ALCOHOL – The Silent Majority

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”.

Pouring Beer OutKiwis not the worst bingers

“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.

Rob Warner: Anti-booze campaign focuses on wrong target

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?”

Exactly.

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.

The problem is…. Alcohol? Police? Statistics? Media? Fear? The Agenda?

I was sent this link from KiwiBlog – David Farrar

Guess there is some influence in the NZ media. Those with the money and power have a certain message to get across, and the following doesn’t fit the agenda. Keep everyone in a state of fear.

2013-05-26 16.23.56An alcohol report that got little publicity

The World Health Organisation has just released its 2014 report on alcohol and health. It seems to have had almost no publicity here – possibly because it doesn’t support the claims of certain groups that NZ  stats are really bad on a world scale. Some extracts you may not see elsewhere:

  • Far from there being a catastrophic rise in alcohol abuse in New Zealand there has been a real reduction in drinking habits in the last 30 years. There was a sharp increase in total alcohol consumption per capita from 1970 through the early 1980s, then a sharp drop from 1985 through the late 1990s, and a slight upward trend since then. So things are not worse than they have ever been…in fact they are a lot better.
  • The amount consumed per drinker, New Zealand ranks around 96th (13.7 litres of pure alcohol per capita).  This ranks us slightly higher than France (at 12.9 litres) and slightly lower than the UK (at 13.8 litres).  So on average, we are a nation of fairly moderate drinkers.
  • We are constantly told that we have a “binge drinking” culture in New Zealand, but our rates of prevalence of heavy episodic drinking (classified as more than 6 standard drinks on at least one occasion in the past 30 days) is actually very low by global standards.  The prevalence rate of heavy drinking for New Zealand was 5.6%.  This is more than half that of Australia (13.6%), more than a quarter that of Canada (23.1%), and more than a sixth that of the United Kingdom (33.4%). So when you hear the claim we have 800,000 hazardous drinkers, it is quite a gross exaggeration (as the scare mongers here use a different definition).

Of course there are problems caused by alcohol abuse in New Zealand, and these should be mitigated if it can be done in a way where the benefits exceed the costs. But the narrative that NZ has an awful drinking problem, and it is much worse than in the past – is not true.

(David sorry to rip off your whole blog post, but I needed people to read it and they possibly wouldn’t click though)

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This article states the following:

New Zealand’s $16b hangover

“Kiwis slurp about 400 million litres of alcohol a year…”

“Mr Brooking says 10 per cent of Kiwi drinkers get through nearly half of all alcohol consumed…”

Therefore – 10% of 4.4 million people is 440,000 people drinking 50% of 400 million litres of alcohol = 200 million litres. So 440,000 people drink 200 million litres of alcohol =  455 litres each per year. Or 1.2 litres per day. (3.6 bottles of 330ml beer).

How is the 400 million litres of beer made up? 320 million of beer plus wine plus spirits? Why cant the media make it clear on the facts they are stating.

But above it says 800,000 hazardous drinkers.

I just wish that we could have the actual facts, not made up numbers, numbers from a survey, or poll someone has done. If we were all working with the same information then maybe we could all work towards a common goal. Using numbers for your end goal and agenda just makes you loss credibility.

NOW READ THIS BLOG POST FROM DOM (HASHIGO ZAKE)

Bringing Back The Fear

“In other words, nothing to see here. Consumption of alcohol over the last thirty to forty years has fallen.”

Dom this was a great blog post. Well researched and very informative.

 

P.S. found the follow two contradicting articles interesting. Crime falls, and police surprised they aren’t getting any more money.

Crime rate falls to 29-year low
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11230189

Police ‘despair’ at freeze
http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/budget-2014/10050638/Police-despair-at-freeze

 

 

 

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NO AGENDA

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PROHIBITION – New Zealand 2020 (it only took 100 years)

WARNING: Random Rant Ahead.

WOW! I just can’t keep up with the walls closing in on alcohol in New Zealand. On every front alcohol is being attacked. Just small little bites, which by themselves the public seem to be accepting or totally unaware of. If you look at the big picture though things are changing fast, and how long before those in control achieve prohibition in New Zealand.

Prohibition 1920’s read this link.

Prohibition 2020’s the story starts here.

What’s happening out there that you should probably be thinking about:

  • Single Bottle Ban – no more single bottle sales (aimed at Craft Beer?) BOOO!
  • Police patrolling in pubs, potentially with video cameras
  • Seven’s and potentially other public events with alcohol bans
  • No more beer festivals?
  • Increased cost for a license
  • Increasing health warnings on labels

Tonight I was given the heads up about the “single bottle ban” which is part of the the impending Auckland Local Alcohol Policy Not sure whats in it but the preferred position paper gives you a rough idea.  

copsThursday 24th April – I had lunch at Vultures, everyone in the place was having lunch. Two police offices walked in, eye balled everyone, one looked at the license on the wall as the other one walked through including downstairs. They then slowly walked outside the door, and spent some time out there. Jarred went out and had a discussion with them. (I should follow-up to see what it was all about) It was done in a slightly intimidating way, for those in the bar.

