NZ First MPs “Shocked” At Teen Drinking
Two New Zealand First MPs were shocked and horrified at the amount of teenage drunkenness they saw when they patrolled with police in Christchurch and Auckland last night and early this morning.
The patrols were organised by Senior Whip, Ron Mark, who is trying to convince MPs from all political parties to vote against lowering the drinking age when the liquor legislation goes back before Parliament later this month.
Mr Mark spent the early hours of Sunday morning with police in central Christchurch and he said that most of the people locked up were drunk teenagers.
“They had been picked up for being drunk and disorderly, for fighting, disturbing the peace and the like. These kids were full of alcohol and had absolutely no respect for law and order.
“In one case a bottle was thrown in front of a police car from a central Christchurch flat and when an officer went to the flat to find the culprit he was bad mouthed by the teenage female tenant.”
Ron Mark said that girls as young as fifteen were hanging around the so called “central bar district” and it was obvious that many of them had been drinking.
“In one instance, a teenager tottered across the street to abuse police officers sitting in their car. She did this just because she felt like it.
“Front line police can barely cope with the problems now and they are deeply cynical about the politicians who voted to lower the drinking age, and to make alcohol more freely available.
“If the police stopped to deal with all the obnoxious drunken teenagers they came across they would have no time to deal with other crime. One arrest means three quarters of an hour of paper work and processing.”
Gilbert Myles, who went out with Auckland police, said they faced serious problems with teenage drinking.
“They dealt with a situation of about seventy teenagers drinking on the street in Westhaven. If the police officers had not handled the situation delicately there would have been a riot.
“Overall, there were simply too many to arrest. The police could have been processing drunken teenagers all night.
Gilbert Myles said that in another incident police picked up two fourteen year old boys with an almost empty bottle of vodka at one o’clock in the morning.
He said the police dealt with them by contacting the parents of one of the boys.
“I have nothing but praise for the police for the way they handled the overnight shift. They defused a number of situations that could have got completely out of hand.
“From what I saw, and it was a quiet night according to the police, there is going to be total chaos if teenagers get unlimited access to alcohol.
“Many of these youngsters are good kids but they are heading down the wrong road because of excessive drinking.
“Front line officers told me that they have to deal with incidents some weekends in which several hundred young people are out of control through excessive alcohol use.
“Police are simply not going to be able to cope if the drinking age is lowered. They do not have the staff or facilities to cope with the numbers.”
Ron Mark and Gilbert Myles urged MPs who voted to lower the drinking age to talk to their front line police officers or go out on the streets themselves.
They said that no one would think any less of MPs who changed their minds after checking out the problem on the streets.