New Zealand’s drinking age is 18,
same as that of the United Kingdom. Drinking is
allowed all night when you reach this age, a fact
which makes everyone very happy. Except for UK or
Irish style bars, beer in New Zealand is served
handles, not pints, approximately 440 ml smaller
than the former.
In New Zealand, there is a wide rage of homegrown
beer to choose from, so there is no shortage of
variety. Some of the more popular brands are
Steinlaer, Speights, Lion Red, Monteiths, Export
Gold, Macs, Tui, NZ Lager, and Macs Gold. The
choices will really boggle the mind.
In 1999, New Zealand’s legal age for drinking was lowered
from 20 to 18, but now, according to the New Zealand Herald,
lawmakers are seriously considering bringing it up again to
its original limit which is 20.
A progressive Parliament member, Matt Robson was a key
supporter of the law which was passed in 1999. Today, he is
a leading supporter of the fight for the reversal of the
law. It has been discovered that since allowing 18 year-olds
drinking rights, the consequences of teenage drinking have
come to plague New Zealand such as rising incidents of
admissions in hospitals due to drinking and problems in
A recent surveys shows that the majority of the
citizens of New Zealand support restoring the age
limit to 20.
According to a New Zealand data based study, when
the legal drinking age was lowered, car crashes
among the youth increased. In 1999, the legal age
for drinking was lowered from 20 years old to 18
years old. The study showed that compared to four
years prior to the lowering of the drinking age, the
number of traffic crashes and vehicular related
injuries increased by as much as twelve percent for
males 18 to 19 years old and fourteen percent for
males 15 to 17 years old.
In the same study, for females 18 to 19 years old the
incidents rose by as much as fifty one percent and a twenty
four percent increase for those 15 to 17 years old. It is
estimated in the study that approximately four hundred
serious injuries and twelve fatalities annually among 15 to
19 year olds could be avoided if the legal drinking age in
New Zealand were increased.
One of the authors of the study, Robert B. Voas,
claims that there is no better policy for safe
traffic with more evidence of its efficacy than
legal age drinking laws. Traffic related crashes
committed by young drivers were decreasing in New
Zealand when the State decided to lower the minimum
age for drinking. After its decrease, the total road
toll for young drivers rose radically.
According to Voas, the most dramatic was the trickle
down effect that was witnessed in 15 to 17 year
olds. It was clear that these teenagers were getting
alcohol from their older acquaintances.
Particular attention to this study should be taken by those
in the US who are pushing for the lowering of their present
legal drinking age. Today, 5 US States have pending
legislation to lower their current legal age for drinking
which is 21.