Skip to Content »

Gutless liquor law amendments

  • July 9th, 2010

The kids in the Youth Parliament yesterday debated and heard submissions on liquor law reform. One MP told me many of them were more blunt and commonsensical than their elders. Film director Taiki Waititi appeared before one of their committees. He's reported as "sick of seeing teens puking up or asleep in Courtenay Place". He had no firm view on the age of supply issue,  but said youth should take more responsibility.


Why is that not the heart of the reform? Instead the government is drafting up variants of the Law Commission's proposals – everything they can think of other than requiring personal responsibility.


Though Richard Long thinks their effort could misfire, the panel of worthies demanding that the government implement the full Commission ticket are well meaning dupes in the same strategy.


They're right that there is a problem. New Zealand decided 40 years ago to end the 6 o'clock swill, then to become "mature" continentals by making grog a normal part of life, with on demand 'civilised' drinking in restaurants and cafes and free sale in shops. But instead of turning into idealised French sophisticates we've unleashed many of ourselves as sodden Russians or morose Scandinavian berserkers.


The Law Commission has excited the Youth Divisions of the  political parties. They're joining forces to block a change in the supply age, though that age limit has so little substantial effect that their fight is essentially empty symbolism.


None of them address the simple question raised bravely by the Hospitality Association's Bruce Robertson. "Why not focus directly on personal responsibility for the behaviour we don’t want?".


It is not hard. Underage drinking is against the law in many countries. They enforce it with penalties on the underage drinkers. Not us now, though we did here, until recently. We also enforced law against drunken oafishness, littering, breaking glass, foul language, threatening behaviour.


Now instead we are to get another round of symbolic law, all aimed at people who supply liquor.


What use is that? Everyone knows there is unlimited cheap alcohol in supermarkets. Those who want to pre-load can always find someone to buy what they want.


Why no offence of public drunkenness? Why no enforcement of law against underage drinking? The answer is simple – the same excuse as is used for a whole string of laws, from dog control, to fireworks bans, that pretend to be tough by targeting the law-abiding with new restrictions, out of fear of tackling directly the wrongdoers.


Sir Geoffrey is quite frank about the reasons for not focussing on personal responsibility -"because the Police tell me it is too hard to enforce". Why? Because it would not be seen as "fair" to collect penalties that would make a difference?


Pathetic – from all involved.


  • Manolo
  • July 10th, 2010
  • 12:42 pm

How many do-gooders can New Zealand sustain?  Apparently, an infinite number… and I'm sick of them.

[…] » Blog Archive » Gutless liquor law amendments […]

  • James McGehan
  • July 18th, 2010
  • 4:45 pm

While you are on the subject, why no"Offering to buy"  for underaged?  And our long lost and lamented of being "found on licenced premises"
And rather than "been drinking" being a mitigating factor at sentencing, let's make it a multiplier.
Oh Stephen, the fun we could have if you could only get back in.
Cheers, James McGehan, Kohimarama

  • mike mckee
  • July 22nd, 2010
  • 12:04 pm

Drunk in public
simple innit!
Not for our buffoons who wouldn't know common sense if it slapped them in the face.
I get angry at the fact that these so called experts paid squillions compared to the hoi polloi don't have the balls to actually fix this for all of us and still collect a cheque for not dealing to the root of the problem.
Drunk people cause problems so make them pay for being drunk.

Leave your comments:

* Required fields. Your e-mail address will not be published on this site

You can use the following HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>