Last Drink Surveys (LDS) were first piloted in New Zealand in the early nineties. In the Auckland Region the first project was established in Auckland City in 1991. This was developed as part of a liquor licensing project, which was implemented and evaluated between 1990 and 1992 by the Alcohol and Public Health Research Unit (APHRU).
The liquor licensing project was largely in response to the liberalising of the Sale of Liquor Act (SOL) and the potential increase in alcohol related problems.
The principal aim of the LDS was to assist agencies with a statutory role in liquor licensing to identify where drink drive problems originated, particularly in relation to licensed premises.
Liquor Liaison groups were set up to provide a forum through which strategies could be formulated to address these problems.
The Last Drink Survey in the Auckland Region currently consists of seven projects co-ordinated by Alcohol Healthwatch. They are: Auckland City, North Shore City, Waitakere City, Rodney District, Manukau City, Papakura and Franklin District. These projects collate all alcohol-related alleged offences not only drink drive offences.
The Auckland Last Drink Survey Projects were funded by the New Zealand Police through the National Safety Administration Programme.
The Last Drink Survey Team worked towards the objectives of Sale of Liquor Act :
“To establish a reasonable system of control over the sale and supply of liquor to the public with the aim of contributing to the reduction of liquor abuse, so far as that can be achieved by legislative means.”
The licensed drinking environment is a significant contributor to alcohol-related road crashes and crime. The SOL places an emphasis on the importance of responsible management of licensed drinking environments. It also provides a structure for reducing the alcohol related harm that emanates from licensed premises.
The LDS co-ordinators are an integral part of Alcohol Healthwatch and work under the same mission statement which is to reduce alcohol related harm through effective health promotion.