Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Danny Watson-- you are so right about the raising booze prices issue

Danny Watson pontificates a lot, then, that is his job. I know he has to stir us up a bit to keep his talkback show going and to maintain ratings (See my next book---TALK TO ME----it is inspired by Danny, but of course I take it a  whole lot further). I too pontificate, all to try and get you lot going. You don’t make comments on my blog, but you are on Facebook---great. It’s all about dialogue and discussion. That has to be good.
I don’t always agree with Danny, but for the most part, he says what many people are too scared to say. He often makes sense. Take for example his stand on ‘raising the price of booze, in order to make it less accessible and somehow improve the miss- behaviours we are regularly witnessing on our streets late at night. I think some Labour politicians were suggesting that raising the price would alleviate some of the problem.
Now many of you know that I have given the national Government a hard time, for good reason, but when I hear something like this, I see red. What a load of crap. How the hell is raising the price of b ooze going to help? Are you going to suggest prohibition next?  History tells us that the result will be the same. Making booze harder to get (either through prices or outlet availability is not going to make one iota of difference. If people want to drink, they will find a way, whether it is through illegal outlets or through making their own--- the problem will remain.
Danny rightly makes the point that ‘why should those of us who treat alcohol sensibly be punished because of the behaviours of a minority of our citizens? Many of those ringing in to Danny’s show, told of how they enjoy the odd drink or two and that it is one of their few simple pleasures. I agree. These very same people probably don’t go into the city at night, for a range of reasons, one of which would be their perceived safety, though others, like me--- their age. I would hate to see them penalized because of the ‘one brush suites all,’ approach as suggested by these deluded politicians. John Key is correct in his assertions this time. Raising the price of booze will just encourage pre-loading, allowing the ‘revellers’ to then drink water rather than pay the hiked-up prices in the bars or at the bottle-stores.
The answer is simple and possibly a bit expensive in the short term. It really is an example of ‘no pain no gain,’ in the sense that we need to spend some money on ‘policing the bad behaviours.’ Get tough on the people who choose to use the streets to party, making them unsafe for the rest of us.
Arrest those going beyond responsible behaviours. Lock them up in relatively unpleasant surroundings (properly supervised of course) and fine the backsides off them. Do not release them until they have paid the fines. Step up the fines for recidivist offenders. They will soon get the message.
OH---- I can hear some of you saying---‘but what if they don’t pay the fines--- there are heaps of people out there who flaunt such fines for other offences.’
I say----‘then kill two birds with one stone.’ Isn’t it about time we hardened up on other fine-jumpers too?’
When I look back on my musings now, I frighten myself a bit. Am I turning into an old moaner or some sort of kill-joy type of person? Gosh, I hope not. I suspect that like many of you, I believe we have let things go fat too far. I feel terribly uncomfortable with the scenes we are witnessing on TV. Young people, and not so young, being so drunk that they do not remember a thing the next day. I know I have had some colourful experiences in my youth, but I also know that the streets were safer.  I don’t want us to become like our British cousins who now have a culture of ‘pre-loading’ and then heading for town, causing mayhem and God knows what consequences for their future health.
Take another angle. What tourists (although I would not be surprised if some of them are joining in on the disorder) would want to frequent our central cities, only to be accosted by some drunk and out-of-it twat, totally destroying their evening out. Even some of the largest cities in the world display better behaviours and provide a far safer environment for their guests and citizens alike. Jakarta or Bangkok with their 18 plus million people were far more pleasant experiences for me. OK—I didn’t go to the poverty-ridden areas, but what tourists visit our poorer suburbs other than on the Saturday markets?
Once again I say that we should claim back our streets. If that means kicking some butts, then go ahead.