NZ Young Nats stand by Keep it 18

Today the NZ Young Nationals have called on the Government to reject the recommendation made by the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction to raise the drinking age from 18 to 20.

“This is a classic case of scapegoating young people”, Young Nats President Sam Stead says. “But actually, the statistics speak for themselves. Since 2016, binge drinking among 18 – 24 year olds has fallen from 37.1% to 32.9%, the second largest drop compared with any other age group."

“If the Government is truly committed to a harm reduction approach to alcohol, let’s focus on that. Let’s work on continuing to develop a drinking culture that fosters safety, understanding and maturity in young people, not one of prohibition.”

The issue has previously been debated in 2012, with Parliament voting to oppose raising the drinking age by 68 votes to 53.

“The Young Nats want to make it clear to both the Government and to MPs that young people are already taking the lead on developing safer and more responsible drinking habits. If you can vote, get married and serve abroad in the military at 18, then you should be allowed to have a drink.”

The Government has committed to responding to the Inquiries' recommendations by March 2019.