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Council considers alcohol-free areas

MEDIA RELEASE

February 22, 2002


Council considers alcohol-free areas

The Auckland City Council is looking at ways to control the drinking of alcohol on Queen Street in an effort to address issues relating to youth and drinking in public.

The council¡¦s new Law and Order Committee has made several recommendations on the subject of alcohol and will work closely with the police and Safer Auckland City (SAC), an Auckland City Community Planning initiative.

The chairperson of the Law and Order Committee, Noelene Raffills, says the committee will look at the process of designating new alcohol-free areas.

In order to do this the council will soon begin the ¡§special order process¡¨ which will give it the ability to implement alcohol-free areas.

Cr Raffills says, ¡§We certainly don¡¦t want to deny people¡¦s rights to have a bottle of wine with a picnic in a park ¡V all we¡¦re trying to do is make Auckland city a safer place for law-abiding citizens.¡¨

The committee also received a report on the impact of lowering the drinking age. Among its findings were:

ć more people between the ages of 14 and 17 are thought to be drinking;
ƒá the drinking patterns of young people are of concern ¡V anecdotal evidence is that people as young as 13 are drinking on streets outside night clubs and venues that sell alcohol;
ć the levels of alcohol being consumed by underage drinkers has increased;
ć there are inadequate requests for identification by bars, cafes and sports clubs;
ć Auckland Hospital reports a significant increase in the number of teenagers treated for intoxication at its emergency unit since the lowering of the drinking age. A study found the number of 18 and 19 year olds suffering the effects of alcohol increased by 50 per cent in the first 12 months.

In 1999 the Sale of Liquor Act 1989 was amended to allow the sale of liquor to people 18 years and older (it was previously 20 and over).

Cr Raffills says, ¡§We¡¦re concerned that there is more disorderly behaviour in young people who have been drinking, but we¡¦re also aware that youth bring vibrancy to the city. So we¡¦re investigating ways to address these issues and we¡¦re confident we can make Auckland a safer place for everyone.¡¨


ENDS

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