Legislation introducing the change to a split drinking age will be one step closer after it is tabled in Parliament next week, Justice Minister Simon Power says.

The changes, part of the Government's response to a review by the Law Commission into the harm caused by alcohol, included splitting the alcohol purchasing age to 18 for bars and clubs and 20 for off-licence purchases, limiting the alcohol content of RTDs, banning particularly harmful products and reducing opening hours.

In a speech in Auckland this morning, Mr Power said legislation would be tabled in Parliament next week and would have its first reading before Christmas. It would then spend six months before a select committee for public consultation.

"As I have said this bill is Parliament's starting point for alcohol reform - not the end point," Mr Power said.

He said alcohol was a lubricant for crime. It was implicated in 34 percent of reported family violence offences and 50 percent of all homicides.

The pendulum had swung too far towards the relaxation of alcohol laws and young people suffered disproportionately, Mr Power said.

"I recognise that alcohol's tentacles reach further than that - it impacts on our workplace productivity, our injury rate, our road toll and our general health."

His comments come as National continues to resist calls to lower the drink driving limit from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

Transport Minister Stephen Joyce is refusing to introduce the lower limit in new road safety legislation, opting instead for a two year research project on drivers who have accidents while reading between 50 and 100mg of blood alcohol.

That decision has come under fire in the Herald-led Two Drinks Max campaign.

Nearly 7000 people have signed up to the campaign since its launch on October 24.

More than 30,000 voted in a poll on their personal drink driving limit, with 78 saying they would not drive after more than two drinks.

- NZPA, Herald Online