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August 10, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Commission’s sober recommendations won’t change culture—students

The Law Commission Report into Alcohol Law reform has been shot down in the student community for not challenging New Zealand’s binge drinking culture enough.

Law Commissioner President Sir Geoffrey Palmer released a comprehensive report last week that suggested a range of policy options for public consideration, which include limiting both the supply and demand for alcohol.

Students are in doubt as to the effectiveness of many of these options however, with many concerned the drinking culture in New Zealand is too ingrained to be changed with a Law. One student (who did not want to be named) said “It’s sort of a social norm to get ‘wasted’ these days,” and a simple tax increase won’t slow this culture down.

Others point to the American example, saying age restrictions drive people to use other substances. Claims that ‘most people are on something when they go out’ have been widely repeated, which some say will become more acceptable if alcohol accessibility is restricted in any way.

Others disagree, saying the control of binge drinking will be enough to curb the culture. Student Leo White says the implementation of ‘Split Purchase Age’, which differs between on-licence and off-licence premises, would encourage good behaviour by younger people, who can only drink in a social environment.

“It is a realistic law change too; puts a lot more responsibility on the bar staff around the country whilst still allowing 18–20year olds to go out, have a few drinks and a good time,” White said.

Either way, students agree these reforms won’t directly affect them, as most spoken to by Salient were over the age limit in question, and say they can always scrape together enough money each week to go out.


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