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Focus On Liquor Licensing Laws Welcomed

Focus On Liquor Licensing Laws Welcomed

7 December 2004

The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) is welcoming police statements that holiday enforcement will focus not only on drink driving blitzes but also on liquor licensing laws.

Over the weekend police in Auckland kicked off Campaign Manhattan, named after a potent cocktail, with road checkpoints reinforced by visits to bars and nightclubs to enforce liquor licensing laws.

The Auckland move follows an earlier announcement from Wellington police of a crackdown on licensed premises with a special liquor-policing unit focusing on serving practices in problem premises.

ALAC Chief Executive Officer Dr Mike MacAvoy says drink driving is just one of the harms resulting from alcohol misuse.

The 2003/2004 crime statistics released earlier this year showed a 38 percent drop in breaches of the Sale of Liquor Act. That compared with an increase of nearly 80 percent in breaches of the Act the year before.

“Behaviour does not seem to have improved so that would suggest we need a re-emphasis on our liquor licensing laws,” he says.

“The link between alcohol misuse and offending is particularly strong,” he says. “Internationally, alcohol is associated with between 50 and 70 percent of all police work – be it dealing with street fights, criminal damage, family violence, drink-driving, or simply having to take drunk people home or putting them into custody for their own protection.

“If we can prevent the intoxication in the first place, there would be no need to spend all those policing hours picking up the pieces from those who drink beyond intoxication. The law says intoxicated people cannot be served on licensed premises but we all know it happens. Without consistent enforcement of the law, there is no chance of either the public or the licensees recognising the behaviour as dangerous.

“A strong consistent approach to enforcement of the law and prosecution for breaches, along with appropriate penalties, combined with a change in attitude on how New Zealanders view excessive alcohol consumption, would help to reduce alcohol-related harm for all New Zealanders,” he says.

ENDS

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