The drinking age in New Zealand should be raised to 21.
The drinking age in New Zealand should be raised to 21. By raising the drinking age, students will more likely stay in school and concentrate on studying, enabling them a better future. It will also reduce the number of young alcohol consumers, and therefore, future adult alcoholics. Unwanted teenage pregnancies are becoming common and this can be attributed to drunkenness. However, by raising the drinking age, some teenagers might actually be encouraged to drink more, just to challenge the law.
The drinking age should be raised to 21 so that students in college can focus on school and academic studies, rather than be distracted by alcohol. The current legal age for purchasing and drinking alcohol in clubs in New Zealand is 18 years of age. This is also the age most seventh form students are in college, thus enabling these students to purchase and consume alcohol. It is very likely that these 18 year olds have friends who are younger, and due to the fact that alcohol is usually consumed in social events by teenagers, a large amount of time can be wasted partying and drinking, in preference to completing assignments. Also, the effects of alcohol can last until the next day so students may not be able to attend classes, or concentrate during school, thus making them fall behind in their work. Therefore, the current drinking age is not only detrimental to18 year-olds studies, but also to younger students. Teenagers should be focused on their schoolwork so that they will be able to pass exams and enter university to get a better future. By raising the drinking age to 21, it will be harder for students in college to come into possession of alcohol, and therefore ensure that they study without the distraction of alcohol.
Raising the drinking age from 18 to 21 will reduce the number of young drinkers, and potentially, future adult alcoholics. Young teenagers are introduced to alcohol earlier through friends at the same school who are older and are able to purchase alcohol. Young people are less likely to consider their future and have a weaker sense of responsibility. They are also more easily influenced by friends to look ‘cool’, or to fit in with a group. According to ALAC, over 40% of New Zealand teenagers under the age of 17 binge drink with intentions of getting drunk, and obviously, without consideration for mental and physical consequences. This clearly shows that teenagers are more likely to drink to the excess with no consideration for long-term consequences. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to mental dependence so the drinker will feel as if they require alcohol to be normal, turning them into adult alcoholics who are a danger to both society and themselves. By raising the drinking age from 18 to 21, young teenagers will no longer be able to access alcohol because it is unlikely that they have close friends who are 21 or over. This will mean that by the time teenagers are introduced to alcohol, they are young adults so they are more sensible and have better control over themselves when making decisions to do with alcohol. This can potentially reduce the number of adult alcoholics in New Zealand in the future.
New Zealand has the second highest number of teenage pregnancies in OECD countries, and according to a World Health Organisation academic, “reckless alcohol consumption” was the main reason for unwanted teenage pregnancies. By raising the drinking age from 18 to 21, fewer teenagers (14-17) will be able to access and consume alcohol, therefore also reducing the possibility of drunken sexual encounters in teenagers. Studies have shown that children born to teenage mothers have a higher risk of health problems, behavioural difficulties and academic underachievement. The teenage mothers are likely not to complete schooling and therefore be disadvantaged socially and economically. They will then be forced to depend on the government for welfare and benefits to survive. Therefore, by reducing the number of unwanted teenage pregnancies, there will be fewer teenage mothers, and this is beneficial for not only the mother and her child, but also the government.
However, if the drinking age was increased to 21, some teenager rebels might deliberately choose to consume more alcohol to challenge the law. Some people may find breaking laws thrilling, which may explain why people commit crimes such as arson, graffiti and property damage. Also, some young people may find doing bad things ‘cool’, thus being more encouraged to drink. Some people enjoy the feeling of getting drunk, as it can make them feel good. This may begin illegal alcohol trades so that teenagers who cannot legally purchase alcohol can still access it to get drunk. However, despite these rebels, the majority of people will not deliberately break the law so by raising the drinking age, there will be a positive outcome as a result.
The drinking age in New Zealand should be raised from 18 to 21. This will encourage students to concentrate on their academic studies, as well as reduce the number of unwanted teenage pregnancies due to drunkenness. It will also reduce the number of young people who binge drink, thus potentially reducing the number of adult alcoholics in the future. A minority of the teenage population may deliberately challenge to law, but the majority will abide by the law so it is worthwhile to raise the drinking age to 21 to benefit the society.