On the spot - take action immediately
Stopping someone from getting behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking could save their life and the lives of innocent others.
If it is an emergency - call 111 and provide the details to emergency services.
If it is safe to do so, take their keys off them and offer to find them a safe ride home.
If the risk of drink driving is associated with a licensed premise - advise the licensee or duty manager of the risk and remind them of their duties to support safe transport options.
If the person has been drinking on a licensed premise and appears intoxicated then report the incident to the local licensing team and/or Police. See the Licensing section for more information.
Be a positive role model
Always drive sober and encourage members of your family/whanau to do likewise.
If you are hosting a family/whanau gathering or event, be a responsible host – e.g. make it alcohol-free, or have a range of alcohol-free options available, arrange a place for people to stay or a safe ride home if they’ve been drinking. See Places and Events for more information on planning events.
Spread the word
Take opportunities as they arise to discuss drink-driving, its risks and consequences with your family/whanau.
Develop some safety protocols/kawa with your family/whanau. These can focus on how to avoid the risks of drinking and driving, and having a plan to get home safely should that be necessary.
Start a group or if you are already part of a group or network you can plan initiatives to reduce drinking and driving in your community.
For more information on doing this see Mobilising Others
Assist people to get the help they need
If you have any concerns about someone you know who is drinking and driving assist them or their family to get professional help.
Help can be reached at your GP/local medical centre, school counsellor or local Community Alcohol and Drug Service.
The Alcohol and Drug Helpline is a useful starting point for anyone who has concerns about their own or others drinking. They will be able to support you towards the best course of action and local services including youth services - 0800 787 797.
Change the wider environment to change our drinking culture
Take action on environmental factors which support low-risk drinking. For example, foster and mobilise others to:
Drink driving doesn't just harm the driver - passengers and other road users are often involved in alcohol-related road deaths and injuries.
For every 100 alcohol or drug-impaired drivers or riders who die in road crashes, 47 of their passengers and 16 sober road users die with them.
The risk of crashing increases with the amount of alcohol in the blood at the time of driving. Road traffic crashes involving alcohol are more likely to result in death or severe injuries.
The number of convicted drink-drive offences has declined in recent years. Despite the downward trend, the number of repeat or multiple offenders remains high.
“Like alcohol is easily accessible to buy and get, see coming from Mangere and Southside,
there is a liquor store in every corner especially in Otara, also they look at social media
like American gangs, American rap, they see and follow that hip hop culture, but the problem is that the youth are no knowing what their own culture is you know,
they are just following what the media portrays and they conform to it…stink buzz” (Fehoko, 2014)
Alcohol can be a sensitive issue in church as it links to its consequences such as intoxication, violence and sexual abuse.
Please take into account of both the biblical and religious context around alcohol
as these are the core beliefs and values of every churches.
You also need to understand and appreciate the importance of those beliefs and mission of a church.
Health promotion programmes delivered in Pacific church setting are recommended to [49,50]:
- be culturally appropriate and holistic;
- be flexible in term of design inorder to cater for the diverse needs of Pacific ethnic groups;
- be based on the stories and narratives that are integral to the life of each Pacific community;
- have a working partnership between Pacific communities and service providers/goverenment
- take into account the wide range of harms created by alcohol misuse in the Pacific community;
- involve consultation with the whole Pacific community, including church and community leaders and youth.
"Alcohol is not a traditional part of the Pacific islands’ culture.
It was introduced to the Pacific by Western visitors such as whalers, traders and sailors, and rapidly adopted by Pacific men."
(Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand & Ministry of Health, 1997)
There are fewer Pacific people who drink alcohol than Europeans and Māori. However, those who drink tend to drink hazardously.
In 2013, 7 in 10 Pacific people said they were associated with a religion or a religious group. Pacific people have strong social and cultural ties with their family, churches and community. Active involvement in church protects young Pacific people from binge drinking.
Church is a good setting to engage Pacific people and improve their health.
Here's how you can take action to protect our stunning outdoor spaces.
