It has been encouraging to see the other side of the story about alcohol in the media the last day or so. The message has been all doom and gloom from the council and police, and “lets punish the silent majority for the sake of the few idiots out there”.
“The latest Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health by the World Health Organisation has revealed New Zealanders aged 15 and over drank on average 10.9 litres of pure alcohol a head in 2010, up from 9.6l in 2005, and well above the 6.2l global average.”
Global average will include countries where alcohol is not consumed because of religious reasons. Example Muslims don’t drink alcohol, and they make up 23.4% of the world’s population. Therefore saying we are well above the average is just a dumb comparison. Adjust the global average by taking out the 23.4% of the population that doesn’t drink and NZ might actually be below this level.
These included “relentless” alcohol marketing, cheap availability, and a drinking age of 18, Sellman said. “As long as we have about 10 New Zealanders dying every week as a result of drunkenness, we deserve the unhealthy reputation of being a wild-south binge-drinking country.”
How can you have faith in these so-called experts, or believe what they say if it is different from the last time you heard that stat. This is a classic example here. National Addiction Centre director Doug Sellman says 10 people a week die of drunkenness (which is about 520 per year). But Dr Geoff Robinson, Wellington Hospital chief medical officer and drug and alcohol specialist had only said a few days before said there are 1000 alcohol related deaths a year in New Zealand. So which number is it? How can you have a debate, or serious discussion to try to find a solution to a problem if the information you are dealing with keeps changing.
This is a good article with a good angle and shows a group of people who will suffer from the proposed changes to the Local Alcohol Policy (LAP)
“To formulate a correct solution to a problem the correct questions need to be asked. In Auckland’s CBD, these are: why have drunken idiots been allowed to run riot for so long, and why do the Auckland Council’s proposed solutions not address the core issues and instead punish the majority who drink responsibly?”
Why not start with making public drunkenness an offence? The right people will be targeted, and the culture will start to change – one of the key objectives of the legislation, surely.
The police can already write people a ticket for being drunk ($250), so why isn’t this happening?
Police will be able to issue $250 infringement notices to people caught drinking in liquor ban areas – even if they are inside parked cars – and to patrons drunk enough or young enough to be ejected from a bar.
Some facts on the topic of alcohol-related harm in the CBD:
• Since 2001, public disorder offences in the Auckland CBD have declined 60.5 per cent. Assaults have declined 42 per cent. The sky is not falling.
• This decline happened despite a 19 per cent population increase in central Auckland and an Auckland-wide increase of 23.6 per cent from 2001 to 2013.
If there could be an agreed on, set of figures/statistics relating to alcohol, then maybe there could be some agreed on, set of decisions and action points to address the problem areas.
It would be interesting to find out who or what organisation decided on 14 standard drinks as a weekly maximum for a male in New Zealand. What standard drink is that? The world doesn’t even have an agreed standard on what a “standard drink” is.
I have started a page to try to collect the statistics that are quoted in the media to see if there is someway to crack the code, and cut through the propaganda. New Zealand Alcohol Statistics.