Finding a balance: Social and economic outcomes of alcohol

BK Ben Knight Public Seen by 64

There are clear positive and negative social impacts of alcohol, as well as clear positive and negative economic impacts. These need to be considered together to inform strategy and policy in a meaningful way.

This discussion will explore the relationship between the social and economic outcomes of alcohol, and seek insights about how Wellington might balance social and economic drivers as part of an alcohol management strategy.


Giselle Bareta (WCC) Wed 13 Mar 2013 4:27AM

Essentially we are asking for help in finding 'The Right Mix' for Wellington.


Sophie Jerram Thu 14 Mar 2013 8:52AM

OK I would like to know - has anyone any research on the criteria for the optimal use of alcohol in other cities/events/festivals around the world?


Ben Knight Fri 15 Mar 2013 11:53PM

Hi @gisellebareta , do you happen to know of any research on this question? Would be great to hear about best practice in other places


Lynsey Ferrari Sun 17 Mar 2013 12:49AM

ALAC has a list of links to the existing alcohol policy documents for local body councils throughout NZ. I've been reading the Waitakere City Council's 'City-Wide Alcohol Strategy' which was adopted in 2006. It's comprehensive, and includes special consultation with communities that are disproportionately affected by alcohol-related harm. I wonder what the results are seven years down the track.


Alanna Krause (Loomio) Sun 17 Mar 2013 4:29AM

Here is the document @lynseyferrari mentioned if anyone else want to have a look.


Geraldine Murphy Tue 19 Mar 2013 8:17AM

Preloading at home (or side-loading in cars in inner city outside bars) seems to be a major part of the negatives of alcohol consumption. I heard there was a bar in Auck that was breathylzing patrons before entry as they only wanted responsible patrons - is this true? Can anyone provide any info on this?

Creating some negative impacts from preloading (eg, you can't access the bars to listen to music with the rest of the group) may encourage a reduced consumption at home - and support local, responsible, bar owners. It doesn't seem to be an issue at cafes/restaurants where food is the primary or a key focus. I know there will be challenges here - what level would you test to? there isn't a alcohol level for intoxication - or is there? Perhaps the people below the limit get discounted non-alcoholic drinks and food??


Clinton den Heyer Tue 19 Mar 2013 10:39PM

I would like to comment on Homegrown on the weekend a couple weekends back, which is a great event and to be supported. Very well run also, and at 17,000 tickets a feat of excellence in this economy. It seems timely and relevant to the themes of this post. Events such as these bring a huge amount of income and good will into Wellington.

It must be noted that the whole of the inner caity basically became a drinking zone from morning to morning, in the same way as it does with The Sevens. The supply of this alcohol should be the responsibility of Off Licenses. While, for example, The Police will ask La De Da organisers for $50,000 to contribute to Policing for the event, where is the request for remuneration from Off Licenses – which is where the majority of the alcohol consumed in Wellington on Homegrown (and Sevens) weekend was purchased. The extent of intoxication was made worse by the fact that there was no enforcement of the liquor bans in inner city Wellington. Why would On Licenses suffer the fate of legislation and compliance cost when clearly it is Off Licenses causing the damage, with no compliance cost and negligible regulations associated?

I must stress a simple fact here - Homegrown operates on an ON License. A special On license that is carefully considered, with a huge amount of compliance attached, that is signed off by Public Health, The DLA, The Police and The City Council. The cost of this license is huge when all factors going into the successful completion of it are considered.

Stand outside any Off license on the way to, or in town, around these large events, and watch what happens. One 18yo with ID will go into an Off License, buy a lot of alcohol, and then distribute it to their underage friends. Off licenses have no host responsibility, no security, and no policing presence. The Police have no mandate to issue tickets to ensure that there is a sense of individual responsibility. This is literally an illegal free for all, and no current regulation is addressing this.

Do I need to point out what would happen to an On License if this was sighted to be the case?

On Licenses then become the soft target for high levels of drunk teenagers seen in the city congregating around bars (that they cant get into). This is Off license profit contributing to On license demise.

Ironically, Council , Police, Emergency Services, On Licenses and the community feels an equal sense of frustration at this – we are all in this together – Off Licenses are capitalizing off our disgust and our inconvenience. When we say pre loading, this is something that is caused directly from Off licenses. there is no aspect of the term "pre loading" that implies On licenses whatsoever. They (Off Licenses) are profiting from a severe lack of legislation, and they are pushing the drinking attitudes of this country further into the dark ages.


I for one, will stand up and say a sincere thank you to Homegrown organizers and the licensee for ensuring that there were adequate services to account for the 200 + people that had to be admitted to medical help on site the other weekend. The intoxication that caused it was most certainly not the responsibility of Homegrown, but it was a responsibility that Homegrown had to wear publicly, and pay for internally. And while not naïve to assume that there is a small percentage of people who slip through the cracks in On licenses, as someone who has held special licenses and run bars at large scale events I know that the laws, regulations and Police and regulatory presence at such events insures that the intoxication levels on site is kept to the barest of minimum. On licesnes, through regulation and pro-active communication, have ensured that underage purchase at POS in On licenses are currently at an all time low.

Wellington suffered from more pre-loading. Homegrown was the catalyst. At fault our social attitudes and the free for all that Off Licenses are enjoying.

As The Police are finally entering the digital age (way ahead of many other Western countries I proudly add) it is time to request standard data is collected and used as KPIs in regards to how we run our city with regard to the sale and supply of liquor. This is the only way we will set ourselves apart and remain competitive for tourism and events against Auckland, for example. We need data, and regular open communication. Currently The Police and other Emergency services do not collect data as to where the alcohol was purchased and consumed. One can hardly blame them – they already have their hands full, but this country cannot make positive steps forward in regards to our attitudes toward alcohol without quantifiable and specific data associated with our drinking, and the difference between On and Off Licenses.

We cannot make the right decisions without the right data, and for that Wellington needs to give the responsibility, but also the grace and faith required, for Wellington Licensees to work directly with Council and Police to ensure Wellington remains a vibrant entertainment capital. I must again iterate, that Council, Police, On Licenses and the community are all in the same boat on this – we all see the problem as being societal attitudes and availability of cheap alcohol. Our mission must now be to prove it. We must all work together - Wellington stands to lose too much otherwise.

There are major aspects to Wellingtons On Licenses that needs to be re-assessed or de-regulated before we lose all of the risk takers, the innovators, the opportunities and the entrepreneurs required to keep Wellington financially secure and appealing to outside interest. Some of these issues revolve around inner city capacities, inner city noise issues, proposed changes to on licenses, earthquake re-strengthening, off license pricing and the cost of compliance for events.


Nikki line Wed 20 Mar 2013 6:42PM

Well said Clinton!


Bing Lou Thu 21 Mar 2013 12:18AM

In response to Geraldine's comment on preloading, it definitely has negative impacts both socially and economically.

However, banning people from bars will also create social and economic impacts, for example people will be out in the streets as a result, creating a negative vibe of drunken hooligans out in public, which in turn makes the image of wellington night life 'unsafe', 'crazy' and uninviting for others. Also this hurts the bars and businesses, either from not getting any customers from those being rejected entry to those not wanting to come into town at all.


vivien maidaborn Thu 21 Mar 2013 9:08PM

@clintondenheyer I am wondering if there is a proposal about Off Licenses we could test here. It is looking like you are close to a clear idea of what it could be reading your post below

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