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A groundbreaking approach to addressing and reducing alcohol related harm in the Far North will be trialled in the District for two years from next month.
The Far North District Council, Northland Police and Northland District Health Board Public Health Unit will join forces to provide services under one roof at the council’s new Butler Centre offices in Kerikeri.
The three organisations combine alcohol enforcement, education, and licensing responsibilities and it’s expected they will achieve results in and around on and off-licensed premises and out in the wider community.
The initiative will be project managed by the Alcohol Advisory Council, which will facilitate co-ordinate and evaluate what it describes as “an exciting new way of working in a collective effort to reduce alcohol-related harm”.
Alcohol Advisory Council, Northern Project Manager Shirleyanne Brown says it’s hoped the collaborative approach to dealing with alcohol-related issues will make serious inroads into prevention, enforcement and education around the sale and use of alcohol in our Far North communities.
“We’ll be active throughout the District - educating people about the risks of excessive home drinking, tackling the problem of supply to minors, and dealing with issues around public supply and consumption,” Ms Brown said.
“We believe this interagency approach will enable us to work more effectively to promote and ensure host responsibility and the reduction of alcohol-related harm.”
Northland Police District Commander Superintendent Mike Rusbatch said that between 50 and 70 percent of all police work has a connection with the misuse or abuse of alcohol.
"This initiative provides a powerful opportunity to work in an integrated way as a multi-disciplinary team to reduce alcohol related harm and make Northland safer."
Far North District Council Chief Executive Clive Manley said the council was pleased to take a lead role in the initiative by providing a place for representatives of the three organisations to work together.
“The integrated and collaborative approach to managing alcohol-related issues is known to work and has already had success with such things as alcohol accords, interagency controlled purchase operations and public education campaigns,” he said.
“Now we want to build on this through even closer collaboration among the core agencies; we think this will improve and extend the function and delivery of existing projects and initiatives related to alcohol issues.”
The new team will be based alongside the council’s development consents department in Kerikeri but will work around the mid and Far North within agency premises at Kaikohe and Kaitaia as required.
The Pilot Project will be launched at the Community Room, Proctor Library, Kerikeri with a short ceremony on May 26 at 12noon.