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Alcohol Impairment Education Programme launched in Upper Hut

"Alcohol Impairment Education Programme launched in Upper Hutt"

A multi-agency programme aimed at preventing people driving while under the influence of alcohol was launched in Upper Hutt last Wednesday 17 February.

Aiming to improve road users’ attitudes and behaviours, the Alcohol Impairment Education Programme (AIEP) at O’Rongomai Marae was opened by Upper Hutt Mayor, Wayne Guppy, and is a joint initiative of Wellington District Police and the Community Corrections Marae programme.

Based on a successful Bay of Plenty model, 22 people from around the Wellington district who are currently completing community probation service hours volunteered to attend the day long programme. Attendees are taught a range of techniques to avoid making poor decisions while intoxicated.

One participant, a 50 year old male recidivist drunk driver said, “we were apprehensive about sitting on the Marae with a bunch of Police and Probation officers but were told they are here to help not judge us.

Initially it was hard but I quickly became relaxed and got use to sitting amongst them.

I support more of this stuff for everyone”.

Wellington Police Maori Responsiveness Manager, Inspector Tracey Thompson, said some content is hard hitting but mostly focus on education and prevention.

“Attendees are given a reality check about the ripple effect and the impact a serious vehicle crash brings upon families and community.

The programme shows them how they can make subtle but effective changes in their lives to stop drink driving”.

Peter Mellars, an independent counsellor, said recidivist drunk drivers make bad or irrational decisions while under the influence of alcohol.

“We tell them they must always have a safe plan before they decide to drink. The consequences of the decisions these people make while drinking can be fatal”.

Wellington Police Iwi Liaison Officer Te Roera Puna said Police are working in partnership with Community Corrections Upper Hutt, Maori and other associated agencies to deliver more of this type of Marae based programme over the next three years.

The programme is available to recidivist drink drivers from all ethnicities wanting to make a positive change in their lives.


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