July 06, 2022
Booze shop gauntlet for Otara tamariki
It’s Dry July, when people are encouraged to go alcohol-free for the month – and give some of the money they save to support cancer patients, their families and carers.
Getting into the spirit, parliament’s ballot tin coughed up a bill by Green MP Chloe Swarbrick that would ban alcohol-related sponsorship of sports and get rid of a special appeals process that has allowed booze sellers to thwart council efforts to limit the number of outlets in an area.
Otara Māori warden Dave Ratu, whose claims are before the Waitangi Tribunal, says it’s an admirable first step to addressing waipiro harm, but even stronger moves are needed.
He says problems caused by alcohol are getting worse in low socioeconomic areas like South Auckland where communities don’t have the resources to fight new liquor licences, even when they allow outlets hard up against schools and kohanga.
“I’m arguing that sensitive sites include kohanga reo, Kura kaupapa, wharekura, primary schools, churches. If you go down Dawson Rd in Otara there are five liquor outlets and bottle stores. Our tamariki mokopuna have to walk past those places to go to school and past them to go home. There is an inequity,” he says.
Dave Ratu says even while communities rally against more outlets, the government is considering changes to the 2012 Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act which will again allow dairies and superettes to sell alcohol.