Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Blaming the young

As I mentioned earlier, the drinking age bill is likely to get a vote on Wednesday. Meanwhile, United Future's Gordon Copeland, who had previously been in the "definitely 20" column, has come out in support of a split age, stealing some of Wayne Mapp's thunder by putting up his own amendments on the matter. While this is better than an outright rise, it still undermines the rights of 18 year olds, and will still leave them in the ridiculous situation of being able to marry or be civilised, join the army, vote and stand for Parliament, but unable to have wine with friends or a beer at a BBQ. And it unfairly blames 18 and 19 year olds for the unsupervised supply of liquor to minors, when this is overwhelmingly done by parents. But its so much easier to blame the young than address the real problem, isn't it?


"the rights of 18 year olds, and will still leave them in the ridiculous situation of being ... unable to have wine with friends or a beer at a BBQ."


Merely unable to purchase alcohol to have at a BBQ. Perfectly legal to drink alcohol at one.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 11/07/2006 11:20:00 AM

So we will be in the situation where I can invite my 18 year old daughter and her 19 year old boyfriend to my private BBQ. I can buy and supply beer to her but I commit an offence if I buy and supply any beer to him at the same event.

What a great law!


Posted by Anonymous : 11/07/2006 11:40:00 AM

sb ... um, no.

Whilst clause 6 (2) of the original bill would have removed s 160(3)(d) of the Sale of Liquor Act, the Select Committee recommended that that clause be removed (and the exception in relation to private gatherings would remain).

It is presently legal for anyone at a "private social gathering" to supply alcohol to anyone irrespective of his or her age. As amended by the select committee this will not change. At your private BBQ you would be able to buy and supply beer to both your daughter, and her boyfriend.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 11/07/2006 12:11:00 PM

So, one the one hand, they propose raising the age to prevent supply to minors. And OTOH, they leave in place a legal blank cheque for anybody who does exactly that. And then no doubt they'll complain that the law is being flouted, when that is clearly their legislative intent.

But then, its clear that this isn't so much about solving any problems as "sending a message". And I think that 18 and 19 year olds should send a message in return - at the ballot box.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 11/07/2006 12:46:00 PM

Graeme: You got me - I did not realise that they had decided not to remove that cause.

But as I/S says its a very big loophole, you just need to have a 20+ at a private party and the 18/19 wont have a problem getting as much drink as they can afford!


Posted by Anonymous : 11/07/2006 12:58:00 PM

There is, of course, no guarantee that the select committee's report will be accepted. That clause could still be in the final bill.

Either way, though, there are holes big enough to drive a bus through. Some of the reasoning is pretty tortured (read the SC report, it's... bizarre).

Posted by Anonymous : 11/07/2006 02:26:00 PM

The ALAC guy has been criticising the Golden Oldies Rugby in Wellington for drunken antics. (http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/411419/881882)
Perhaps the could put in an amendment to prohibit 65+ year olds from drinking too (they should have had their bladderful by then!)

Posted by Hans Versluys : 11/07/2006 02:47:00 PM

should we not have this same argument regarding 0-18 yr olds?

1) is it not strange that they can drink at a party with an older person but not if that older person leaves.

2) Some of those people can drive leave school get benefits can have sex with someone their own age (so why not drink with them??), get married and ride push bikes and will be protected by anti-smacking legislation but they can't drink? (ok the last two were a little arbitrary)

so that puts the age at least down to 16 if not around 12 or a bit lower.

Posted by Genius : 11/07/2006 03:22:00 PM

"is it not strange that they can drink at a party with an older person but not if that older person leaves."

That would be strange, but it's not the law. A 14 year old can drink alcohol whether or not an adult is present. It is the law now, and the bill (both as introduced, and as amended in select committee) will not change it.

There is no drinking age.

There is an alcohol purchasing age.

The discussion above is related to whether it ought to be an offence to provide alcohol to someone not old enough to buy it.

At present this is not an offence. The bill as amended in Select Committee would not change this. The bill as introduced would have made that supply an offence unless the person so supplying was a parent or guardian or former guardian.

The law does not make, and not suggestion has been tabled that the law ought to make, it an offence for someone below the alcohol purchasing age to drink any alcohol they have. They commit an offence if they buy it, the law might change so that a person supplying it free commits an offence, but underage drinking is not illegal

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 11/07/2006 03:46:00 PM

ahhh. i skim read, but i can see what graeme has indicated.

in plain english. maybe. at present you can get as fcked as you like on booze, but you have to have someone supply it to you.

the presumption seems to be that the supplier will monitor the amount they've provided you with, to ensure reasonable drinking.

the flaw is that as adults don't drink reasonably, why would non-purchasers do any differently? regardless of whether they source the alcohol themselves, or are provided it.

OTOH, making provision of alcohol illegal is basically asking for twilight raids on christmas and grandmother's birthday parties across the nation. doubtless they could mitigate that lunacy by adding a modifier like [again, plain english] 'it is an offense to provide waaay too much booze to youngsters', but what will the measure be?

overcomplicated, and asking for trouble.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/07/2006 06:12:00 PM

ahah... ok got it now

Posted by Genius : 11/07/2006 07:57:00 PM

Marriage, voting and standing for Parliament are human rights. Purchasing alcohol isn't, it's a privilege that we as a society extend to people at a certain age.

According to the Justice Ministry Report (18 May 2004) 16 and 17-year-olds are drinking larger volumes and drinking more often since 1999. The A&E medicos aren't happy either and they are the one's who pick up the pieces. We have to do something.

Posted by Muerk : 11/07/2006 11:58:00 PM