Child Youth and Family (CYF) has launched an urgent investigation following the video of a drunk nine-year-old at a Hamilton skate park.
Bradley Goudie, 18, uploaded a video online which showed the boy at Fairfield Skate Park in Clarkin Rd on Tuesday afternoon with a can of Cody's Bourbon and Cola - 7 per cent alcohol.
The boy, who struggles to stand and slurs his speech, says "I've been drunk before". He also says he was given alcohol by his aunt.
"The video is shocking and we are as appalled as everyone else," CYF general manager Nova Salomen said.
"Giving children alcohol or any other drug is illegal, irresponsible and highly dangerous. This boy was in a vulnerable state when he was filmed."
She said CYF would not be releasing any more information about the boy or his family.
POLICE DEFEND ACTION
Earlier, police had refuted claims they failed to act fast enough and honour a request from Goudie following the incident.
Goudie said he was so shocked by the apparent drunkenness of the boy that he turned his camera on him and exposed what he considered one of the biggest issues in New Zealand - underage drinking.
When he had stopped filming, he immediately rang the police.
"We indicated to them that it was serious, that there was an 8-year-old boy drunk at the skate park, no safety gear, no nothing."
Police told him they would go and investigate and call him back with an outcome. However, Waikato police spokesman Andrew McAlley said there was no mention of a call back in the exchange.
He said an officer was at the park ten minutes after receiving the call and the boy was found at his home nearby soon afterward.
Goudie said he didn't hear anything back from police.
"I would sort of expect a more urgent response because a child's life was in danger," he said.
"That's when we decided to put the video [online]." Goudie said he would not have released the video if police had acted hard and fast, and communicated that to him.
McAlley said it was not police practice to make return calls after receiving an emergency call unless it was specifically requested or in relation to welfare matters.
Police also went to three different houses on Tuesday night looking for people in relation to the incident.
The first calls received from Goudie's YouTube video came in at 1.20pm on Wednesday.
The video had 408,000 views at 9.20am today.
Inspector Greg Nicholls, city commander for Hamilton police, said Goudie had further victimised the boy by posting the footage online.
"While police are grateful the cameraman rang 111, we feel the boy's interests would have been better served had he provided the footage to police or CYFS, rather than further victimise the child by publishing the footage.''
Nicholls said police had contacted YouTube parent company Google to remove the footage but also made a plea with Goudie that he take it down himself.
But Goudie thinks that the issue needs exposure, and he meant no harm in posting it."Early investigations suggest there is no culpability on his part . . . morally I plead with him to do the right thing."
"It's hard to say really. What do you do? Do you take it down and hide the issue or do you leave it there so that more people see it and more people think about it?
"My intention was for someone in NZ to see it and do something beyond my power."
Even if he took his video down, the footage had gone viral.
CALL TO TAKE ACTION
The video has been described as "shocking and appalling" by a top alcohol and drug counsellor.
Alcohol and Drug Assessment and Counselling clinical manager Roger Brooking said authorities needed to take action over the incident.
"The police should be called and that kid should be taken off his parents or whoever's looking after him and be placed in the care of social welfare."
He said whoever gave the boy alcohol should face criminal charges.
Police were still investigating who was responsible for supplying the liquor, Nicholls said. A brother and aunt mentioned in the video were not related to the boy.
In the video, the boy brags he has consumed 18 cans of the premixed Bourbon and Cola, however Nicholls said it was eight cans, along with two shots of liqueur.
"However many he drank is far too many . . . one is too many," Nicholls said.
"The young boy was very ill (on Tuesday) night; so much so that calling an ambulance was considered."
Under new liquor laws, the person who provided the alcohol can face a maximum fine of $2000.
"The spirit of the legislation around the supplying of alcohol to minors never envisaged an adult supplying alcohol to a 9-year-old child."
Child Matters founder Anthea Simcock said a crime had been committed and appropriate action should be taken.
The boy had been returned to his mother, who police said was "extremely distraught" to find her son in such a state.
But the boy's father said he wanted his son to live with him.
The man had been going through a custody battle with his former partner and hadn't seen the boy in six months.
He said it was "heart-wrenching" to see the video of his son online yesterday. "What I want to do is get my kids and pick them up."
It was the boy's birthday on Tuesday, he said.
"I was just shocked. Why wasn't the boy at home on his birthday with his family? It's got to be stopped, this kind of stuff."
He said he had contacted CYF and a lawyer to help him.
Goudie said while he felt bad that the boy had been victimised, he had no regrets as the issue had finally got some attention.
"It had to be done, really...Someone's got to say, it if no-one says it it's just going to get worse and I'm only one person saying it, but look what it's done.
- Waikato Times
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