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SOL Bill
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Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill

Drinking age

74. Sale or supply of liquor to minors [SOL 155. Also S.160 re purchasing for minors]

Oppose the change from 20 to 18 as the minimum legal age.

Clarification of the age provisions is supported, as is providing a photo ID under the Land Transport Act is supported. If future drinking surveys show these measures to be successful, then it may be time to consider a lower age.

This policy recommendation is based on:

  • Trends towards teenagers’ binge-drinking increasingly large amounts shown by Auckland surveys through the 1990s. (In this context it should be noted that since 1990 the number of alcohol outlets has doubled, and after February 1992 when alcohol brand advertising was permitted on broadcast media the number of alcohol ads on television quadrupled.)
  • Research in NZ and US showing that the younger people begin to drink, the more likely they are to drink heavily and experience problems from their drinking at a later age.
  • Research showing increases in alcohol related harm among young people following the lowering of the drinking age in the US, Canada and Australia.

New 155(4A). Defence with evidence of age

No opposition to this addition, but recommend additional strengthening clauses

  • actually requiring licensees and serving staff to demand ID of all young looking people, and
  • making it an offence to present false or someone else’s ID.

Such clauses are being added to licensing laws in comparable countries, and an example from Manitoba is attached.

76., 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 83, 84. Drinking age and exemptions [SOL S.156-162]

Clarifications and repeals of exemptions supported, but for age 20, not 18.

These clarifications and repeals now mean that underage persons cannot enter ‘restricted’ premises at all, ie those whose principle purpose of business is the sale of alcohol. Contrary to the explanatory note but according to the definition of ‘supervised area’ in clause 2, they cannot enter ‘supervised’ premises unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, but if so accompanied they can enter and can buy alcohol. Any age may enter undesignated premises and they may buy a drink if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

82. New Sections 162A to 162D Infringement notices for offences by minors

Supported. but for age 20.

85. Offence to breech law or licence. [SOL new 165A]

Supported. Support imprisonment up to 3 months and fine up to $20,000, although this only applies to matters which are covered by other section with much lower penalties. Assume this will be prosecuted in the district court, although officers report the courts often do not take alcohol issues seriously. This replaces the unused restraining order S.72 [SOL136]

86. Being on licensed premises outside licensing hours [SOL 170]

Clarifications re staff supported.

87. Power of police to seize [SOL new 177A]

Support power to seize alcohol and container in evidence.

Recommend additional clause in this section allowing either the licensee, authorised staff or the police to seize evidence of age documents.

91. See 21 above.

92 to 105. These are changes consequent on changes introduced by clauses discussed above, or relate to matters of transition

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