Dunedin council cracks down on drinking

WILMA MCCORKINDALE
Last updated 14:54 19/08/2014

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Dunedin City Council has proposed a suite of changes mainly aimed at its population of boozy young drinkers.

Proposed in the policy now out for consultation are a cluster of discretionary changes, such as earlier closing of bars and outlets, prohibiting the sale of shots, and instilling a one-way door policy where premises will not allow admission after a certain time and those already inside must stay until closing.

Dunedin City Council alcohol licensing officer Kevin Mechen said the policy was aimed at a concerning group of young drinkers, not just the city's high-profile student population, 90 per cent of which was responsible with alcohol.

"It's the young people who have shots and it's young people that cause the mayhem at 3, 4 and 5 in the morning," he said.

But it was only a small number - the hardcore party people - the policy would affect, Mechen said.

He believed the combination of a one-way door policy and a restriction on the serving of shots after midnight would probably have the greatest impact on the target group.

Young patrons could throw back 10 shots in 10 minutes, he said.

"So there's 10 standard drinks just like that on top of what you've drunk earlier."

Alcohol took at least 20 minutes to have full effect on a person's system, he said, adding the proposed changes would slow down that consumption.

Mechen believed the one-way door proposal was the most significant in the policy.

If it was introduced, people could not leave a premises in the early hours and kick on to another bar with friends, he said.

Research showed isolated policies were ineffective in reducing alcohol harm, Mechen said.

"So it had to be a suite of changes that will actually help. It's all about people having fun and getting up the next day and remembering the fun they had."

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