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‘Irresponsible And Out Of Touch’: UberEats Joins Growing Number Of ‘Alcohol On Demand’ Delivery Services

In an announcement made this week, from Tuesday 23rd March, Aucklanders will be able to order alcohol on demand using the new feature on the UberEats app, with Christchurch and Wellington to follow in the coming weeks. With alcohol outlet density a major issue, this service makes it even easier for our whānau and communities to access alcohol.

Māori public health organisation Hāpai Te Hauora have criticised the move, saying that this is a clear demonstration of the need for legislative change.Hāpai Te Hauora CEO, Selah Hart says, "We see this move as totally irresponsible and out of touch from the realities of alcohol harm. But what is more telling, is the invisibility of any protections in place, for minors, for communities, and ultimately to protect New Zealander’s from alcohol harm."Businesses like UberEats are evolving with the times. In a world where convenience is paramount to the consumer, UberEats have found another way to capitalise on modern ‘on-demand’ culture. Ultimately we need our legislation and policy to be reflective of our ever changing world. The most recent Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act is from 2012 and it is fair to say that this is no longer fit for purpose. Change is long overdue and needed right now", says Hart.

Hāpai are concerned about the increase in alcohol harm that may arise from a proliferation in delivery services, and see this as another mechanism to sell alcohol harm to communities. Hāpai Te Hauora GM Māori Public Health, Janell Dymus-Kurei says, "These ‘alcohol on demand’ services are literally pedalling alcohol into the homes of our whānau, and there is no telling the kind of harm that providing additional opportunities for whānau to access alcohol may cause. It is already too easy for whānau to access alcohol, given the density of alcohol outlets in our communities. In addition to alcohol outlets being highly concentrated in areas where our whānau learn, live, play and work, whānau have to also contend with the tide of alcohol marketing and the normalisation of alcohol in our communities, particularly its insidious relationship with sporting culture and the sporting industry"

Dani Griffioen, Health Coordinator and community worker at Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua says "Given the high rates of alcohol-related harm experienced in Aotearoa NZ, this move is totally irresponsible and out of touch with what we are hearing from our whānau and communities, who are fed up with the barrage of liquor outlets in their communities. It is already too easy for whānau to access alcohol, given the density of alcohol outlets in our communities. Asking our Uber delivery drivers to monitor and refuse the sale of alcohol to underage or over-intoxicated whānau when they arrive to deliver is not only not sensible, it has the potential to be dangerous and fatal."

Alcohol delivery services and now on-demand alcohol delivery services have grown in number in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. With over 30 local bottle shops to choose from though the app, it’s never been easier to access alcohol. Alcohol deliveries will be available between 10am- 10.30pm and bottle shops may have their own delivery times within this time frame.

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