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Anderton supports proposed drink ban

14 August 2003 Media release

Anderton supports proposed drink ban


Jim Anderton said the proposed bylaw being considered by the Wellington City Council to ban drinking, possession and bringing of alcohol in public places between 5pm and 6am on Friday and Saturday nights in the Wellington Central area in Wellington is in accord with the harm minimization message in the National Drug Policy and urged councilors to take this into account when considering the proposal.

I understand the fear that there may be overzealous enforcement but when children as young as nine are being found drunk in the capital’s streets late at night, putting themselves at great risk, then you just have to get serious to keep them safe.

I can say, as Chair of the Ministerial Committee on Drug Policy, that the committee is very aware of the growing problem of young binge drinkers in this country. The Ministry of Justice report Some Statistics on Possible Effects of Lowering the Drinking Age noted that anecdotal evidence from Police of more intoxicated young people on the streets was supported by figures, although the jury was still out on whether this was directly connected to the lowering of the drinking age he said.

My personal opinion is that there is a connection but I want to be persuaded by evidence and a full report is due next year.

In the meantime the Committee is acting. We made “light spirits” (such as 23% whiskey, vodka, and gin) more expensive as teenagers are less likely to buy expensive alcohol. We support and encourage community campaigns like “Think Before your Buy under 18’s drink” and are looking at other responsible drinking initiatives.

The fact that under 18s are still able to purchase liquor without ID just has to stop and we support the series of police “stings” or controlled purchase operations particularly targeting off licenses including supermarkets to give a very loud wake up call not to sell alcohol to under 18 year olds.

“Supermarkets appear to have got the message in Auckland when you look at the latest “Pseudo Patron’s Project” but other outlets have not, and the pressure must be kept on because school kids are being affected. Just this week I announced more funding for WellTrust an organization, which works with courts and schools to provide alcohol, and drug treatment services in Wellington. They needed money because they are getting more and more referrals every day and if they folded no one was there to fill the gap they would have left,” Jim Anderton said

“The Labour Progressive Government is determined to protect New Zealanders especially young New Zealanders from the effects of drug and alcohol abuse,” Jim Anderton said.

“The Ministerial Action Group on Alcohol and Drugs has a list of over 30 items they are considering in order to address drug and alcohol abuse but needed the concerted effort of local government, communities and the general public to make a real difference,” he said.

The Ministerial Action Group on Alcohol and Drugs is responsible for the Government’s campaign to minimize harm caused by alcohol and illicit drug use. The plan will focus on reducing demand, controlling supply and limiting problems associated with alcohol and drug use. The Group includes Associate Health Minister, Jim Anderton; Justice Minister, Phil Goff; Education Associate Minister, Lianne Dalziel; Police Minister, George Hawkins; Youth Affairs Minister, John Tamihere; Customs Minister Rick Barker; and Health Associate Minister Damien O’Connor.


ENDS

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