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Toolkit To Reduce Alcohol-Related Harm

20 December 2005

Toolkit For Local Government To Reduce Alcohol-Related Harm

The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) has produced a toolkit, in consultation with Local Government New Zealand, to assist local authorities in planning for alcohol in their area.

“New Zealand has a culture of high risk drinking and many communities are experiencing a high level of alcohol-related harm,” says ALAC Chief Executive Officer Dr Mike MacAvoy.

“Local authorities are in an excellent position to influence the culture of drinking and to reduce alcohol-related harm in their communities. Not only are they are responsible for decisions on where licensed premises are located, hours of opening, the issuing of liquor licences, they are also in a unique position to plan for and respond proactively to alcohol-related issues in their community.”

In addition, local authorities have legal obligations towards planning for alcohol in their communities.

The Local Government Act 2002 (LGA 2002) requires local authorities to ‘play a broad role in promoting the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of their communities, taking a sustainable development approach.’

The LGA 2002 together with the Resource Management Act provides local authorities with the mandate to plan proactively for alcohol in the community thereby actively encouraging a culture of moderation and reducing alcohol-related harm in their communities

However, feedback to ALAC and LGNZ suggests many local authorities may not have comprehensive information at their disposal to assist them in completing these tasks.

The toolkit covers planning for alcohol in the community and includes a variety of strategies including:

o Using the district plan process more effectively as a tool to plan for alcohol availability in the community
o Licensing and enforcement
o Approaches to developing youth strategies and
o By-laws and policy frameworks.

It also provides information regarding the cost of alcohol-related harm for communities, particularly those costs related to social disorder.

The ALAC toolkit is the first step towards ensuring that local territorial authorities have tools available to them to respond proactively to local alcohol-related issues at a local level.

The next step in this process is already underway with the development of an alcohol-related violence (ARV) toolbox by the National Taskforce for the Reduction of Community Violence. This National Taskforce consists of representatives from a variety of agencies and is led by Local Government New Zealand and the Crime Prevention Unit. The ARV web-based toolbox will complement ALAC’s toolkit by providing practical examples of best/good regulatory practice, enforcement and monitoring tools that can be used by local territorial authorities to respond to alcohol-related violence in their communities.

The toolkit is available from the ALAC website www.alac.org.nz or freephone 0508-258-258

ENDS

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