Many communities are taking action to address drinking in public places. Here's how you can take action.
It will be helpful if you, and any of your neighbours who are concerned about the problem, gather as much information as you can.
Such information includes:
- date and time of any incident(s)
- any details of the incident – describing what happened and where, and especially how you know it is related to alcohol
- what action you have taken
- any other information that you think would assist a response
Keeping an accurate log of any alcohol-related incidents can also assist you in taking action.
- Distribute an alcohol incident log to your neighbours and ask them to record any incidents that they observe.
Report any incidents to the appropriate authority – this is generally the Police. It can be useful to inform the local Council as well, particularly if the problems are related to noise, graffiti and other vandalism.
Make sure everyone logs the incident/s as alcohol-related and maintain your records. These will come in handy if you need to make an objection to a licence application or a submission on alcohol control bylaw or Local Alcohol Policy
If you personally know the people causing the problems and feel confident approaching them, you may discuss the problem. Choose a time when the situation is calm. You can make them aware of the impact their behaviour has on you and others.
Your local council may already have an Alcohol Control Bylaw currently in place – this means that some parts of your district already have alcohol restrictions for public places. You can check your council’s website or contact them to find out.
If the area of your concern is included in the existing bylaw then you may wish to ask the Council to check the signage and also to ask the Police about monitoring of the area.
This is where an alcohol incident log will come in handy. Share your incident log with the Council.
The information you gather in your community can also be considered by District Licensing Committees when they are considering applications for new and renewals of licences for alcohol outlets in the vicinity. In licensing terms these matters are particularly relevant to the impact of alcohol on the amenity and good order of the locality. Click here to read our section on Licensing
If the public place you are concerned about is not included in the current bylaw then you can request that it is.
Contact your local council’s policy team who will be able to advise you on how to do this and what they require from you. Information on alcohol policies and bylaws can usually be found on the Council’s website.
Talk with your neighbours, local schools, Marae, sports clubs etc, and ask them about any concerns they have. Ask if they would support a request for an alcohol ban in the area.
You can contact your local councillor or Local/Community board member/s to discuss your concerns. You may wish do this in person and/or to put this in writing. This will allow you to gather their support for the alcohol ban. They might consider holding a public meeting to discuss concerns.
Host a neighbourhood meeting to discuss the issues and support for different options.
If you have a Neighbourhood Support group, Residents Association, or other similar group active in your area make contact with them. If not, you might like to start a group.
Make a submission – if there is an Alcohol Control Bylaw consultation occurring in your district then you can make a submission to the Council.
Circulate a flyer, social media post, etc to your friends and neighbours advising them of the consultation process and encourage them to make a submission as well. Don’t forget to tell them when the deadline for submissions is. You can send them a template or link them to this site if they need assistance.
It may be appropriate to speak to local media to highlight the problems and generate wider consideration of these, please visit the Communications section.
It is possible to make spaces alcohol-free without creating a liquor/alcohol ban or Alcohol Control Bylaw.
Obviously restrictions that are not in a policy or bylaw would not be enforceable by the regulatory authorities. However, the owners of the spaces can still ask that no alcohol is brought into or consumed in the space.
Contact the owners or other people/members responsible for the space and ask them if they have considered making it an alcohol-free area. If you have any evidence of alcohol-related issues take this with you.
If you are a member of a club or group that uses a space put a motion to the committee or group members.
If it is a Council-managed space/venue, ask to address a community safety or similar committee and make a proposal to them.
Seek support from others prior to doing this so that you can demonstrate that this is something that would be valued.