A follow-up pseudo-patron survey spanning the Auckland Region has once again shown that it is far too easy for young people to buy alcohol without needing to provide proof of age.

A sample of off-licensed premises in the Auckland Region were visited by 18 year old ‘pseudo patrons’ who attempted to purchase alcohol without ID, in a survey conducted recently by the Centre for Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation (SHORE) at Massey University. This survey is part of a regional alcohol project aimed at addressing youth drinking issues.

Results show that nearly 50% of attempts to purchase without ID were successful. Rebecca Williams, Director of Alcohol Healthwatch says that while this is an improvement from a similar survey last year, when 61% of purchases were successful, it is still too easy for young people to access alcohol from off-licences. She says the results show that improvement is possible and challenges off-licence premise owners and managers to get their act together to do more to reduce underage drinking. She notes that the alcohol and hospitality industries were strong supporters of lowering the minimum purchase age to 18 years in 1999 and at that time promised to ensure a “hard 18” culture. She says that the results of the survey clearly show that this is not the case and that a large number of off-licences are not taking their responsibilities to prevent sales to minors seriously.

Young people access alcohol in a number of ways and most are very difficult to monitor and enforce. However, access from licensed premises is covered by the Sale of Liquor Act and licensees need to have rigorous practices in place to verify age of the purchaser in order to prevent sales to minors. Rebecca Williams says a lot of premises are now checking ID for all those lucky enough to look under 25 years and this practice is to be encouraged. However, the law needs to make age verification mandatory.

The full results of the survey are available now.
For further information contact
Alcohol Healthwatch
Rebecca Williams
09-520 7035 or 021 862 250