TVNZ – Study shows link between buying and bingeing

A new study has found that people with off-licence liquor outlets near their home are more likely to be binge-drinkers.

The University of Otago research comes as the government prepares to introduce its Alcohol Reform Bill to parliament.

The study found binge drinking increases by 4% with each off-licence liquor outlet that opens within a kilometre of a person’s home.

“This association… that we found with off-licences and binge drinking… is a relationship across the whole country. It applies in places with a lot of alcohol outlets and places with few,” lead researcher and Otago University Professor Jennie Connor said.

Most people in urban New Zealand live relatively near one or two liquor outlets, but the study found one area with a massive 39 off-licence liquor outlets within a kilometre.

In the past 20 years, the proportion of alcohol sold by off-licences has risen to 68% of all alcohol sales, up from 59% in 1990.

In that same time, the number of licensed premises has more than doubled from 6295 to 14,183.

And separate new research shows the prevalence of liquor outlets in an area has an impact on crime as well.

A Waikato University researcher Dr Michael Cameron has just finished studying the former Manukau City’s outlet density and found that an additional off-licence outlet was associated with between 10 and 25 additional police events – and an additional two to four motor vehicle accidents.

The research results come as no surprise to those who have been protesting the high number of outlets in their neighbourhoods.
Manukau Alcohol Action Group President, Rebecca Williams, said it’s time to stop the harm caused by binge drinking.

“The more research we have is great, but we already know that this is causing harm so let’s not wait around for more.”

Auckland Super City’s new mayor agrees, saying he is eagerly awaiting new government legislation to tackle the issue.

Len Brown said the number of liquor supply outlets in suburban communities need to be reduced.

The government’s Liquor Reform Bill will be introduced to the house in the next week, with public submissions called for at select committee stage.


Source: TVNZ, 01/11/12