8 Mar 2019

Alcohol harm: Impact on Māori taken to Tribunal

6:34 pm on 8 March 2019

A Māori warden has filed an urgent claim with the Waitangi Tribunal arguing laws around the sale and supply of alcohol disproportionately impact Māori.

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Photo: 123RF

David Ratu from South Auckland initially took the claim to the tribunal in 2017.

He said in his 30 years serving as a Māori warden he had seen an increase in alcohol outlets situated in areas of high deprivation and near kōhanga reo, kura kaupapa and marae.

He claimed Māori were twice as likely to die from alcohol-attributed death and binge drink than non-Māori.

He said Māori were over-represented in cases of violence, sexual assault and serious car crashes where alcohol had been a factor.

"Tomorrow someone will be raped or sexually abused, and alcohol will be a factor. Tomorrow someone will hit their wife, and alcohol will be a factor. Tomorrow children will be hit, and alcohol will be a factor. Tomorrow someone will be in a serious car crash, and alcohol will be a factor.

"Tomorrow a 14-year-old kid will be standing outside an alcohol outlet vomiting because they drank alcohol. And those people are statistically more likely to be Māori than any other demographic."

The application recommends that the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act be amended to ensure Māori are included in bodies that decide whether an alcohol licence is granted.

It also calls for the Act reflect the principles of active protection, consultation and good faith and ensure proper recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi.