How quaint that a public debate on alcohol culture in New Zealand is taking place at the same time as Auckland mayor Len Brown’s desperate attempt at clearing up the CBD of drunken revelers.
He adventured, like intrepid and toffish pioneers before him, in to the city centre last month, accompanied by a film crew. He no doubt unveiled all kinds of distasteful behaviours. Word is out on whether the young hooligans on display performing uncouth actions and thinking impure thoughts were exaggerating for the camera.
His wide-eyed gaping at piles of vomit in bus stops, his subversion of popular opinion over the V8 Supercars, and pompous plans for a taxpayer-funded rail link prompt serious worries that the mayor is out of touch.
His latest plot, implemented just a few weeks ago, attempts to curb the rambunctious behaviour of CBD revelers in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Some ideas are of the sensible variety, like the one-way door policy pinched from Christchurch (when it had bars and a CBD). Others aren’t so flash, like the ban on liquor stores selling single bottles of beer or RTDs.
The first issue to take with this plan is that store owners are being punished for simply running a business.
Our problems with alcohol are a cultural issue, and a relationship with drinking that leans towards the self-medication end of the scale rather than the social-enhancer we’d like to imagine it is.
The second issue is a little more subversive.
Go to any liquor store worth its salt, and you’ll find cooler upon cooler stacked with stunning examples of New Zealand’s ability to brew expertly-crafted beer. From Three Boys, to Hallertau, to Renaissance, to no.8 Wired, and beyond.
Craft beer in New Zealand is a rapidly growing niche market, and its buyers are being caught in the cross-fire.
So Len Brown’s magnificent plotting has gone awry, largely because it works on paper but not in practice: most liquor stores won’t sell single-bottle mainstream beers or RTDs, and those inclined to behave in obscene ways are not the same people buying liquor by the singles – they’re buying 12-packs of Woodstock before ‘pre-loading’
It’s hard to fault Mr Brown’s moral standing on the issue, but both his one-off expedition in to the jungles of Youthdom, and his subsequent policies show a misunderstanding of the issues at hand.
Yes, Len, why don’t you stigmatise your electorate some more? But of course! Not only are young people all criminals, they are also promiscuous and prone to aborting babies, wracked with STD’s, and have vile addictions to synthetic cannabis. They also put nonsensical graffiti up on every empty street and urinate on shop doorsteps.
The drinking age may be put up to 20, but 18-year olds can still vote.Soon, thousands of young people will converge on Pukekohe for the V8s. Let’s see if the marketing execs at Jack Daniels Racing, Jim Beam Racing, and the Canadian Club-sponsored Bottle-O Racing have done their job, and just what Len Brown thinks about his own political aptitude then.
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