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Focus On Drunks Welcomed

19 October 2004

Focus On Drunks Welcomed

The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) is welcoming the Wellington police’s crackdown on licensed premises serving drunks.

The police announced today a six-month crackdown with a special liquor-policing unit focusing on serving practices in problem premises.

ALAC Group Manager Population Strategies Sandra Kirby congratulated the police for the initiative.

“The law says intoxicated people cannot be on licensed premises but we all know it happens,” she says. “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,” she says. “We believe there will be an improvement in New Zealand's harmful drinking patterns when New Zealand changes its culture of binge drinking.

"Bar and licensed restaurant owners, managers and staff who have a legal obligation not to serve intoxicated people can help achieve this cultural change and improve the quality of life for all New Zealanders."

Mrs Kirby said ALAC had just produced a booklet for front line bar staff outlining their obligations and responsibilities when faced with serving an intoxicated person. Bar staff are required by law to prevent anyone becoming intoxicated; to refuse service to intoxicated people; and ensure intoxicated people leave the premises.

Breaking the laws around serving alcohol could see bar staff fined up to $2000; the manager up to $10,000; the licensee up to $10,000; and the bar could be closed for up to seven days.


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