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Auckland South Asians Encouraged To Drive Sober

RoadSafe Auckland is a region wide road safety group made up of representatives from Auckland’s seven Territorial Authorities, Regional Council, Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA), NZ Police, Transit New Zealand, ACC, Auckland District Health Board, Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC), Safekids and the Ministry of Health.

Competition encourages Auckland South Asians to Drive Sober

31st August 2002.

A unique first-time campaign promoting a sober driving message to two of the Auckland regions South Asian ( Indian & Tamil ) communities kicks off this month. Brochures including two Indian languages – Hindi and Tamil along with English - will be distributed through regional South Asian businesses and two Auckland-based South Asian radio stations will be key players in getting the message across.

A prize of a free airfare to Fiji, Sydney or Melbourne which is up for grabs during the campaign will be another way of enticing people to make sure they read and understand the key points of the sober driving message.

The campaign will draw attention to the risks of drink driving on safety and legal (including immigration) issues, and will include hints on how to promote host responsibility. It will also highlight some of the negative consequences that can result from misuse of alcohol, such as violence and its effect on the family.

Planning for the campaign has involved members of RoadSafe Auckland, Alcohol Advisory Council, South Asian businesses, communities and networks, Auckland-based South Asian media, and Regional Alcohol and Drug Services. A confidential free-phone Alcohol Helpline number 0800 787 797 has been highlighted in the resources and will direct people to their local Community Alcohol & Drug Services for assistance.

The target group are male drink drivers, aged from youth to middle age and who are Fiji-Indian, Tamil or Hindi speakers. Brochures will be distributed through South Asian food outlets, video hire outlets, nightclubs and community gatherings. Radio Tarana and Radio Themadura Tamil Osai will broadcast advertisements during the campaign period, as well as featuring a half-hour discussion session on alcohol-related issues each week.

The project team for the campaign includes Auckland Regional Road Safety Coordinator Andrew Bell, Raymond Selvaraj from Regional Alcohol and Drug Services, Sergeant Rajesh Jattan, South Asia Liaison Officer New Zealand Police and Ron Tustin, ALAC’s Manager Northern Region.

Andrew Bell says South Asian drink drivers are only a small percentage of all drink drivers in the region but they are increasing relative to their own population.
Alcohol and drug agencies in the Auckland region have also reported an increase in the number of South Asian clients presenting for alcohol - related drinking charges and treatment. Raymond Selvaraj, a South Asian health professional who works with these clients suggests that the South Asian community – many of whom are new immigrants – were less aware of safe levels of drinking. They were also less aware of the services available for the treatment of alcohol or drug related problems.

Laws and enforcement regarding the use of alcohol, including drink-driving, are different in New Zealand as compared to South Asian countries. This campaign aims to raise awareness of both the legal and social issues of alcohol use amongst the Auckland regions’ growing South Asian population.

A drink-drive survey taken before and at the end of the campaign will be one of the means used to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign.

- The South Asian ( India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal ) and Fiji Indian population has grown in the Auckland region from 49,713 in 1996 to 71,589 in 2001 (NZ Census data).

- An annual Drink-Drive survey carried out by Alcohol Healthwatch across the Auckland region listed 133 Indian-origin drivers caught above the legal breath alcohol limit in 2001 (LDS Survey data).

The media are welcome to attend the launch at the Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall, 13 May Road, Mt Roskill on Saturday 31st August, 2002 from 10:30am to 12 noon including a light vegetarian/Halal lunch.


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