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Alcohol injuries a focus of injury prevention

9 September 2008 Media Statement

Alcohol injuries a focus of latest injury prevention plan

Increasing awareness of the link between alcohol and injury and the need for greater safety in the home are key priorities of the third New Zealand Injury Prevention Strategy Implementation Plan, says ACC Minister Maryan Street.

Details of the plan, outlining the country’s key injury prevention activities for 2008-2011, were released by Maryan Street today.

“The plan will move New Zealand closer to achieving the vision and goals of the strategy originally released in 2003 by building on previous plans to create: a safe New Zealand becoming injury free; a safety culture; and safe environments.

“The activity outlined in the plan relates to the strategy’s ten key objectives and aims to improve outcomes on three main fronts: addressing serious injury; quickly translating emerging evidence into action; and achieving cultural change.

“The plan includes steps to strengthen activity around the impact that alcohol has on injury. Recent evidence shows that alcohol plays a significant role in falls, motor vehicle accidents, drownings and assaults. These are four of the six `injury priority areas’ which account for 80 per cent of all deaths and serious injury in New Zealand,” says Maryan Street.

“Research released in 2005 found that 51 per cent of alcohol-related deaths were due to injury. Other research indicates the total cost of alcohol-related harm in New Zealand is over $2 billion a year, excluding mortality costs.

“Ministry of Transport figures for the year ending 2006 reveal alcohol and drugs were a contributing factor in 99 fatal traffic crashes, 409 serious injury crashes and 1128 minor injury crashes. The social cost of those crashes was estimated at about $725 million.

“The continual increase of accidents in the home is another focus of the strategy and was the subject of NZ Safety Week earlier this month,” Maryan Street said.

“One in seven New Zealanders is injured in the home and these injuries cost a huge $377 million last year alone. The most recent findings showed that while 55% of New Zealanders know there is a risk of injury at home, only 15% think it could happen to them.

“A further goal outlined in the plan is to strengthen community safety and injury prevention through the accreditation of 18 New Zealand cities as International Safe Communities by 2011. With Porirua City achieving International Safe Community status in August there are currently eight in New Zealand.

“We will reach that goal through better urban design, better road user behaviour, more anti-violence messages and greater injury prevention awareness .

“The injury prevention strategy is a whole of government one. Achieving a reduction in injuries must be a key priority for all of New Zealand. It’s great to see so many government agencies and non-government organisations taking responsibility for a variety of projects in the latest plan.”

“In addition to a variety of new projects, work such as the New Zealand Injury Prevention Database will continue as part of the plan. The database now has more than 500 entries of injury prevention initiatives being delivered around the country,” Maryan Street said.

The full NZIPS Implementation Plan for 2008-2011 is available at


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