Alcohol purchase age to stay at 18

Parliament has voted 69 to 53 in favour of keeping the alcohol purchase age at 18 years old after a conscience vote today.

Justice Minister Judith Collins says keeping the purchase age at 18 across the board denies one effective way…… of curbing problem drinking, but it is not the only tool available.

“Our Alcohol Reform Bill aims to drive lasting change to our drinking culture and has a wide range of measures to reduce alcohol-related harm in our families and communities.

“I am very pleased to be leading this Bill through Parliament. This is the first time in more than two decades that any Government is acting to restrict rather than relax our drinking laws.

“But, we can’t do it alone. We all have a role to play in shifting our drinking culture, towards more moderate and responsible alcohol consumption,” Ms Collins says.

Alcohol purchase age was the first part of the Government’s Alcohol Reform Bill to be debated. The remaining committee stages of the Bill will progress through the House as time becomes available.

Key proposals to reduce alcohol-related harm include:

  • increasing the ability of local communities to have a say on alcohol licensing
  • strengthening rules about the types of stores eligible to sell alcohol and restricting supermarkets and grocery stores to displaying alcohol in a single area
  • requiring express parental consent for private supply of alcohol to under-18 year olds and ensuring that the alcohol is supplied in a responsible manner
  • restricting alcohol availability, by making it harder to get a licence and introducing maximum trading hours for licensed premises, and
  • strengthening the controls on alcohol advertising and promotion, by making it an offence to promote alcohol in a way that has special appeal to minors.