Someone's stolen the port from Port Ahuriri school.

Or more practically, alcohol has been vetoed from the event formerly known as the Wine & Food Festival.

The school decided to dump an application to peddle booze at the annual November fundraiser after litigious opposition from the Hawke's Bay District Health Board.

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Principal Glenn France later claimed "institutional bullying" at the hands of the DHB.

Paediatrician and former Children's Commissioner Dr Russell Wills, a longtime respected DHB voice of reason, this week defended the board's opposition with the bombshell: "The current myth that adults can somehow model 'responsible drinking' in front of children, has been seriously challenged with much evidence to the contrary."

Moderation, apparently, is no longer moderate enough.

The only possible conclusion to this new theory is that any consumption in the presence of children, on school grounds or otherwise, is poor parenting.

Thing is, one can hardly imagine a safer, restrained or more controlled environment to enjoy a few drinks than a gathering of parents, teachers and children. Remembering the idea is to fundraise - not get liquored.

This writer can recall school galas where as a youngster the associated parties weren't muted in the slightest. Surely the modern-day (and infinitely more temperate) iteration of the gala needn't attract a 700-page objection and legal posse.

I'll hasten to add this also underscores the board's appreciable commitment to addressing alcohol harm. But what's missing is the considered part of that commitment.

While no one's denying the nationwide drinking issue (witness our glass castles on recycling day) or indeed its identified regional scourge (witness the alcohol-related offending in our district courts), the DHB's case still presents as speculative and wildly hopeful.

In a well-intentioned bid to target excessive drinking it's paradoxically targeted moderate drinking. One can't help but deem that arse-about-face.

Continuing the farce, if the school community's adults are as irresponsible as the inference suggests, perhaps the DHB should descend on November's festival to carry out sweeping breath tests for all the incorrigible parents who will now preload in protest.

Yes, school grounds are sacrosanct, that's why when there we parents model, moderate behaviour.