Would restricting access to alcohol reduce violent crime?
Police hope a beer bottle that put a 65-year-old woman in Tauranga Hospital intensive care at the weekend will lead to an arrest.
Tauranga CIB head Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner said the bottle that hit Mary Loader in the face, leaving her with devastating injuries, had been sent to Environmental Science and Research for forensic examination.
"I remain hopeful that we might get a result towards the end of the next week but...we are pushing on with inquiries to find who may be responsible," he said.
Mrs Loader remains in stable, but serious condition at hospital after the beer bottle was thrown at her from a moving car containing about four young men while she walked along Domain Rd in suburban Papamoa at 8.20 am Saturday.
Her family said it was a senseless act which left her almost unrecognisable.
Mrs Loader had surgery to put metal plates in her face and doctors put her into an induced coma to improve her chances of recovery.
Her daughter Vicky said her mother was in surgery for three hours as surgeons inserted five plates to hold together her shattered face bones.
The impact of the bottle left a deep gash between her eyes, another between the nose and top lip, shattered cheekbones and a broken nose.
Vicky Loader doubted the four young people in the car realised what they had done.
It was "a mindless act that caused so much devastation," she said.
Mr Turner said earlier he hoped at least one of the occupants of the car had a conscience and would contact police, but said help from the public was crucial to tracking down the vehicle.
He said police had received numerous phone calls, but no leads.
Though she was able to talk to St John Ambulance staff at the scene, police said her condition worsened on the way to Tauranga Hospital.
"What they've done to her is terrible. We walk in and we don't recognise her anymore as our mother. She's black and blue and she's in terrible discomfort," Mrs Loader's daughter Vicky told 3 News.
"This was a senseless, unprovoked act that has resulted in an innocent woman suffering horrific injuries."
Palms Garden Centre owner Sandy Dugan said she saw Mrs Loader being helped by ambulance staff. "She was in agony, it made me very upset when I saw her face covered in blood. I've never seen so much blood."
Mrs Dugan remembered seeing people from two cars parked nearby who may have seen the attack.
Tauranga Hospital spokeswoman Carol Garden said Mrs Loader remained in a serious condition last night.
LAW CHANGE NEEDED
Mr Turner said senseless acts of violence would continue until law changes restrict access to alcohol.
He said alcohol-fuelled incidents similar to what had happened to Mrs Loader were all too common.
"It is going to continue until this country gets control of alcohol and young people. I am sick and tired of chasing people that are drinking to excess, and in an environment which allows them to drink to three and five in the morning to excess.
"I am sick and tired of having to then commit myself and my staff to extensive enquiries to apprehend offenders."
Mr Turner said the incident was devastating for Mrs Loader and her family.
"The key to it is the alcohol legislation and as long as we allow young people to buy alcohol cheaply, and as long as we allow young people to legally drink to five in the morning to excess, we are going to see this occur."
He said the problem in Tauranga was bars shutting at 3am.
A few years ago when bars shut at 10pm people could go out for a good night and police did not see the mindless violence now prevalent.
He hoped at least one of the occupants of the car had a conscience and would contact police but said help from the public was crucial to tracking down the vehicle.