Alcohol-free great outdoors
Terriorial Authorities (local Councils) can implement alcohol bylaws (alcohol bans) in public places, including beaches. Here are some examples:
- In Auckland region, an alcohol ban is in place at Takapuna beach between 9pm to 7 am during daylight savings and between 7pm to 7am outside daylight savings
- Alcohol use is prohibited at Piha (Auckland) beach during certain times of the year (e.g. Labour weekend to after Easter);
- In Nelson, alcohol is prohibited between 9pm to 7am at Tahunanui Reserve Beach and Lions Playground (Tahunanui Reserve)
For more information on alcohol bylaws/bans in public places, please check out the sub-section - Alcohol in public places.
Regional Parks are not currently alcohol-free. Regional Councils do not have the powers to make alcohol bylaws / bans. You could always approach them to create their own policy.
Boating and alcohol
You can be prosecuted for operating a boat in a manner that causes unnecessary danger, under section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act.
If you’ve been drinking, the risks escalate the moment you end up in the water. Alcohol can:
- decrease your coordination and ability to perform a simple task, such as putting on a lifejacket
- increase your sense of disorientation
- make it harder for you to stay afloat
- lower the concentrations of blood going to your brain and muscles, contributing to muscle, heat and fluid loss and speeding up the onset of hypothermia
- reduce your ability to hold your breath
- suppress your airway protection reflexes so you are more likely to inhale water
- give you a false sense of your situation, causing you to attempt tasks beyond your abilities; and reduce your awareness of the onset of hypothermia.
Many New Zealanders consume alcohol in outdoor public places.
There may be bans on alcohol consumption in some outdoor spaces, in certain times of the day or year.
Large gatherings of people in outdoor spaces can present risks for alcohol-related harm. This is especially so during festive occasions such as New Year's Eve.
Alcohol use poses high risks at events that involve water-based activities. Impairment begins well below intoxication levels - this is very important to keep in mind.
Alcohol plays a role in New Zealand's horrific drowning statistics.
Alcohol and the great outdoors
New Zealand has amazing outdoor areas (regional parks, beaches, rivers, and lakes, etc.).
Drinking alcohol in these areas present a number of inherent risks to users. Just like local Councils can implement alcohol bans in public places such as beaches, so too can Regional Councils in the parks and open spaces that they manage.
Alcohol use in the great outdoors
When New Zealand drinkers were asked about the locations that they drank alcohol (in 2007/08), around 15% of past-year drinkers reported drinking in outdoor public places .
Alcohol use at beaches
As stated above, many beaches may have alcohol bans which prohibit drinking in certain times of the day or year.
Binge drinking may occur in the great outdoors, especially when there are gatherings of many people. .
Excessive use of alcohol in public places may cause significant alcohol-related problems and public disorder especially during festive occasions such as New Year's Eve . Alcohol-related problems have also occurred on National Crate Day in previous years:
- In 2016, there were 29 arrests, 6 people were treated for lacerations on their feet caused by broken bottles, and one person was hospitalised for alcohol poisoning .
- In 2015, a police riot squad was called to Manly Beach (also in Hibiscus Coast, Auckland), where over 300 people were drinking, to restore order.
In 2017, the Police decided to impose a temporary alcohol ban on the parks and beaches of the Hibiscus Coast over the first weekend of December, in order to prevent the problems of previous years.
Alcohol use and water sports
Alcohol use may pose certain risks when performing outdoor activities. Impairment begins well below intoxication levels - this is very important to keep in mind.
Alcohol use is a risk factor in drowning, with the risk increasing as blood alcohol content increases . Drinking is associated with a 10-fold increase in reckless behaviour such as the violation of safety rules and swimming in unauthorised areas . Blood alcohol levels of 100mg/dl (BAC 0.10) or greater increases the risk of drowning by 16 times .
Between 2008 and 2012, 13% of all drowning deaths were alcohol-related. This equates to 71 lives. Alcohol is considered to be a factor in poor supervision of children who have drowned .
More than half of these occurred during swimming, fishing and accidentally falling into water . Higher rates are particularly found among Māori, Pacifica, males and young adults [60, 64].
Drinking on boats causes around three deaths each year in New Zealand .
Alcohol is also implicated in land-based fishing drownings, paddle-sports fatalities and underwater activities [66-69].
Skippers of recreational boats are not bound by a legal blood alcohol limit.
The economic cost of a fatal drowning is estimated at $3.4 million .
There is limited data on alcohol-related non-fatal drownings, near drownings and other aquatic injuries.