Wairoa’s new Local Alcohol Policy (LAP), introduced in December 2020 to reduce alcohol-related harm, has been welcomed by community leaders and children and health advocates as one of the strongest in the country.
Local Alcohol Policies provide an opportunity for communities to have more say around conditions related to licensed premises in order to discourage harmful alcohol use.
Dr Nicki Jackson, Executive Director for Alcohol Healthwatch says Wairoa District Council’s policy, which came into effect following a public consultation period with the Wairoa community, Hawke’s Bay DHB, NZ Police and licensing inspectors, was one of the strongest in the country.
“We commend Wairoa District Council on their leadership and strong actions to reduce alcohol harm and prioritise the health of their community,” said Alcohol Healthwatch Executive Director Dr Nicki Jackson.
“This is one of the strongest local alcohol policies we have seen in New Zealand. Something we are very pleased to see is that children have been afforded special protection and licences will not be granted for child focussed events. We believe this is a first for New Zealand.
“So many events in New Zealand culture revolve around alcohol. It is important that we keep the needs of children at the centre of child-focussed events. Alcohol-free events also support New Zealanders to cut back on their drinking.
“Good public policy can and does make a difference. This policy will positively impact current and future generations in Wairoa and help uncap its potential,” said Dr Jackson.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little says keeping communities safe is paramount.
“Wairoa’s Local Alcohol Policy is centred on giving communities greater control over the location and licensing conditions of liquor outlets and setting licensing standards that are relevant to the needs of the community.
“We know we have taken a courageous step in adopting this policy which is driven by wanting the very best for our community, both now, and into the future.”
Hawke’s Bay District Health Board Medical Officer of Health Dr Rachel Eyre said alcohol consumption was associated with more than 200 disease and injury conditions.
Dr Eyre said Wairoa was the first council across Hawke’s Bay to include within its LAP restrictions whereby alcohol licences would not be granted for child-focussed events. All four Hawke’s Bay councils have LAPs in place - the first was Central Hawke’s Bay District Council in February 2019.
“It’s important as adults we lead by example and encourage positive role modelling by showing young people they can have fun at any event, free from the promotion, marketing and normalisation of alcohol,” said Dr Eyre.
“The DHB supports alcohol-free events and has developed alcohol-free resources for local event managers, or anyone organising an event.
“There are many examples of successful events and school-based fundraising events in our region that are alcohol-free.”
Former Children's Commissioner, Hawke's Bay DHB paediatrician and a leading advocate for children’s rights, Dr Russell Wills, also praised the policy for putting children’s health, wellbeing and rights first.
“I’m proud that the people of Wairoa have put children ahead of profit. Children’s events should be fun and alcohol-free. I hope Napier, Hastings and Central Hawke’s Bay councils will show the same wisdom and courage as Wairoa Council have,” he said.
To see Hawke’s Bay DHB’s full alcohol-free resource kit, including a special Alcohol-free fundraising guide for schools, visit the DHB’s website at www.ourhealthhb.nz.
Caption: Wairoa District Council interim chief executive Kitea Tipuna with Tiaho School principal Zac Anderson who welcomes the local alcohol policy and the fact it prioritises children's wellbeing.
10 February 2021
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