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Is a 24/7 liquor ban the best option?

Downtown Community Ministry


26 March 2008

Is a 24/7 liquor ban the best option?

Council’s preferred option on a central city liquor ban falls short as an effective response to disorderly behaviour and crime in the inner city, says Downtown Community Ministry Director Stephanie McIntyre.

“We fail to see how a complete ban on public drinking in the city will deliver the result the Council is seeking.

“We are told that those who breach the liquor ban will be arrested and put on remand. Bail conditions may prevent them entering the CBD until sentencing at which time they will receive a fine or community service and will be free to return to Cuba Mall and in all likelihood re offend.

“In this scenario, Wellington’s well known street drinkers will rake up thousands of dollars of fines to add to the large court debts they already have and but are making little inroad into paying off.

The proposed bylaw will not fundamentally change the anti social behaviour that is at the heart of this issue.

“What’s being proposed in this bylaw appears to look solely at the behaviours, few of us want on our city streets, but says little in regard to addressing what causes them.”

She does, however, sympathise with those affected by unsocial behaviours seen in the city and agrees that Police may need further power to address them.

“No one should have to put up with being abused or intimidated by intoxicated drunks or see half naked men sprawled out on the street. But a liquor ban is unfortunately not going to stop this either.”

Research shows that while most people feel safer after the implementation of a liquor ban a common finding was that the liquor ban did not decrease crime.


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