Aucklanders have had their say on the sale and supply of alcohol in their region - and they strongly support more restrictions according to a new survey.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) has today released the results of a survey, conducted by Wyllie & Associates, into Aucklanders' views on alcohol policies in their region.
Public support for alcohol policies in the Auckland Council Region shows majority support for policies that restrict trading hours, reduce the number of on and off-licences, and keeps these outlets away from schools.
Among the survey's key findings:
• If there are to be different on-licence closing times across Auckland, 61 per cent favour no later than 2am in the Central Business District (CBD), 60 per cent support 1am in centres outside the CBD, and 52 per cent support midnight in the rest of Auckland. If closing times are to be the same across Auckland, 56 per cent support no later than 1am.
• The public strongly support off-licences beginning sales no earlier than 10am (60-68 per cent, depending on off-licence type), and stopping sales no later than 10pm (73-78 per cent).
• The public do not want any more on-licences in their local communities, with figures ranging from 66 per cent (opposed to more licensed cafes and restaurants) to 89 per cent (taverns and large bars).
• Between 91 and 95 per cent want no increase in the number of off-licences.
• Between 72 and 83 per cent are opposed to more on-licences in the CBD.
• 73-83 per cent are opposed to having "taverns and large bars", "small neighbourhood bars", or off-licences (except supermarkets) near schools.
With submissions on Auckland Council's draft Local Alcohol Policy (LAP) now open, Medical Officer of Health Dr Denise Barnfather, is calling upon the Council to take heed of these results.
"Aucklanders have said their views loud and clear: they want Council to make real changes to reduce the accessibility and availability of alcohol," says Dr Barnfather.
"The Local Alcohol Policy process is our city's chance to make an effective contribution towards reducing alcohol-related harm and crime. We are pleased to see the draft LAP goes some way towards this, but there are still some serious shortfalls that need addressing to strengthen the policies from a health perspective."
Dr Barnfather says that alcohol-related harm in Auckland could be significantly reduced by:
• Having a closing time of 1am for all on-licences across Auckland,
• Restricting off-licences, including supermarkets, to selling alcohol between 10am and 9pm,
• A freeze or sinking lid in Broad Area A, and the Priority Overlay area, for on and off-licences, and
• Keeping on and off-licences away from schools, while ensuring those already near schools cannot sell alcohol between 3pm and 4pm.
"There is strong evidence," says Dr Barnfather, "that reducing trading hours and density reduces harm from alcohol. Evidence also shows that reducing young people's exposure to alcohol reduces alcohol consumption.
"There is also strong evidence that public health policies that change the environment are much more effective in reducing consumption and harm than policies aimed at education and awareness."
Dr Barnfather says it is crucial that the public takes its opportunity to make written submissions on the LAP. These can be made online at www.shapeauckland.co.nz until 16 July.
"Auckland Council has a golden opportunity to effect real and positive change. The evidence stacks up and - as our survey shows - the public want it.
"I urge Aucklanders to send a submission to Auckland Council and tell them what they told us: that they want reduced hours and fewer outlets - and all of them far away from our schools," Dr Barnfather concluded.
Public support for alcohol policies in the Auckland Council Region is available for download on the ARPHS website.