A question.

July 21st, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

He [Peters] also announced a new policy to tackle binge drinking and drug taking.

“We propose, to the degree that it could cause serious harm to themselves, or someone else, it will be an offence to be drunk or seriously drug affected in a public place, or while trespassing on private property,” with offenders paying fines of up to $2000 or three months in prison.

Would this policy apply to someone who say drank wine for six hours at GPK Bar in Takapuna, and then on the way home pulled down his trousers and pissed on a tree?

Is Winston saying that someone in such a situation should be eligible to go into prison for three months?

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21 Responses to “A question.”

  1. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Did you miss the bit that said ‘to the degree that it could cause serious harm to themselves, or someone else’? It’s such a large out that it makes the policy a bit nonsensical anyway.

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  2. Ross Miller (1,704 comments) says:

    David … stop taking the piss out of Winston (and Williams). Putting him in front of a TV camera is akin to letting an alcoholic loose in a Brewery.

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  3. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    I apologise in advance for some all caps that is to follow – but the wowsers are starting to really piss me off on this issue.

    BEING DRUNK IS NOT IN ITSELF BAD.

    ENGAGING IN SHIT BEHAVIOUR WHILE YOU ARE DRUNK / BECAUSE YOU ARE DRUNK IS BAD.

    It’s time to stop blaming alcohol for the shit behaviour of some drunks, and start blaming those drunks for their own actions.

    Make drunkenness an aggravating factor in sentencing for any actual CRIME committed.

    We already have a pretty comprehensive list of what behaviour constitutes an actual crime.

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  4. Nuwanda (83 comments) says:

    “It’s such a large out that it makes the policy a bit nonsensical anyway.”

    No, it’s the opposite. That’s why it’s such a draconian idea. You’ll have the state deciding what constitutes serious harm in an almost limitless number of situations. You’ll also need to breathalyse offenders, won’t you? How can you say that behaviour is drug or alcohol related unless you prove that the person is indeed under the influence.

    Christ, it’s bad enough that the cops can randomly stop you on the roads without actual cause. Is this what we want while we’re walking along our streets, too?

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  5. Tarquin North (298 comments) says:

    I’m doomed.

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  6. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Leadership challenge rumblings from Andrew Williams, I assume?

    But I don’t think we can judge the merits of this, or any other, policy until Asenati has taken to Twitter to school us all in its myriad nuances.

    All in all it wouldn’t be a bad policy if the sentence was compulsory attendance at substance abuse therapy on pain of a prison sentence, rather than just lining the Crown’s pockets again.

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  7. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Rex Widerstrom (5,248 comments) says:
    July 21st, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    All in all it wouldn’t be a bad policy if the sentence was compulsory attendance at substance abuse therapy on pain of a prison sentence, …

    Attendance at such courses to evade imprisonment or conviction are a complete waste of time. Substance abuse therapy on ever works when the attendee is committed to altering their habits. Being made to attend by the Courts, parents, partners, schools etc does not work, unless the person has accepted they have a problem, and that they need to fix that problem. For years it has become a widely abused condition.

    In my opinion we need a ‘behaviour bond’ – sentence deferral or whatever you want to call it, for an extended period of time, where the offender not only completes the course, but has sufficient time to demonstrate that they have reduced/ceased their substance abuse. Then and only then, should they be sentenced on the original charge.

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  8. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I think that’s the approach used by the alcohol and drug court being piloted in Auckland.

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  9. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Regarding being drunk in public used to be an offence, so this is nothing new : – The following information is from a Law Commission report on the issue –

    http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/2010/04/Publication_154_464_Part_40_Chapter%2021%20-%20Alcohol%20in%20public%20places.pdf

    21.2 Public drunkenness, as an offence, was removed from the New Zealand statute book
    with the enactment of the Summary Offences Act 1981.1171 In our Issues Paper,
    Alcohol in Our Lives, we raised the question whether there should be a return
    to such an offence, perhaps as an infringement offence.1172 The public
    consultations disclosed reasonably high levels of support for the reintroduction
    of such an offence in order to make people personally responsible for their
    behaviour. Of the 2,939 submitters, 702 commented on the policy options
    relating to drinking in public places. Of those 702, 60% supported reintroduction
    of the offence of being drunk in a public place. Others raised questions about the
    definition of “drunk”, whether there could be exceptions and whether all
    locations were a concern. The Hospitality Association of New Zealand submitted
    that creation of such an infringement offence would send a clear and powerful
    message to the public that intoxication is unacceptable.1173 It would, therefore,
    provide an element of personal responsibility for an individual’s actions.
    21.3 Data presented to us by the New Zealand Police disclosed that, in 1980, there
    were 7,696 offences of being found drunk in a public place.1174 The submission
    from the New Zealand Police analysed the likely impact of reintroducing drunk
    in a public place as an offence. The submission states:1175
    Re-introducing similar offences in the current drinking environment would bring
    a considerable number of people into the criminal justice system, particularly those
    groups that are already over-represented in the system. The impact would
    be particularly significant on Maori and young people, by bringing them into the
    criminal justice system.
    There would be a significant increase of calls for service through the Police
    communication centres. Because of the visibility of the offence it is likely that many
    complaints would be made to the Police about drunken people in public places.
    Many of these would be during the peak offending times for the Police, when there
    is already high demand for our services. Police’s capacity to enforce this offence would
    damage the community’s perception of the Police.
    contd – see link

