Aucklanders perform worse on alcohol-related harm

A check on the harms of alcohol shows Aucklanders perform worse than the rest of New Zealanders on three counts.

The assessment by agencies committed to reducing alcohol-related harm shows:

* The rate of alcohol-related crashes for Auckland drivers is 28 per cent above the national rate

* Eight per cent of adult Auckland drinkers consume more than eight drinks in a typical session, compared to a national average of 6.5 per cent

* Hospital admissions that can be attributed to alcohol in Auckland are 11 per cent higher than the national rate.

Alcohol Healthwatch director Rebecca Williams said the assessment, made public today, was deeply concerning and reinforced the need for action to reduce alcohol harm.

"We wanted to share the findings with Aucklanders so they were more aware of the issues, and could all be part of creating a safer, healthier city.

She said young people in Auckland were New Zealand's heaviest drinkers.

"We have larger numbers of late-trading liquor outlets -- per 100,000 population 15 years-plus -- than there are nationally, and until the end of last year these were allowed to operate 24/7.

"Liquor outlets have also been allowed to concentrate in parts of the city and this influences things like opening hours, exposure to alcohol advertising and pricing -- all linked to harm outcomes and increased vulnerability of some population groups."

She said it was important that the information from the assessment was taken into account in the current deliberations over Auckland's local alcohol policy.

The provisions for local alcohol policies in the 2012 alcohol legislation provided some tools to reduce the availability and accessibility of alcohol. They were a "golden opportunity" to reduce alcohol-related harm in Auckland.


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