I know better than most, and sadly as well as far too many, the effects alcohol abuse can have on a family. For years, I watched my mother slowly and progressively kill herself through the bottle.

I made the decision then not to drink.

However, I am not a wowser. I spent a long time as a responsible host promoting moderation in the restaurant business. But I am against alcohol in the hands of our youngest and most vulnerable.

I am a parent of two teenage boys. They are great kids and they know how to have fun. Unfortunately, they are both at the age where alcohol is a factor in their day-to-day lives.

Why do I say unfortunately? Well, I would never suggest that my parenting skills are better than anyone else's - there is no one-style-fits-all model of how to raise a family.

I have tried to give my kids three things in life: unconditional love, a world-class education, with a daily dose of what is right and wrong.

Kids from good families can go off the rails, just as kids from dysfunctional families can become role-models and leaders of our society.

But we are living in times when young people are being captured by alcohol and drugs.

This brings with it hopelessness, family violence, and too often loneliness and suicide.

I am concerned for our young people. My son was at a party recently where a young man had too much to drink and never recovered.

Alcohol is destroying our hopes for the future. As a community, together, we need to protect our kids from this problem. As a community leader I see it as my responsibility to speak out against this evil and offer a solution.

As a united Auckland, we have to crack down on alcohol misuse - including irresponsible outlets and licensed premises. I want to limit access to cut-price liquor outlets that sell the booze our young people seemingly crave.

I don't see a place for high density or clustering of cheap liquor outlets. Areas of South Auckland are prime examples of what I do not want replicated across a greater Auckland.

Otara's Bairds Rd has had up to six liquor retailers on it at one time, all within 500m of each other and another just up the road in a residential area. On Bairds Rd, access to cheap alcohol is easy.

Research by the Alcohol Advisory Council shows that having several liquor stores on one street or even in a suburb brings competition.

It drives prices down to the point where on Bairds Rd a 330ml bottle of bourbon and cola recently cost $2 - that is almost $1 less than a bottle of water in many shops.

This is cheap and easy access for our youth who might not have much money but who want to drink.

The research says that social deprivation, crime and violence can be directly linked to the high density of liquor outlets - especially in Manukau City.

I want to lead a region that says loud and clear that we have had enough of the socially debilitating effects of irresponsible use of alcohol.

Your communities should have a greater say in where alcohol can be purchased and I will be a strong advocate for this to be changed in legislation.

No family is immune to the abuse and degradation of alcohol but we cannot simply stand by and allow it to ruin our society.

Underage drinking is wrong. Let us as parents start dialling back the expectation some have that kids drinking booze is okay, when it is not.

I do not remember meeting my mother until I was 14 years old. How different her life may have been without alcohol.

* John Banks is Mayor of Auckland City.