Police issue drinking rules reminder

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 13/08/2014

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This year's school ball season has come with a reminder from police, schools and health providers for parents to talk to their teens about drinking at after-parties.

Students aged under 18 now need a signed permission slip from their parents if they're planning to have a tipple at an after-party following their school ball, or the hosts could be stung with a $2000 fine.

Changes to the Sale and Supply of Liquor Act, which took effect in December, have brought in a raft of reforms, including more rigid requirements for people providing under 18s with alcohol and those hosting parties where minors may be drinking.

Alcohol harm reduction officer Sergeant Jeff Veale said party hosts had to seek a parent or legal guardian's consent before a minor could consume booze at their event, whether it be a signed note or a text.

Police had been working with schools about the changes and officers had also been in contact with party hosts who came to police attention last year to inform them of the new rules and costs if they didn't comply.

"The worst we've had is we've had to attend some parties and just move some people on," Veale said.

"Younger kids are far more aware about the risks around alcohol and what potential harm could happen to them; they're being much more responsible."

Some Manawatu schools have taken proactive steps to ensure parents and pupils knew of the liquor law changes, including Waiopehu College.

The Levin-based high school worked with police to raise awareness of the new legislation, despite schools generally steering clear of post-ball events. Information was sent home to parents and a student committee talked to pupils about after-parties and ensuring they were well-managed.

"We were more involved this year than we previously have been," principal Barry Petherick said.

"It was a matter of making sure everybody was aware of the new requirements and how it could affect them, which meant making it clear to the parents of our students that when the clock strikes midnight, anything beyond that is up to them and out of the school's hands, but there is still a responsibility to make sure the kids are safe."

MidCentral District Health Board also joined the chorus of concerned bodies issuing words of advice to parents and pupils.

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- Manawatu Standard

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