Minister Will Approve 18+ ID Card Details SoonJustice
Justice Minister Tony Ryall says good progress is being made on providing an "18+" proof of age card. "We are hopeful such a card will be available by early November, giving young people a month before the drinking age is lowered" said Mr Ryall. "The number of people likely to apply for the card is unclear. What we are aware of is a lot of young people upgrading to photo drivers licences now instead of waiting until birthdays post December 1st".
When Parliament voted to lower the drinking age, the Minister of Justice was given power to approve additional proof of age documents over and above a photo drivers licence and passport. Mr Ryall expects to gazette criteria for approving additional cards and issuers within the next month.
"Once the criteria is approved, we expect applications from organisations ready to issue such cards across the country. We expect the card application criteria will be similar to that for a passport. We want the "18+ Card" to have credibility. Parliament has told us to be sparing in the number of issuers we approve.
"How many young people will want 18+ cards is unclear. Many young people are choosing to upgrade their drivers licences well before their birthdays. Advice is about 80% of 18 year olds have a drivers licence. The new photo licence will give them a good form of ID for December 1st. Pubs and clubs are going to enforce a tough "No Card, No Entry" policy.
"Young people choosing to upgrade their licences early should do so well before the end of November. The last thing anyone wants is a last minute rush as December 1st approaches.
"The Ministries of Health, Education and Youth Affairs are planning an information campaign on the law changes. As Minister of Justice I will also be informing young people about the changes and how the tougher enforcement rules will affect them" said Mr Ryall.
Mr Ryall has asked youth and student media to take a leading role in informing young people about the law change and need for a photo ID. "Many are already promoting upgrading your drivers licence early" according to Mr Ryall.