Six weeks ago a South Auckland convenience store owner was violently attacked and bled to death from a gun-shot wound.
The government promptly deduced that obviously this was caused by the quantity of alcohol readily available to South Aucklanders, and clearly the only way to stop these terrible acts of violence is to control South Auckland’s liquor supply.
In fact, they further deduced that the real issue that’s causing tragedies like this is the size of the store, and now have just drafted new legislation that stores selling alcohol must be at least 150 sqm in size.
Because we all know, it’s not what we’re drinking, but the size of the store that’s causing the problems.
Seriously, who was the dumbass that came up with this?
The government’s reasoning seems to be that the increase in violence is due to the profilation of family-run South Auckland liquor stores poisoning communities by offering cheap liquor. I don’t quite understand this, because these stores can never compete with local alcohol franchises such as Liquor King, and supermarkets (who often sell wine and beer at a loss to attract customers).
What The Sale and Supply of Liquor and Liquor Enforcement Bill does accomplish is to drive small family-owned stores out of business, and instead send consumers to cheap alcohol galore at warehouse-styled King Dicks, and Liquor King outlets.
Introducing legislation to control people’s liquor consumption is a naive and undemocratic attempt to curb crime It is a prime example of policy gone wrong by treating the symptom rather than the problem.
Without doubt alcohol is a contributing factor to crime. However, attempting to restrict when and from where people obtain it from won’t help. Even banning it won’t stop consumption. Take the alcohol prohibition experiment in the US, which lasted 13 years before authorities finally abandoned it. It filled prisons, inspired contempt for the law and bred corruption. What it did not do was keep people from drinking.
What we should be doing is determining the underlying causes that drive people to abuse alcohol. And the sad answer to that is usually unhealthy childhoods and families. Kids growing up in an environment where it’s uncool to do well in school, but cool to beat up those that do. It’s kids growing up in an unloving home where domestic abuse is common. The end result is individuals with no self esteem, and a general bitterness towards the world, which only several pints of beer will momentarily tame.
Instead of spending a good chunk of my money on policing my fellow citizen’s drinking habits, I suspect a more efficient solution would be to supply contraceptives freely and readily, to punish bad parents, offer an array of scholarships to those in school, and bring back the idea of social responsibility.
But then what do I know, I’m not a politician.