Cruising, boozing culture under scrutiny

Gore's cruising and boozing culture came under the spotlight at a Law Commission hosted meeting held in the town yesterday.

Law Commission representatives hosted the meeting in order to gauge feedback on the Liquor Review Report, which was open for submissions.

Community Network Trust co-ordinator Jill Ware said Gore, like the rest of the country, had an ingrained drinking culture that re-enforced that it was acceptable to drink to excess.

The acceptance of binge drinking was prevalent throughout the community in all age groups, she said.

"To have a good time, that's [drinking to excess] kind of what you do," Mrs Ware said.

While Mrs Ware did not think drink driving was a big issue in the Gore district, she said vehicles were used as a drinking venue for passengers.

Mrs Ware said in cases of excess drinking, the community good had to take precedence over the individual's right to consume large amounts of alcohol, because of the harm and the cost associated with excessive drinking.

Gore district councillor Hugh Gardyne also expressed concern about passengers drinking in cars.

One of the ideas floated was outlawing drinking alcohol in cars.

Several of those present at the meeting did not believe the Gore district had to deal with a lot of the alcohol problems that manifest in larger centres, because the Mataura Licensing Trust, which ran the majority of outlets in the area, had a responsible attitude towards serving and selling liquor.

One of the ideas floated by the commission in the review was to introduce a split-purchase age.

That idea would mean leaving the minimum purchase age for alcohol at on-license outlets at 18 and increasing the age at off-licenses to 20.

"This should help to reduce the supply of alcohol to people under 18 years while still allowing 18 and 19-year-olds the freedom to drink at licensed premises where there are responsible serving practices," the review stated.

However, some of those at the meeting felt that would disadvantage young people who had a responsible attitude to alcohol.

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