The new year seemed to be welcomed in a sensible but celebratory style by most over the weekend.

That's exactly the way it should be.

Police around the country reported a relatively quiet night, with those in the Western Bay saying they made the fewest arrests they ever had on a New Year's Eve.

This time of the year is a chance to celebrate the year that was and welcome in a new year which brings new possibilities and opportunities.

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There's no need for the drunkenness which seems to go hand-in-hand with New Year's Eve. All too often it only ends in assaults, fights and arrests which put a damper on the evening for all those involved.

That's no way to end a year or start a new one.

Spending the first day of the new year hung over and with little memory of the night doesn't seem appealing to me either.

Kiwis have long had a bad habit of drinking to excess - to the detriment of their health and public order.

Just maybe that is starting to change, based on last night's events. I hope it is.

I'm not really one for new year's resolutions (why wait until then to make a change?) but perhaps as a nation we could resolve to teach our children and teenagers to drink sensibly and responsibly.

In doing that perhaps the older generations will reassess their drinking habits and make some changes for the better too.

Our reputation for binge drinking is not one we should be proud of.

It's not going to change overnight but we can begin to do something about it.