ACT on Campus President Hayden Fitzgerald today expressed concern and disappointment over ACT Leader John Banks’s decision to split the drinking age.
“Mr Banks’s choice to vote in favour of punishing responsible 18 and 19 year olds is short sighted and goes against the ACT Party principles of choice and personal responsibility,” Mr Fitzgerald said today.
“We invite John to publicly share his explanation on how tinkering with the alcohol purchase age will help solve problem drinking in New Zealand and why he thinks that voting, fighting, working young adults should have their legal rights restricted.
“ACT on Campus does not believe that prohibiting 19 year olds, living away from home for a couple of years, buying a bottle of wine will do anything to address New Zealand’s drinking problem.
“Increasing the purchase age will increase the level of disrespect toward the law by young people as their freedoms and responsibilities are taken away.
“The contradiction of being able to enlist in the army, vote, enter a legally binding contract and be elected to Council or Parliament, but not having the lawful freedom to drink a glass of wine at home will not be lost on young adults. Nor should it be forgotten. If the law offers these choices and responsibilities to those young adults, then they should rightfully have the same when it comes to alcohol.
“Busting New Zealand’s binge drinking culture requires better education, better health services, efficient policing and more involvement from family and communities. A focus on these areas will form government policy which sensibly encourages progress; not poorly thought out policies that penalise responsible young people,” Mr Fitzgerald concluded.