CHRISTCHURCH: A new study by a Christchurch research unit has proven conclusively that the rising number of liquor outlets is having a beneficial effect on neighbourhoods and communities, and have more cost benefits for the taxpayer.
The three-year, latitudinal study by the Canterbury Health Research Institute of Science and Technology found while the rising number of cheap liquor outlets lead to more drinking in the home, their proliferation also reduced road accidents and was more cost-effective to the taxpayer than having people driving while over the limit.
“Certainly the research shows that moderate drinkers will become binge drinkers over time because of the ease of access to alcohol,” says research leader Dr Adrian Bateman, “but it also shows that people are doing it in their own home which therefore reduces the cost of policing, traffic problems and anti-social behaviour in public.
“In fact there is a good case to me made for having more, not fewer liquor outlets, as people will walk to bottle stores rather than drive home drunk from the pub.”
A cost analysis showed that during the three-year study which involved 500 households in each of the main centres (but not Hamilton) the cost saving in terms of policing and drink-drive prosecutions was estimated at $550 million.
Adult members and teenagers in the chosen households were all given a pedometer, maps of their local district indicating liquor outlets, and when a new bottle store or pub opened they were introduced to its location by text message and Twitter.
In the period under study the number of liquor stores in each area more than tripled and in some areas of Auckland a new liquor shop was opening every week during the last year of the study.
“And the result has been that people might be getting tanked up,” says Dr Bateman, “ but they weren't hooning it up on the streets or taking the car for a spin and fleeing from police roadblocks. That has got to be good news for everyone.
“I think if there is anything we can take from this it is that at the moment we are only hearing one side of the story from the anti-booze lobby and local communities. We need to do more research.
“But right now I think it would be fair to say CHRIST says 'Yes' to binge drinking and more booze outlets.”
BIG DEALS: Auckland City Supermayor Les Brown says it is “not a good look” and people “should be taking a long hard look at themselves” when told of a car parked in a spaced reserved for the handicapped near the Aotea Centre.
Supermayor Brown has promised to be “hands-on” when it comes to the small matters “and that way the big matters will look after themselves”.
At a specially called press conference to discuss the issue yesterday Supermayor Brown said “in many instances like this I think we will find the answer is in what I always say at any opportunity, 'He tangata, he tangata, he tangata, it is people, it is people, it is people'.”
No 1 Citizen Kim John-Kee said was “relaxed” about the parking issue but was pleased that Supermayor Brown was taking the small things very seriously.
THE EASTE WILL RISE: Outrageous Fortune co-writer and producer James Griffin confirmed yesterday he is working on a new television series which will be ground-breaking for its challenging content.
“It's a no-holds-barred look at a family of sleazy criminals and rip-off merchants, and it's about people with no taste or moral compass. These are the lowest of the low, people you just don't want to have in your community let alone your life.
“There will be lawyers and investment bankers, a few of those so-called 'property developers', some Act MPs and the odd car dealer and insurance agent. We are going behind the scenes to see the wheeling and dealing these people do, and how they shift their money – or more correctly your money.
“And we'll be looking at their flash-harry lifestyles behind the high walls they build around themselves in their plush but tasteless homes.”
The series, tentatively titled Mine For Me will centre on a family living in St Heliers called the Easte's, the father running a finance company, the wife a property developer who tears down heritage buildings and puts up apartment blocks.
It is believed the son and daughter in the series will be university students, one studying Comparative Religion with a view to starting her own church as a tax dodge.
Griffin confirms that the story starts with the David Easte's Gold Chip Diamond Investment Ltd going down the drain and taking $560 million of investors money with it “and from there on its a roller-coaster ride through lives without conscience or consequence.
“We get to see them plotting and scheming so at one level it will be like My Diner With Andre meets Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. . . but with a little of Grand Designs thrown in as they are redeveloping their own property to create a 27-room mansion with indoor pool, cinema – and in-house car valet service run by Matthew Ridge who will play himself.
“There will be other cameos by various politicians and white-collar criminals also as the series rolls out.
“It's like all your nightmare scenarios of the past decade rolled into one.
"Believe me, these people are real bastards who make the Wests of Outrageous Fortune look tame."
GAME ON: Dean Cameron, the sprinter sent home from the Commonwealth Games in Delhi after having a “couple of quiet ones with the boys” says he is sorry that his indiscretion has cast a shadow over his silver medal in the 100m and a personal best of 27 beers plus three vodka-based RTDs in a two hour post-event drinking session.
Cameron, who has been on-form after some drinking incidents last year confirms he is getting help from some former All Blacks and Blues players and expects that by this time next year he will be able to concentrate fulltime on his chosen career.
His coach Dave Churches said yesterday “Dean's a good bloke but took his eye off the ball in the past year or so. But now he's back on track and I expect that within a few months we'll see him breaking that 30 bottle mark, and we're hoping to up the RTD count as well. SprintNZ care about its athletes so we are giving him 110 percent support in this, and to hell with the consequences.”
RADIO DAZE: Auckland radio shock-jock Ian Scruples said last night he had no regrets after getting involved an illegal cage-fight last weekend in which he climbed into the cage and taunted the two fighters as being “pussies and no-hopers”.
From his hospital bed last night he said “People are always picking on me for these minor indiscretions -- but no one goes out and checks on those Silver Ferns who are just a bunch of skanky ho's.
"You should see them hit a bar after a game, it's dancing on the tables, tops off, lap dancing and fagging it up out the back. Yet you never hear a thing about that, do you?
“Most of those girls are on P or working as 'escorts', if you get my meaning. I wouldn't be saying this if it wasn't true --- or in a ratings period.”
THE CROWD GOES WILD: Police have expressed their disgust at the behaviour of the crowd at last night's concert by Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees who was one of the opening acts on the farewell tour by Christchurch band the Bilders.
“People were throwing tomatoes and bottles at him,” said Senior Sgt Sherry Roper after the wild behaviour at the Vector Arena, “and fair enough too. He was bloody awful, off key most of the time and actually he sounded more like Ringo than Robin.
“He did sing Saved by the Bell though which was his big solo hit, but nothing could save this concert.
"Pity too that the backing tape for the Pointer Sisters broke and they had to do their whole set a cappella, but that's rock'n'roll in the 21st century I suppose.”
Gibb cut short his performance and the Bilders, lead by mainstay Bill Direen took the stage early and settled the crowd with a selection of their hit Do the Alligator.
It was a final farewell to the Bilders and Bill Direen entertained the crowd with jokes and poems, as well as witty and literate songs from all parts of their 30 year career.
“The Bilders were one of the great Kiwi bands,” said Herald reviewer Scott Baillie after the show.
“They combined the wit and angularity of Split Enz with the energy and lo-fi sound of the best of Flying Nun. Bill [Direen] is a genuine Kiwi music legend for his tenacity, style and intellect – and wry sense of humour.
“To see 15,000 people getting off on his music was a sheer pleasure. Gibb were rubbish though.”
CORRECTIONS: In the report on the Christchurch study the final quote should read “CHRIST says “Yes' to responsible binge drinking.” The error occurred in editing.. . . . As the paper was going to press James Griffin denied he was making a television series entitled Mine For Me. Mr Griffin says he has no such intention and has never spoken to Alt.Republic. We regret the error and we'll probably blame it on editing if he gets litigious . . . The farewell concert by the Bilders took place at the Kings Arms on Sunday, not at Vector Arena. The crowd was estimated at 15, not 15,000. The error occurred in editing . . . Robin Gibb really was rubbish though.
THE REAL THING: Just like totally heaps of new (and old) music, books and films and such here