That evening we had the Fresh Hop beer release event at the Lumsden. Late in the evening two police offices walked in, eye balled every one and looked at the license on the wall and then hung out in the garden bar for a while. Then walked back through the bar. Then they stood outside the door on Khyber Pass, until the manager went out. Again I don’t have the full story and should follow-up. Exactly the same as Vultures on the same day. Was this specifically aimed at Craft Beer Bars?

This is the first time I have ever experienced police walking through a bar in Auckland. And what was it about that day that I experienced it twice.

I understand that police are now allowed to video tap people that they think are intoxicated?

Seven’s liquor ban. I have a whole blog post drafted on this with statistics. Bottom line, this event brings in $18 million to the local Wellington economy, alcohol sales are down 50% over the last 5 years at the stadium. Everyone has a good time. There is a very small percentage of arrests and injuries, which must happen on an average Friday and Saturday night. Will an alcohol ban at the stadium reduce the harm from alcohol in the city to zero? What is the cost of this to the economy? Is it worth it?

Should alcohol be banned at major sporting events?

Should the police/liquor licensing be allowed to video tap at these public events to record all serving areas and people purchasing alcohol? Are there signs displayed any where notifying the public they are being filmed? What is happening to this footage? Being stored? For how long?

As for alcohol advertising at sporting events check out this post – Let’s make everything like the Rugby Sevens?

Beer Festivals – what are the chances the New Zealand Beer Festival will ever happen again? Seemed like it was luck to even happen this year, and wasn’t much fun with the security and policing. Why was this Auckland Beer Festival under the gun and the Christchurch Beer Festival was such a breeze? One law, multiple interpretations, and levels of enforcement.

Increased costs of holding a license to sell alcohol. Read this article New fees a big cost for some premises

Liquor Licensing Committee chair John Leggett said the new fee system was a result of the passing of the new acts, which was aimed at reducing harm from alcohol.

“As I understand it, one of the driving forces behind the change is the reference to the on and off-licences themselves . . . making sure the industry paid for the cost rather than the ratepayers.”

“As I understand it” doesn’t really sound like he fully understands what he is talking about.

How much were the ratepayers paying before for the cost of a liquor license?

How did they come up with how much each risk category pays?

For a large event with more than 400 people it would now cost $575, a medium event with between 100 and 400 people would cost $207 and a small event with less than 100 people would cost $63.25.

Who came up with these fees for events that need a special license?

Seems like revenue gathering , and the numbers just seem random, and it isn’t clear that they are tied to any costs that ratepayers had previously been covering. Read the article and try to come up with your own conclusion.

Dont Drink if PregnantNew Labelling – changes to our labels. Warnings are now going to be required on beer labels. At the cost to the brewer. The sucky thing is that small brewers have so many different beers and small label runs, and will have a bigger burden to get changes made. Extra cost to make sure pregnant women know they shouldn’t be drinking craft beer.

Did you know there are 1000 liquor ban areas in Auckland?

My vision of the future for Alcohol in New Zealand 2020

  • Every purchase of alcohol you make will be on video. The supermarket, bottle shops, sporting events, bars, restaurants and beer festivals. (actually it already is recorded, on video and on EFTPOS and credit card transactions)

  • Facial Recognition – each purchase will be recorded, the video will have facial recognition software run over it. A database of where you purchased and your financial transaction cross referenced.

  • Standard Drinks. Based on your purchases there will be a record of how many standard drinks you purchase in a week. You will be flagged and categorised in to risk groups. If you are purchasing (therefore drinking) more than recommended guidelines then there will be ramifications. Potentially your insurance company could be informed and your premiums go up, your doctor notified and on your next visit you could be talked to about your potential problem. Or even your employer or spouse?

How far could this all go before they just implement prohibition without anyone pushing back and saying hey that’s not cool. The above technology is available now, and this could already be happening.

Chipping away slowly slowly…

Please tell me I am wrong.

Discussion on Facebook 

UPDATE – 8 May 14
> Looks like the Council have defined it better – so might not be an issue for ‘craft’ after all (or should that be ’boutique’ and ‘handcrafted’)
>
> ‘Mainstream’ beer isn’t generally sold in single bottles anyway, so shouldn’t be affected.
>
> Still issues around profiling based on product type rather than the behaviour they are trying to address. Plus puts all the onus on the retailer not the person buying the product…
>
http://infocouncil.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/Open/2014/05/REG_20140513_AGN_4581_AT.PDF

UPDATE – 10 May 14
I might have been a bit optimistic on the 2020 date, especially after reading

“Nearly 10,000 police computers were running Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system when mainstream support was axed last month, Police Minister Anne Tolley has confirmed.”