Justice Minister against raising drinking age
11:52AM Wednesday Mar 04, 2009

The number of liquor outlets may be limited and opening hours shortened, but if Justice Minister Simon Power has his way the purchasing age will not be raised.

Mr Power has asked the Law Commission to fast-track its comprehensive review of alcohol legislation, but he would not be drawn on specific changes.

The review of liquor laws by the commission was instigated by the previous Labour government, with the support of National. It had a wide brief to look at all alcohol laws including the purchasing age, sale of alcohol in supermarkets, extended hours of alcohol sales and the link between alcohol and health and crime.

Mr Power said he was concerned about the "ad hoc" way issues of alcohol and its regulation had been addressed.

"I don't want to sound like the grinch that stole Christmas on being able to have a beer in your local pub.

"But in the end we have to ask ourselves how broad an issue this is when it is such a critical part of offending and if you want to drive the crime rate down in New Zealand you can't do that without having a discussion about alcohol," he told Radio New Zealand.

More here.