Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Drunk Town

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  • Kumara Republic,

    Meanwhile on Courtenay Place, a bar has its licence suspended for 3 weeks after a woman drunkenly passes out, possibly molested.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Meanwhile on Courtenay Place, a bar has its licence suspended for 3 weeks after a woman drunkenly passes out, possibly molested.

    Ah, no. From the fine article:
    The manager Ivy Yi-Wen Shen agreed to close the restaurant for 48 hours from 7am on July 21.
    So the restaurant’s licence was suspended for 48 hours.

    She also agreed her general manager’s certificate should be suspended for three weeks from July 23.
    And the manager at the time is having her General Manager’s Certificate suspended for three weeks.

    Licensed premises must have a person holding a General Manager’s Certificate on-site at all times that liquor is being sold. The suspension of a GMC does not stop the licensed premises from continuing to trade, provided that they can meet the requirement to have a GMC holder present at all times.
    If the liquor licence is suspended, the presence of a GMC holder does not legitimise the sale of liquor as the premises are no longer licensed.

    ETA: Nice to see the 48 hours occurring across a weekend (starts on a Saturday morning) for a change. Historically these penalties have been allowed to be implemented over Mondays-Wednesdays, incurring the minimum possible financial impediment.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Yes cheers, I am not particularly in need of a refresher course on being left wing here. One left wing value I hold particularly dear is fairness in the administration of state functions (or, procedural liberalism, not just a catchy phrase).

    So for instance while it is very nice to say that if you are found fighting in the street you ought be locked up for the night, I should have say that this is a bit of authoritarian and repressive measure, most likely to be used by the police force that we have in unpleasant ways.

    It might be better to start by saying: what ways can we improve public behaviour that don't involve the use of the punitive parts of the state apparat?

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    this is a bit of authoritarian and repressive measure

    For sure. Nice to remind ourselves what the end point of some decisions looks like.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    It might be better to start by saying: what ways can we improve public behaviour that don’t involve the use of the punitive parts of the state apparat?

    Well, given that you're not at all keen on enforcing laws controlling the sale of liquor, and you're not keen on alcohol-fuelled disorder being subjected to punitive attention from authority, I'm at a bit of a loss to figure out what will meet with your approval. I assume you're also against proposals to restrict licensing hours and allow communities to object to liquor outlets opening in their areas?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    I am not particularly in need of a refresher course on being left wing here

    No, you were in need of a refresher on precisely what constitutes voluntary participation. Nobody forces anyone to sell alcohol as their way of making a living. Nobody forces anyone to sell alcohol to minors (anecdotes about gang intimidation notwithstanding). They're completely voluntary choices, and not just in a strict libertarian "If there's not a gun to your head, it's voluntary" kind of way. Your objection to people having their liquor licences revoked for breaking the law smacks of "The state forces people to make a living selling alcohol".

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    what ways can we improve public behaviour that don't involve the use of the punitive parts of the state apparat?

    Exactly, but I don;'t think you'll convince the Ayatollahs around here that any answer than more jails/more cops will work.

    For a more nuanced view, see David Nutt in today's Guardian - reckons legalising cannabis might cut alcohol consumption.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    legalising cannabis might cut alcohol consumption.

    And why stop there? It stands to reason that P use may decline considerably were it competing in a marketplace with half a dozen legal alternatives.

    Yet there's still the sense that this is attacking the symptoms rather than the cause, as Kapka Kassabova pointed out "It is said that Europeans drink to enhance consciousness, while the English drink to annihilate it", What is New Zealand's beef with consciousness?

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    It might be better to start by saying: what ways can we improve public behaviour that don’t involve the use of the punitive parts of the state apparat?

    This is a good point. It seems to me that a better CBD environment would have its own benefits. If there were more and better toilets, not so many people would piss and vomit in the street. And maybe as well as flooding the town with cops, you could send in a little non-coercive support -- first aid people, for instance.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Russell Brown,

    If there were more and better toilets, not so many people would piss and vomit in the street. And maybe as well as flooding the town with cops, you could send in a little non-coercive support -- first aid people, for instance.

    Run it like the RWC game, players and stadia, with zambucks ;-), seriously it's our little forbidden secret...there will be very pissed people cavorting in town spending money on the sponsors...Govt. don't mind raking in the profits, but town is our space, it would be cool if they ran it as such.
    But that would take vision and care, prerequisites not required for Govt. manglement. As for local Govt. we get and pay for an ice rink, do we get commensurate services to go with that or should we simply shame people into behaving?
    The govt. are spending on something, it ain't us.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    you could send in a little non-coercive support – first aid people, for instance.

    Wellington Free Ambulance is seeking funding to run a triage centre in Wellington CBD on Friday and Saturday nights to deal with intoxicated punters, instead of tying up an ambulance taking someone with a trivial complaint to the hospital. That’s off the back of a trial they’ve been running for a while. It’s a better idea than having first aid volunteers walking the streets, vulnerable to the whims of drunken fucksticks who think it’s fun to attack random passers-by. After all, assaults on ambulance officers are an ever-increasing problem.

    The challenge with getting something like that going in Auckland is getting the funding to pay for St John’s resources. Their operating model is not the same as WFA’s.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Wellington Free Ambulance is seeking funding to run a triage centre in Wellington CBD on Friday and Saturday nights to deal with intoxicated punters, instead of tying up an ambulance taking someone with a trivial complaint to the hospital.

    That's the kind of thing I was thinking of. I hope they can make it work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • vangam, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    An automatic night in the cells for fighting in public would probably have something closer to the desired offence, especially if coupled with a moderate Summary Offences Act fine.

    What? Irrespective of the circumstances? Arbitrary power at its worst, I would suggest.

