Information Campaign Commences On Drinking Age Changes

  • Tony Ryall

The Government has commenced an information campaign to make young New Zealanders aware of the 1 December changes to the drinking laws," Education Minister, Nick Smith and Justice Minister, Tony Ryall, said today.

The campaign launch coincides with the first day of 18 year-olds being able to apply for the new 18+ Card at NZ Post Shops.

"Parliament's decision to lower the drinking age will bring new responsibilities for many young people. The Government wants to make young people aware of those responsibilities before the drinking age reduces on 1 December," said the Ministers.

"The information provided is short and to the point. It urges young people to exercise their new rights responsibly.

"It also outlines the tough new enforcement regime that accompanies the lowering of the drinking age.

"Young people need to be aware that increased fines will be put in place, meaning anyone caught drinking under-age can be fined $200 or more and the Police can issue on-the-spot infringement notices.

"Fines of as much as $2000 are being introduced for anyone supplying alcohol to someone under the legal age, including bar and supermarket checkout staff. Management can be fined up to $10,000 and risk losing their license.

"There will also be tougher checks of all outlets selling alcohol and young people will need to be prepared to prove their age, either by showing a photo driver's licence, passport or the new 18+ Card which will be available from NZ Post Shops.

"Much of the information being circulated targets 16 to 22 year olds using the message ‘you're not just a teen once you're 18'.

"Youth radio, newspaper ads, an information pamphlet, bus panels and a series of outdoor paste-up posters will be key avenues for reaching this group.

"The campaign is also directed at those who influence young people such as parents, teachers, siblings and retailers selling alcohol, delivering a message that the new rules governing the sale of alcohol are clear, simple and tough on those who don't stick to them," said the Ministers.

The campaign will cost $250,000 and is jointly funded by the Ministry of Education, ALAC and the Beer Wines and Spirits Council.