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  10. timmydevo (53 comments) says:

    Would this policy apply to someone who say drank wine for six hours at GPK Bar in Takapuna, and then on the way home pulled down his trousers and pissed on a tree?

    “I have a friend….”

    Classic.

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  11. James Stephenson (2,180 comments) says:

    Never mind Takapuna, would the debating chamber count as “a public place” for the purposes of this legislation, and would someone who was to unable to speak coherently or fell asleep mid-debate, meet the definition of “drunk”?

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  12. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    Is saying “Hukka Lodge has been sold to the Chinese “a sign of being drunk or stoned or both?

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  13. Farmerpete (48 comments) says:

    Hell, if Parliament constitutes a public place Winnie will be in strife!

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  14. notrotsky (84 comments) says:

    More importantly would it apply to Winston himself and his brown elephants ?

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  15. Bogusnews (474 comments) says:

    Winston, Winston, Winston. I remember Meturia saying she had no requirement to explain her eating habits any more than he should explain his drinking habits.

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  16. Nigel Kearney (1,013 comments) says:

    RRM, does beating your wife while drunk deserve a greater or lesser sentence than doing the same while completely sober?

    We should punish people who violate the rights of others based on the seriousness of the violation, not what substance was in the offender’s body at the time. Blaming an inanimate object for any crime is silly, whether it is alcohol, drugs, guns or something else.

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  17. Fisiani (1,039 comments) says:

    Sadly all it takes is 1in 20 voters to be a redneck Chinese hating low self esteem ignoramus and we will have the worst policies of all the opposition parties forced down our throats for three long years.

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  18. freedom101 (504 comments) says:

    I can think of 158,000 reasons why this policy would not apply to such a person.

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  19. Scott1 (552 comments) says:

    Why does the law say things like “fines of up to $2000 or three months in prison.”

    Who seriously would choose 3 months in prison over $2000?
    Presumably only those who don’t have $2000…
    My point being that it should be more like “$200,000 or/and 3 months” or “$2000 or/and 4 days.” depending on the seriousness.

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  20. ChardonnayGuy (1,207 comments) says:

    And what about the existing provisions in the Summary Offences Act about being drunk in a public place?

    38 Drinking in public place
    (1)Every person is liable to a fine not exceeding $300 who, in or on any aircraft, hovercraft, ship or ferry or other vessel, train, or vehicle that is carrying passengers for reward,—
    (a)drinks any intoxicating liquor; or
    (b)supplies or offers any intoxicating liquor to any other person for consumption there; or
    (c)has in his possession or under his control any intoxicating liquor for consumption there.
    (2)For the purposes of subsection (1), if any aircraft, hovercraft, ship or ferry or other vessel, train, or vehicle carries any passengers while under charter it shall be deemed to be carrying those passengers for reward.
    (3)Without limiting subsection (1), every person under the age of 18 years commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding $300 who, in any public place (or in a vehicle in any public place) and while not accompanied by his or her parent or legal guardian,—
    (a)drinks any intoxicating liquor; or
    (b)has in his possession or under his control any intoxicating liquor for consumption there

    Moreover, the Summary Offences Act has ample other comparable sanctions in its other clauses:

    Offences resembling nuisance

    32 Excreting in public place
    33 Billsticking
    34 Throwing stones
    35 Setting off or throwing fireworks
    36 Lighting fires
    37 Disturbing meetings

    Intimidation, obstruction, and hindering Police

    21 Intimidation
    22 Obstructing public way

    Offences against public order

    3 Disorderly behaviour
    4 Offensive behaviour or language
    5 Disorderly behaviour on private premises
    5A Disorderly assembly
    7 Fighting in public place

    Have these slipped Winston’s mind, or does he intend to harden existing penalties in this context related to some of the above? Are there cases for doing so, or cases against?

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  21. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Those provisions do not make being drunk in public an offence.

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