Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Drinking big concern in community, says survey

More problems are being caused by alcohol in the communities.  Photo / Bradley Ambrose
More problems are being caused by alcohol in the communities. Photo / Bradley Ambrose

Auckland communities are becoming more aware of problems caused by alcohol, two out of three people surveyed saying liquor has a negative effect on life in the city.

However, 13 per cent of 2175 people questioned in the survey for Nielsen were regular drinkers and said they thought alcohol had a positive impact.

About 45 per cent of respondents agreed that having a drink enhanced the experience of eating out and 38 per cent said pubs, bars and clubs brought communities together.

The research was done for Auckland Council's proposed local alcohol policy, which is a response to safety, health and crime concerns expressed by organisations including local boards and the police.

A report to the council's regional development and operations committee meeting said respondents noted effects on families and youth, drink-driving, violence and costs to society through hospitals, police and accident compensation as negative impacts.

Fifty per cent thought there were too many places to buy liquor to take away in their neighbourhoods and 58 per cent said the number of cafes and clubs where you could drink alcohol was about right.

People thought alcohol would have most negative impact in parks and public places (64 per cent), bars and nightclubs (58 per cent) and at public events (15 per cent).

Most people associated alcohol-related harm with the inner city/CBD streets and car parks and felt intimidated by the atmosphere created in the CBD late at night by drunks in the streets, fights and verbal abuse.

The places though to have the most negative impacts were South Auckland (74 per cent), the CBD (66 per cent) and West Auckland (55 per cent).

The survey showed 45 per cent approval for support to community and sporting groups through funding from the alcohol industry, though 28 per cent disagreed.

Council staff recommend further work on a policy be done once Parliament passes the Alcohol Reform Bill.

- NZ Herald

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