    Rangiora • Since Jun 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    An automatic night in the cells for fighting in public would probably have something closer to the desired offence, especially if coupled with a moderate Summary Offences Act fine.

    Right. That would have certainly nailed the assault victim I told you about upthread. He was, you will recall, told by a policeman he was just another brown guy fighting.

    And your other idea – a free hand for the police in deciding who they’d like to incarcerate on an arbitrary judgement of drunkenness – pretty much screams out to be abused.

    Combine that with the hard line you want licensed premises to take in ejecting people they deem intoxicated and you’ve got a scary little mess. If someone is refused service how the hell are they supposed to get home without being drunk in public?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I'm guessing that people who live in places like Haast or Great Barrier don't get to go to hospital for being really really drunk, they (being rural NZers) often get horribly drunk and they mostly don't die. Maybe the availability of a hospital encourages people to present with 'trivial complaints' and an even more convenient triage facility would just exacerbate this?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    What you guys have missed is that the police can already arbitrarily lock someone up for the night. Or ignore them. I'm not proposing that they arrest everyone, just that anyone they do arrest for fighting in public be locked up for the night instead of just being warned. This was, Russell, alternative to reinstating the offence of public drunkenness precisely because of the huge can of worms that that would present.

    Ultimately, we're not seeing clear results from the behavioural campaigns ("How we're drinking", etc). When the age was lowered, we were told that would be accompanied by strict enforcement. It's pretty obvious that the enforcement ain't as strict as it ought to be when it requires four breaches to have a licence revoked. If you'd rather that we pretended that raising the age to 20 will change a single thing, say so, because I would rather that we got the promised enforcement and made it a bit easier for the police to get intoxicated persons who cause trouble off the streets for a short period.

    Nobody has presented any ideas on what to do to try and address the issues. Putting first aid resources onto the streets is a band aid, if you'll pardon the pun, it's not addressing the problem. Nor is providing punitive resources, but we don't have the luxury of ignoring the problem.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Maybe the availability of a hospital encourages people to present with ‘trivial complaints’ and an even more convenient triage facility would just exacerbate this?

    Unlikely. WFA started the triage facility because they were having so many ambulances tied up taking people to hospital for alcohol-related issues that didn't have to be treated in a hospital but did have to be treated. If you're proposing that we cease to provide emergency medical resources to drunks I might be tempted to agree with you as a Darwinian solution, but I could also see it going quite horribly wrong. In the absence of making that happen without a lot of political pain, putting a resource near the problem in order to keep the valuable resources available for "real" emergencies is a much better solution.
    WFA were triaging about 13 people a weekend at their facility, which frees up somewhere between 13 and 42 ambulance hours depending on the busyness of Wellington Hospital.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    I would rather that we got the promised enforcement and made it a bit easier for the police to get intoxicated persons who cause trouble off the streets for a short period.

    I wonder if trouser confiscation could bring about a similar result at a lesser cost.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to chris,

    I wonder if trouser confiscation could bring about a similar result at a lesser cost.

    One night working in town - there was a trouser less guy so off his face he was sitting in a Queen Street bus stop masturbating.

    I am not sure it would have the "desired" outcome.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I’m guessing that people who live in places like Haast or Great Barrier don’t get to go to hospital for being really really drunk,

    Most people who drink heavily on the Coast (dunno abt. Great Barrier- that scene is complicated by easily obtained & relatively cheap high grade pot) know how to
    a)pace themselves-
    b)drink as much water as you do drink booze-
    c)are generally with mates.

    There are a substantial number of tourists who get shitfaced here, and they are the ones who have trouble. Locals, rarely- even the chronic alcoholics, in the main,-dont drive after drinking, dont get into fights, and dont go tease large toothy animals (as a loop did very recently, throwing stones at a guard-dog that had a longer leash than she expected.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    What you guys have missed is that the police can already arbitrarily lock someone up for the night.

    Not legally they can’t (s22 BORA for those playing along at home.)

    In general, arguments that start `let’s lock more people up’ are basically horrible horrible ideas that will lead to horrible outcomes. In some very specific cases, they aren’t. This is not, as far as I can tell, one of them.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • vangam, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    I'm not proposing that they arrest everyone, just that anyone they do arrest for fighting in public be locked up for the night instead of just being warned

    Are you saying the police arrest people for violent offences and then let them go with a warning? Doesn't sound like any police force I've heard of.

    Just admit it Mathew, you cant seriously defend the 'arrest more people' as a solution to this perceived problem. Just as 'suspend more liquor licenses' wont work - unless of course you want to lock young people out of bar work. Expecting 19 and 20 yr olds to 'police' 40yr old and 50yr old patrons is not only unworkable but also very unfair.

    Unlike you, I think we are seeing changes as a result of behavioural campaigns. It is just that these things take years. The attitudes of the young folks these days is much less tolerant of drunken behaviour than it was 20yrs ago.

    Rangiora • Since Jun 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Meanwhile on Courtenay Place

    Johnston St, actually: not the usual haunt of munterdom, but it's near the Stadium and it was Sevens weekend.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to DexterX,

    I am not sure it would have the “desired” outcome.

    Yeah, that's not desirable in the least. I was aiming to steer things further leftfield and hopefully provoke some ideas more akin to Hans Monderman's innovative traffic control solutions in Oudehaske.

    In doing so I flagrantly ignored a number of his maxims:

    “When government takes over the responsibility from citizens, the citizens can’t develop their own values anymore,”

    “When you treat people like idiots, they’ll behave like idiots.”

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Islander,

    b)drink as much water as you do drink booze-

    Thanks for mentioning that Islander…I didn’t stumble upon that chestnut until well into my twenties, strange that it never made one of those ALAC ads up to that point ..

    …Perhaps more drinking fountains in popular drinking spots….

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

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