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Keep Safe This Christmas

Keep Safe This Christmas

13 DECEMBER 2006

The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) is urging New Zealanders to think consequences as they celebrate over the Christmas and the holiday period.

“As we enter the party season, it is timely to think of the consequences for us as individuals, families, communities and the country as a whole when taking the festive drinking too far,” says ALAC acting Chief Executive Officer Sandra Kirby.

“The greatest problems occur when people get drunk. It’s then that the accidents, fights, problems with relationships and domestic violence occur. It’s also the little things that affect families such as being too hungover to participate in family events, arguments because you’re not feeling great. These are all problems resulting from intoxication."

Ms Kirby says employers hosting staff parties should set their expectations in advance. “Say that you won’t be impressed by drunken behaviour. Be up-front and tell them drink driving isn’t your only worry – you don’t want any accidents or embarrassing episodes.

“As the employer you’re the host. You should implement host responsibility provisions and ensure the function doesn’t get out of hand. Really watch out for the younger staff, particularly those under 18, and check how the law applies if you’re the host or taking them out to a licensed premise.

“Don’t keep serving people who are getting intoxicated. Brief your waiters if it’s an in-house party. If it’s on a licensed premise, it shouldn’t happen anyway because it’s illegal to serve people who are intoxicated. Arrange for taxis to take people home. And model good behaviour yourself.”

Ms Kirby says if you are hosting a party at home be responsible. “Get loads of substantial food rolling early on in the evening.

“Serve more interesting non-alcoholic drinks than just orange juice. It’s surprising how people will really enjoy something like a grapefruit and tonic with chunks of mint in it for a change.”

If you are hosting a party for young people, especially for those aged under 18, make sure you supervise the party carefully. While it is legal to supply alcohol to young people at private parties, this places a tremendous responsibility on adults to ensure the young people are kept safe.

“Christmas is a time for celebration – not a time for regrets over parties or events that have got out of control and resulted in accidents, family break-ups or, even more tragically, death.”


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