Booze control sought

A new initiative to open communication between liquor distributors and Whangarei youth is set to be New Zealand's first youth-led alcohol accord.

Whangarei Youth Collective are bringing together members of the hospitality industry, liquor distributors, health trusts and local councillors to make a change and combat the negative impact alcohol has on young people.

Youth representative Dean Campbell, 18, said the accord will be the start of a positive change to reduce alcohol-related harm in young people in Whangarei.

"There is an issue in the city and we need to address it. At night young people who are drunk are causing havoc and yelling abuse. Alcohol consumption causes people to do things they wouldn't usually do and it's happening more and more," he said.

"There's nobody regulating the problem. Hopefully, we can form a committee and help them [liquor distributors] to be more aware."

Dean said the Youth Collective hope to see liquor distributors thinking about the people they are selling to.

"We aren't anti-alcohol, but we want to take it back to when it was a social thing, not destructive."

Kaikohe-born Peter Thorburn will be at the launch to share his personal account of struggling with addiction as a young person.

The 23-year-old is now a qualified clinician, specialising in alcohol and drug education.

Dean said Mr Thorburn's story will be important for people to hear.

"He's trying to make people more aware of the effects of alcohol and drugs, and obviously should be listened to."

The launch of the accord will be held on Thursday at the ASB Stadium from 5.30pm and organisers will be seeking registrations of interest for future participation in the accord.

- Northern Advocate

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