Alcohol 'no excuse' for bad behaviour

Last updated 05:00 26/12/2013

HANGOVER: Do New Zealand's booze laws focus on the right things?

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New Zealand does have a booze problem. The peace in my town is regularly disrupted by young, intoxicated people shouting profanities, smashing letterboxes and throwing bottles.

There is a culture of excessive drinking, to the point of disablement.

However, I believe the biggest problem we have is not the alcohol, but the laws around it. Too many times I read that someone has been excused from their bad behaviour because they were drunk, and therefore unable to make good decisions.

This kind of excuse needs to be thrown away. People chose to drink, and at that moment they are making a choice that affects their later behaviour. 

We should raise the penalties for antisocial, violent and destructive behaviours for people who are intoxicated. If some drunk idiot smashes your mailbox, punish them, don't let them off. Teach people that when they choose to put that drug in their system, they better make sure they behave well afterwards.

Crash a car sober? That's bad. Crash a car drunk? That is worse. Kill someone? No excuse. That is murder, and it was from the moment the person put the alcohol into their mouth.

Stop teaching people they can opt out of responsibility.

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