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Outlet Density And Alcohol Harm

Outlet Density And Alcohol Harm


7 AUGUST 2013

New research looking at the impact of liquor outlets on communities across the North Island is now available to assist North Island councils in developing their Local Alcohol Policies (LAPs).

The research was commissioned by the Health Promotion Agency (HPA, which has taken over the functions of the former Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand (ALAC), and carried out by the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis at the University of Waikato (NIDEA). This project expands and extends earlier research undertaken in Manukau on alcohol outlet density. The new research covers a larger geographic area and a longer timeframe, providing better understanding of issues that are specific to different areas.

The research considers five categories of licences - clubs, bars and night clubs, other on-licences, supermarkets and grocery stores, and other off-licences. It also examines a number of social harms - police-reported motor vehicle crashes, and police events divided into antisocial behaviour offences, dishonesty offences, property abuses, property damage, sexual offences and violent offences (including family violence).

The main finding of the report is that the relationships between alcohol outlet density and social harms (specifically violence and motor vehicle crashes) are context sensitive and they vary by geographic location throughout the North Island and by outlet type.

Researcher Dr Michael Cameron said the research clearly shows that it would be problematic and probably incorrect to assume that the relationship between outlet density (of any type) and social harm is the same in all local areas.

The same outlet density may be unrelated to measures of alcohol-related harms in some areas while related in others. In addition, the relationship may be positive or negative, he said.

“The results may help to explain the wide variety of results obtained in previous ecological studies, both in New Zealand and elsewhere.”

Overall, the report states the most substantial positive relationships with violent offences were observed for bar and nightclub density, and supermarket and grocery store density. Other on-licence density and licensed club density also had significant positive relationships with violent offences, while other off-licence density had a marginally significant negative relationship with violent offences.

The report presented two cases studies. The first looked at the relationship between the different outlet densities and violent offences; the second at the relationship between the different outlet densities and motor vehicle accidents.

For example in South Auckland, particularly in the suburbs of East Tamaki, Otara and Otahuhu, an additional licensed club was associated with more than four additional violent offences per year. There was a second area of large positive relationships in West Auckland (between the suburbs of Glen Eden and Avondale). However, in central Auckland an additional licensed club was associated with fewer violent offences per year.

In Wellington in the central city and extending to the west coast an additional licensed club was associated with more than four additional violent offences per year. The surrounding suburbs also had large parameter estimates, including Petone, Eastbourne and western and southern Porirua city. However, the relationship between licensed club density and violent offences was not generally statistically significant in the Hutt Valley.

Health Promotion Agency General Manager Policy, Research and Advice Dr Andrew Hearn said the research would be of particular interest to territorial authorities as they are currently developing Local Alcohol Policies (LAPs) under the new Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.

The Act allows territorial authorities to develop LAPs that will increase the ability of communities to have a say on local alcohol licensing matters and allow local-level decision making for all licence applications. Territorial authorities are not required to develop a LAP but if they do they can either develop their own one or develop one in conjunction with one or several other territorial authorities.

The LAPs can restrict or extend trading hours of licensed premises, limit location and density of licences, and impose one-way door policies and conditions on licensed premises

The research endorses the need for local variation to meet local conditions through LAPs.


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