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Mayors’ unite for teen safety

From: 21 May 2007
Christchurch City Council media release

Mayors’ unite for teen safety

New Zealand mayors are taking a stand to address problems facing young people in the wake of the Edgeware Road tragedy in Christchurch and others throughout the country this month.

Around 20 members of the Mayors Taskforce met in Christchurch today to identify the problems and come up with solutions to make their communities safer.

Mayors’ Taskforce chairman Paul Matheson says he and Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore decided to get the country’s mayors together at the first opportunity following recent tragedies involving young people.

“Local authorities can make a difference on the issues we discussed today. Central Government does stand up and take notice when 99 per cent of the country’s mayors say they want action,” Mr Matheson says.

“All of us were unanimous in our desire that today we wanted to come up with ideas that would make a difference and move us forward.”

The mayors have called for:

* Government to conduct an urgent review of New Zealand’s liquor laws including 24-hour opening and advertising. At yesterday’s meeting there was widespread criticism of New Zealand’s drinking culture

* An alcohol ban in unlicensed public places 24 hours a day, seven days a week

* The need for society to balance the rights and responsibilities for parents and also young people

* Mayors to empower and affirm positive parenting, rights and responsibilities

* A comprehensive review of licensing/purchase and financing terms for high-performance cars for drivers aged under 20 years.

* Local Government /mayors to take a civic leadership role to explore/initiate opportunities to enhance youth development into adulthood.

Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore says in New Zealand at present there is an emphasis on everyone’s rights, but not so much about responsibilities.

“ Police are working with us to address these issues which range from young people getting access to too powerful cars at too young an age to our booze culture. As mayors we are standing tall and saying that the current climate of emphasis on rights needs to be balanced properly with an emphasis on responsibility,” Mr Moore says.

“In all of our communities we need to put respect back into the village mix. It might sound old-fashioned, but who said everything old fashioned was wrong.”

Former head of Christchurch Women’s Prison Celia Lashlie and former All Black Norm Hewitt attended today’s meeting. Both will speak at a public meeting in Christchurch tonight, Keeping Our Teens Safe, organised by the Garry Moore and the Mayoress Pam Sharpe.


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