Big majority for drinking age of 20
By Derek Cheng 5:30 AM Thursday Jun 30, 2011 Share60 Email

An overwhelming majority of people support raising the legal purchase age for alcohol to 20 for bars and liquor shops, including supermarkets, according to the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey.

The buying age has been the subject of intense debate and will come into the spotlight soon when the Government pushes through its reforms to reduce alcohol-related harm.

The Government is proposing a split age - 18 for on-licence premises such as bars, 20 for off-licences such as liquor outlets - in the Alcohol Reform Bill, which is before the justice and electoral select committee.

When asked by the pollsters to choose between three options for the minimum age to buy alcohol, 58.6 per cent preferred 20, which was the age before a law change in 1999. Only 14.5 per cent wanted the status quo of 18, while 25.7 per cent wanted a split age.

A Law Commission report, which was the basis for the Government's bill, recommended a purchase age of 20, and said the change in 1999 had led to more drinking at a younger age and an increase in alcohol-related harm.

More here.