Alcohol-fuelled violence in the Octagon and its link to
Parliament will be discussed at this month's Howard League
dinner in Dunedin, to be headlined by former prime minister
and leading legislator Sir Geoffrey Palmer.
The Otago branch of the Howard League has been raising
awareness of appropriate alternatives to prison sentences
since its establishment two and a-half years ago.
The public dinner on October 31 will help the continuation of
the debate on crime, punishment and rehabilitation.
Sir Geoffrey's presentation will focus on the struggle to
regulate alcohol in New Zealand.
He was chairman of the New Zealand Law Commission from 2005
to 2010, during which time it made recommendations to change
Dunedin lawyer Anne Stevens, of the Howard League, said
alcohol was a catalyst for crime and Sir Geoffrey could
provide an insight into why the Government ignored
recommendations for alcohol reform which had the potential to
curb violence and other offending.
She said there were many people working in criminal law and
associated professions who were passionate about the need to
address serious societal problems resulting from alcohol
The huge number of young people injured in Dunedin's Octagon
was an example of the direct harm alcohol caused, she said.
''New Zealand has a culture of irresponsible drinking and
alcohol is integral to most offending because people lose
their judgement when drunk. Defence lawyers like me should
have T-shirts which say `sponsored by the liquor industry'.''
Mrs Stevens said it was a coup to have Sir Geoffrey speak at
the dinner and to be part of a preliminary panel discussion
earlier in the day at the University of Otago.
It will involve Sir Geoffrey debating the topic of severing
the link between alcohol and prison. Other panel members will
be Prof Jennie Connor, Major Campbell Roberts and Jarrod
Anyone was welcome to attend the hour-long discussion
starting at midday in the Burns 2 lecture theatre, Mrs
A dinner will be held afterwards at the Savoy.
During the evening two ink drawings by an Otago Corrections
Facility prisoner will be auctioned and Dunedin group Valley
Bluegrass will perform.
Anyone interested in either event can contact Mrs Stevens by