates on our state highways.

              They’ve seen it when ex-All Blacks wax lyrical about the days you could just leave the kids in the car while you went to have some beers, when Parliament has a Big Serious Think about raising the excise because “won’t someone think of the superannuitants who risked their lives for our country and won’t be able to afford sherry!!!”

              And then the very people who taught them drinking was fun, who treat getting pissed like it’s the only way to have a good time, suddenly say BUT NOT FOR YOU, STUPID KIDDIES. And then we wonder why they get off-their-faces smashed at the first opportunity.

              • McFlock

                The late teens are associated with a variety of  health conditions, e.g.  schizophrenia. But mostly, well, there’s a high dickish (sorry, “high risk behaviours”) quotient, too. It only lasts a few years, but the public health dude in me says it’s stupid to legitimise something that encourages dickish behaviour at a point in life just before the peak in natural background dickishness. Whatever. 
                         
                But on the other hand, a bigger gain would be from restricted advertising, enforcing access restrictions, working to change the drinking culture in society as a whole, and anything else that springs to mind.
                           
                All moot anyway – it’s staying at 18.

                You wanted some evidence of significant 18-20 representation in alcohol related harm. I suggest that it’s not completely imaginary.

        • Treetop 21.3.1.3

          + 1

      • Treetop 21.3.2

        For the last year people under the age of 20 have had to have a zero alcohol limit when driving.

        Being unable to purchase alcohol or drink in a bar if you are married, in the defence force or are a voter and you are 18 is different from being able to have a beer at a private function or in a home.

    • fatty 21.4

      “A hard line needs to be taken regarding liquor advertising, pricing and access. The fithly drunks need to clean up their vomit, urine and litter. Violence associated with alcohol requires public education and the allowable legal limit for driving when alcohol has been consumed needs to be lowered.”

      Good points…these are the reasons why it should be left at R18

  21. Fortran 22

    By keeping it at 18 stuffed Key and Collins’s positions. Can’t all be bad.

  22. Dv 23

    On an earlier news bulletin Key was quoted as the problem was kids loading up on CHEAP aclohol at home, then coming into town.

    The word cheap was dropped from latter reports.

    Interesting!!!

  23. shorts 24

    all alcohol is cheap when you’re a millionaire… its bloody expensive if you’ve no job, regardless of age

    our booze problem is a cultural thing

    in the young thats coupled with a no hope, no future, no jobs world

    is it any wonder the young, middle aged and old drink??

    give them hope… give them a chance to be the person they could be… allow the people to realise their dreams… and work on addressing the real problem – our attitudes to drink

    and stop blaming the young for all our problems… we built the world they are watching fall apart before their very eyes

    • SHG 24.1

      give them hope… give them a chance to be the person they could be… allow the people to realise their dreams…

      It’s a Friday, so right now I want a chance to be the person I could be, namely a guy with a drink in his hand.

  24. Tiger Mountain 25

    Jeez, not every young person regularly gets ‘slaughtered’ on liquor, and those that do have often been taught or supplied by experts, namely their parents and other adults. Good move leaving it at 18, young people have it hard enough with student loans, high unemployment, precarious employment and all the other tender mercies of our society without treating them as fuckwits to boot.

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      and all the other tender mercies of our society without treating them as fuckwits to boot.

      You need to visit a few student bars between 3am and 4am tomorrow morning.

      • Tiger Mountain 25.1.1

        Rather not thank you CV, the music might not be to my liking. I have had increasingly good experiences with young peoples socialising the last few years with a son just turning 21. The 60 kids all came to our beach residence and were in bed by 2am, us oldies then relaxed and thrashed it till dawn. The youngies have sober drivers and don’t think it is at all cool for people to get trolleyed.

        I did not grow up in Sunday school and am well aware that there are some revolting hard core munters out there but is a culture change really going to come from punishing a two year age band?

        • Colonial Viper 25.1.1.1

          framing the whole thing as “punishing” 18 and 19 year olds is definitively unhelpful. Are we similarly “punishing” 17 year olds by not allowing them to drink (or to vote)?

          The 60 kids all came to our beach residence and were in bed by 2am, us oldies then relaxed and thrashed it till dawn

          Of course, drinking under adult supervision at a residence has never been an issue.

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