Dunedin residents believe underage drinking is the
city's most significant problem, a survey of locals'
attitudes to alcohol has found.
Seventy percent of people responding to a Dunedin City
Council survey identified drinking by people under the age of
18 as more of a significant problem in the city than traffic
crashes, dangerous driving or violent crime.
The survey of members of the council's people's panel also
revealed respondents believed alcohol was too readily
available in Dunedin and the drinking culture was an
unhealthy problem that needed to be addressed, although the
number of off- and on-licences in Dunedin neighbourhoods was
felt to be about right.
Most of the 367 respondents (92%) considered alcohol played a
significant role in physical violence and anti-social
behaviour, and that the negative effects of alcohol were most
strongly linked to bars and pubs, although the most commonly
identified place where alcohol was sold was supermarkets.
Most (60%) thought there should be more restrictions on the
hours alcohol could be sold from grocery stores/dairies, but
felt, on the whole, that current restrictions for
restaurants, sports clubs, bars and bottle stores were
Respondents were equally divided on whether there should be
more restrictions on the hours alcohol could be sold in
Most (67%) said one-way door restrictions should be required
in bars and pubs.
Just over half thought drinking in public places should not
be restricted, but of those that thought it should, most said
the North Dunedin student area was where restrictions should
Council liquor licensing co-ordinator Kevin Mechen said he
had asked for the survey so he could get a feel for the
community's views on alcohol.
The information was only one part of wider research the
council was doing to understand people's views on alcohol,
and would be presented to the new council, along with
information from many other sources, to assist it with
drafting a new local alcohol policy.
Under new legislation, councils can draft their own policies
about the sale and supply of alcohol in their geographical
The local licensing committee will have to consider the
policy when it makes decisions on licence applications.
The 683 members of the council's people's panel - a group
which anyone can register to be part of, and which is
regularly surveyed by the council on issues it seeks opinions
and feedback on - were surveyed on alcohol earlier this year,
with a summary report of the results published on October 23.
Mr Mechen said people's attitudes to alcohol were complex,
and sometimes contradictory, and did not always reflect
The survey showed, for example, that to some extent, people's
views were influenced by their and others' experiences and
the media - 92% of respondents said they became aware of
issues in Dunedin through the media.
He said the survey results would help focus the council's
alcohol policy on the areas of concern, so far as it could
under new legislation.
Councillors would receive an update on progress on the
development of a new local alcohol policy for Dunedin before
the end of the year.
They would also take into consideration, in drafting the
policy, what was happening in other areas of the country,
including Christchurch, where more than 3500 submissions were
recently made on a ''relatively hard-ball'' new local alcohol
policy for that city.
A draft policy, agreed by the council, would be submitted to
the community for comment next year.