Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Society at a loss to explain binge drinking problems

Society at a loss to explain binge drinking problems, UC expert says

November 14, 2012

Government, regulators, parents and welfare agencies in New Zealand are at a loss to explain, let alone control or discourage teen and young adult binge drinking problems, a University of Canterbury (UC) lecturer said today.

A health report released at a conference in Auckland yesterday showed that secondary schoolgirls were bigger binge drinkers than schoolboys.

The report said the percentage of females aged 16 and 17 binge-drinking on a typical night out tripled from nine to 28 per cent between 1995 and 2011. For males the same age, the percentage increased from 19 to 25 per cent.

Binge-drinking has dropped among 18 and 19-year-old males from 30 to 29 per cent. However, for the same age group of females, the proportion of binge-drinkers increased from four to 16 per cent.

UC Associate Professor Patrick McAllister said even though people of all ages were aware of the health and social problems associated with binge drinking, it continues.

``Why is this? I believe that it has to do with a number of factors that can be described as cultural values and practices that have become habitual and part of the way in which young people are expected or even encouraged to behave.

``One cannot separate binge drinking from the wider practice of drinking alcohol in New Zealand, which is generally socially approved and which is part of the culture of New Zealanders generally.

``Have a look at the frequency with which alcohol consumption crops up on TV, for example. Look around at what is the expected presence of alcohol at important events, from prestigious horse races, to weddings, birthday parties, barbecues, dinner parties, after-work get-togethers and celebrations of all kinds like Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

``Have a look at the ubiquitous presence of liquor stores and the generous opening hours that they are allowed. Does that not tell you something about the importance of alcohol in our society?’’

There was no disputing that alcohol had a strong presence in many aspects of NZ society and that it was highly valued as a product. So what did this have to do with teenage binge drinking?

Young people were in the process of being socialised into the habits and customs of their society, and a large part of this process was by imitation. The better they could imitate the qualities that were required the more young people could demonstrate they fitted in. Overindulgence was to be expected, he said.

``In a previous situation that I was involved in overseas, young male students at my university, especially in the commerce faculty, formed drinking clubs. Every Friday they would don suits and ties and meet at a local restaurant or bar, where they proceeded to literally drink each other under that table.

``Why? Because they knew that they were destined for a career in the world of finance and business. And they knew that in this world, many deals were struck around the lunch table, after business lunches that lasted many hours and where it was important to remain on ones toes despite the many glasses of wine consumed.

``They were practising, in their drinking clubs, for their future, imitating what they saw as the realities of the business world. They were not wrong. At the time a stockbroker friend of mind confided the amount that he and his business partner spent on business lunches each month - it was higher than my monthly salary,’’ Associate Professor McAllister said.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news