Alcohol Healthwatch supports the general thrust of the Winston Peters, Local Government (Prohibition of Liquor in Public Places) Amendment Act, and is pleased this new Act has had government

However, Alcohol Healthwatch warns territorial authorities to use the new legislation judiciously and ensure they have public support before creating “alcohol free areas” in their communities. It is also important to ensure that they can be Policed appropriately!

Many communities throughout New Zealand have recognised the importance of creating alcohol free public space as a means of enhancing public safety. (New Plymouth District Council for example.) Existing legislation has meant that they have been unable to do this under by-laws.

The current Local Government Act has restricted the possibility of liquor bans to 24 hours on select days, these being Waitangi Day, Guy Fawkes Day, Labour Day, Labour Day Good Friday to Easter Monday and Christmas Eve through to January 2, while for the remaining days of the year councils could only gazette an area alcohol free for a 12 hour periods and they need to specify a particular reason for the ban.

The new legislation will enable territorial authorities to create “alcohol free areas” over an extended period of time and supports the rights of the majority of the community to have a safer physical environment. An environment where they are less likely to feel threaten or intimated by public drinking. There is a clear link between drinking in public places and violence, including personal violence and willful damage to property.

The new laws will enable territorial authorities, in conjunction with the Police to address public drinking in particular problem areas such as town centres, shopping centre car parks or beaches via the introduction of alcohol free areas.

For further information please contact:
Roger Eccles, Alcohol Healthwatch
Wk (09) 5207038
eccles@ahw.co.nz