Lessons from a reformed drunken lout

Last updated 10:00 24/01/2014
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: It is time to introduce legislation with teeth to change the excessive booze culture of this nation, writes Andrew Toulson.

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Changing the Kiwi booze culture

Drink drivers: Who do you think you are? 'Alcohol is not a drug, it is a poison' Alcohol's part of a bigger problem for NZ Boozing is trashy, we need to grow up I'm 19 and I don't drink. Ever. Make drunkenness socially unacceptable Alcohol not only way to enjoy life I've seen the 'social devastation' of alcohol Lessons from a reformed drunken lout Binge drinking shows 'immaturity'

We so often hear of yet another news item of a party hijacked by drunken louts which then turns into an alcohol-fuelled stand off with police.

Inevitably destruction of private property, or injury, is a result of this antisocial behaviour.

A hundred and fifty years ago the consequences of such behaviour would have been a good whipping followed by a period of time in the stocks, the said offender contemplating the error of their ways while the general populace pelted them with rotten fruit and veges.

In this enlightened age the judiciary, after ordering all sorts of evaluations at the cost of thousands of dollars to the taxpayer, tells them what a naughty person they are and if the judge ever sees them in court again they shall be slapped over the hand with a wet bus ticket.

This convoluted, expensive and pathetic punishment to the crime is just not working.

People say education is the answer to the problem. To that I say bollocks.

We can talk and educate until we are blue in the face but without real and painful consequences to the drunk's actions nothing will change.

My 19-year-old nephew (who has seen this article and endorsedit) was an antisocial car hoon. Every weekend off he would go with his mates to wreck another stretch of country road along with another 200 fellow morons.

His change of behaviour was not due to the education he received about the dangers to both himself and other innocent road uses,  but due to three significant factors that directly impacted his lifestyle.

1. He became sick of the inconvenience of not having a car to drive after having it yet again impounded for another 28 days.

2. Having a car but no licence to drive it.

3. Coming to the realisation that an excess of $6000 worth of fines and court costs would have been better off in his pocket rather than the Government's coffers. 

On realisation of said consequences he is now no longer an antisocial car hoon.

Taking the lessons of the above and applying them to the excessive booze culture that is the norm in a large slice of New Zealand society, the only way to modify the excessive boozers behaviour without penalising the moderate responsible drinker is to hit them where it really hurts, their wallet.

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So, I propose the following:

1. Increase the tax on booze immediately by 200 per cent and make home brew kits expensive to buy. The moderate drinker won't mind the extra $5 but the excessive drinker will mind the extra $100.

2. Introduce instant fines for public drunkenness to be paid on the spot by mobile Eftpos machines or credit card. If they can afford to get wasted in public they can afford to pay for the consequences.

3. Introduce a hospital administration charge of $5000 for the admission of patients as a direct result of the excessive consumption of alcohol by the patient, to be paid before leaving the hospital. Doctors have stated over and over again that drunks are clogging up A and E with the resultant huge expense and inconvenience to the responsible taxpayer.

Along with the right of the individual comes the social responsibility to that right. When the negative consequences of excessive drinking constantly outweigh the temporary pleasure of being wasted, along with the resulting social carnage, personal behaviour will change.

Now all we need is a government that has the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the alcohol industry, grab the bull by the horns and introduce legislation with teeth to change the excessive booze culture of this nation.

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