Parks Should be Alcohol-Free For Protection of Families

Media Release 7 July 2015
Family First NZ is concerned with proposed alcohol ban laws in Auckland which require communities to have to prove that public parks should be alcohol-free based on evidence and harm.

“It should not be up to local residents to have to police and monitor unruly or drunken behaviour in order to prove that public parks should be alcohol-free. The alcohol-free status is a preventative message that has protected children and families. There are many places to consume alcohol but public parks surrounded by residential housing and playgrounds and schools are not appropriate places,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The speed limit applies to all roads regardless of evidence as to whether drivers are speeding on that road. It is a public safety issue. That has been the approach with public park drinking bans. It’s about safety first. Local boards should be empowered to identify at-risk areas.”

Family First is asking Auckland City Council to challenge the political decision to make alcohol-free areas subject to this requirement which places the onus on the residents.

“Communities want to be proactive because there is plenty of evidence of the harms done to local communities when alcohol is abused in public places. Alcohol bans in sensitive areas such as playgrounds and residential reserves prevents offensive behaviour associated with being intoxicated from being normalised and in some cases, glorified. It means that families are not confronted with unacceptable behaviour and intoxication. It also means that the results of public drunkenness including offensive behaviour, vomiting, vandalism, street brawls, and littering does not become the burden of the local community,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“The laws should protect families first and foremost. That should be the default setting.”

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