Wednesday, 25 June 2014

We say no A community fights to keep cheap liquor away from local school

Article submitted to the Socialist Aotearoa Blog but not published.

With over 100 liquor outlets in the Mangere Otahuhu area alone it is no surprise that members of the Mangere community were outraged that a liquor licence was granted to a premises opposite a local school. The community responded with a 200 strong demonstration outside Southern Cross campus. Community leaders emphasised that there was very little public consultation by the licensing authorities. Liquor outlets are far more prevalent in working class areas such as Mangere and Otahuhu while being less prominent in more affluent areas where those responsible for issuing liquor licences usually live. As such very little thought is given to the impact that cheap easily accessible liquor has on working class communities where liquor in some places is sold alongside basic commodities such as bread and milk.
The negative impact of having a Liquor outlet opposite a school is twofold first of all students are exposed to liquor advertising as the pass the outlet and secondly older students are likely to skip school and acquire Liquor directly or indirectly (south Auckland liquor outlets are notorious for selling to under-age customers.)
The major issue here is local democracy community members need to have the power to stop commercial endeavours can have a negative impact on the well-being of community members such decisions must be in the hands of those who will be exposed to the negative effects of increased access to liquor and should not be left in the hands of a small elite from outside the community.

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