Monday, 23 August 2010

Drinking-age humbug [update 3]

Is it just me, or is there something vaguely distasteful about middle-aged people who’ve made fuck ups out of their own lives making up rules for how 18-20 year-olds should spend theirs—rules, especially, about drinking.  Nothing is more calculated to flush out the fuck-up’s inner puritan.

And when those middle-aged fuck-ups are politicians ready to “bring out the ban”—to ban all 18-20 year-olds from buying alcohol simply because a few, a very few, 18-20 year-olds have behaved badly—then that just stinks of rank humbug.

Not every 18-20 year-old is a train crash waiting to happen, any more than every politician is a braindead, spendthrift fat fool who wants to download porn, travel extravagantly, or play fast and loose with confidential defence documents (though tarring all politicians with the same brush claim is infinitely more justifiable).  Blaming them all for the bad behaviour of some is frankly ludicrous, not to say iniquitous.

And asserting that people considered old enough to vote those politicians into power are not yet old enough to choose what goes into their shopping trolley is frankly indefensible.

Young Jenna Raeburn makes the case for keeping the status quo far more soberly than I can manage. Her restraint is admirable.


_Quote_thumb[2] The government will be unveiling its liquor policy today, and a core element seems to be national opening hours, with off-licences restricted to opening between 7am and 11pm, and bars and nightclubs between 8am and 4am…. What next? A legislated national bedtime?

UPDATE 2:  Matt Nolan at The Visible Hand wonders why the wowsers can’t even get their outrage straight:

_Quote_thumb[2]One of the main reasons the government wants to crack down on alcohol is because of thescenes no civilized society can relish,“, which is when people of the age of 18-24 go into town and run amok....
    So they are introducing a policy that will give people the incentive to go into town, instead of drinking at home…so more people will just drink in town (where it is likely more student bars with low margins and high quantities will open), and with them already in town there can be even more people to “run amok.”

More unintended consequences of nannying.

UPDATE 3The liquor policy is unveiled. They’ve gone for a half-nanny rather than the full reach-around begged for by the Law Commission. Paul Walker makes a number of cogent objections to being bossed around by Simple Simon. Roger Kerr makes a toast to moderately common sense.

UPDATE 4: Two new Facebook groups you may like: Open Bars and Being Able To Buy Alcohol At Night.  Because “why should it be illegal to buy a bottle of wine after 11pm?”


  1. what happens if you come home from an evening out, and find the kids in your games room, boozing it up with alcohol supplied by one of their friends? Is the property owner/ leasee liable to prosecution if one of the teens present without the knowledge/ permission of the property owner?

  2. I spent half an hour earlier this evening enthralled with a cops/driving programe on TV3. It's the sort of show they should be playing instead of the news...would wake a lot of people up. What I found fascinating in this show was the complete lack of respect and consequences people have. I'm only 35 but I feel old watching this. What NZ desperately needs for its antisocial youth is not anal laws but simple consequences for actions. I'm all for labour camps being opened up around the country. They might not pay their fines, but a month of 10-12 hr days in the fields would be a fair debt to society I think.

  3. There is nothing so hypocritical as a middle aged moralist.


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