Drink cam­paign on

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By PETRICE TAR­RANT

Buy­ing booze from Toko­roa su­per­mar­kets will be a con­spic­u­ous task come to­mor­row when all al­co­holic bev­er­ages will be packed into bright yel­low bags that read ‘‘Are you a re­spon­si­ble host?’’

And if it helps re­duce the harm caused in the com­mu­nity by al­co­hol then it will be well worth it, ac­cord­ing to Akarere Henry.

The South Waikato Com­mu­nity Ac­tion Group chair­woman said both New World and Count­down have jumped on board the Host Re­spon­si­bil­ity Re­source project which will see re­spon­si­ble host dis­plays placed in the al­co­hol sec­tions as well as the use of bright yel­low bags to pack al­co­holic pur­chases in.

The ac­tion group was formed out of the South Waikato So­cial Sec­tor Tri­als and is a com­bi­na­tion of many dif­fer­ent com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing SWPICS, Po­lice, YMCA, CareNZ and the Liquor Ac­cord.

Re­duc­ing lev­els of al­co­hol and other drug use by young peo­ple is one of four out­comes the group is work­ing to­wards.

She said the stands placed in the su­per­mar­kets’ al­co­hol sec­tion is an orig­i­nal idea that will hope­fully ‘‘sow the seed’’ of re­spon­si­ble host­ing.

‘‘To our knowl­edge as a group we haven’t seen any­thing like this out there.

‘‘We can’t stop them drink­ing but we can try to get peo­ple to think about [re­spon­si­ble host­ing] a bit more.’’

The stand will in­clude recipes for mock­tails and other non­al­co­holic bev­er­ages.

The bright yel­low bags at the check­outs is an idea evolved from a project that is still run­ning in Te Kuiti, Henry said.

‘‘The so­cial sup­ply of al­co­hol to mi­nors was their fo­cus. We adapted their idea to marry it with our new re­source.’’

She said the project in Te Kuiti was ‘‘very suc­cess­ful’’.

If the same suc­cess is felt in Toko­roa the ini­tia­tive will be of­fered right across the dis­trict, in­clud­ing to Pu­taruru and Ti­rau off-li­censes.

‘‘I’m re­ally stoked, at least it’s a start.’’

The project re­ceived an ini­tial one-off fund­ing from the Waikato Dis­trict Health Board but Henry said any fu­ture print­outs or bag pro­duc­tion runs will need to be funded in­de­pen­dently.

Both su­per­mar­kets latched on to the idea.

Toko­roa po­lice al­co­hol harm re­duc­tion of­fi­cer Jaks Sher­wood

have said it is a move in the right di­rec­tion.

She said 80 per cent of po­lice work na­tion­wide is re­lated to al­co­hol.

‘‘Some­times it seems to be more than that [in Toko­roa] but there are other un­der­ly­ing fac­tors like a com­bi­na­tion of al­co­hol and drugs or liv­ing in a low so­cio-eco­nomic com­mu­nity.’’

She said it is ‘‘awe­some’’ to see so many groups come to­gether un­der the South Waikato Com­mu­nity Ac­tion Group um­brella for a common pur­pose. ‘‘ The groups are all in­di­vid­ual iden­ti­ties but they’re all quite pas­sion­ate about the mes­sage be­ing raised; When you have a party look after your mates. All that good stuff that we all know about.’’

She said sur­veys handed out to­mor­row at the pro­mo­tion day will be used to gauge back from the pub­lic, the like­li­hood of think­ing about non-al­co­holic bev­er­ages.

‘‘We do hope to make a dif­fer­ence and change the mind­set of par­ty­go­ers.’’

ARE YOU? Toko­roa su­per­mar­kets will be bag­ging all al­co­holic drinks in bright yel­low bags in an at­tempt to raise aware­ness around re­spon­si­ble host­ing and New World store man­ager Darin Mor­gan is right be­hind the project.

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