Len’s booze problems, Ctd

Len Brown

Via the tipline

Last week’s post showing Len’s Now Got Booze Problems has seen the tip line alive with insider information from disgruntled local board members.

Len had the casting vote, and voted for regional approach to District Licensing Committee which was a slap in the face for local boards wanting more say over booze issues in the areas they know the most about.

As a token gesture to local boards, the Governing Body allowed Angela Dalton, Chair of Manurewa Local Board to present to them about the explosion in booze shops in Manurewa and the havoc that they’re inflicting on the residents. And driving a lot of this concern are the RTD alcopops.

Then I saw this via the tipline.

A WO reader has done a quick calculation about RTDs pumped out by the booze industry in NZ. Based on Customs figures, in 2010 there was near on 57 million litres of lolly-water RTDs manufactured locally.  Sounds like a lot, so a bit meaningless.  


57 million litres of lolly-water RTDs manufactured locally

So they thought about some comparisons. 57 million litres of lolly water RTDs equivalent of:

v  23 Olympic-size swimming pools

v  5,680 large road-tankers

v  Nearly a day’s water supply from the Waikato River to Auckland residents

v  10 days water supply for Pukekohe

v  20 days water supply for Warkworth

v  15 Kelly Tarlton shark tanks or 162 Stingray Bays at Kelly Tarlton

By anyone’s standards that’s a shed-load of booze potentially flowing into the hands of kids in Manurewa. No wonder the local board is not happy with the Council.

Crusher Collins is not happy either.

With David Farrar’s 10th blog birthday bash sponsored by RTD maker Independent Liquor, what’s the bet he’ll be out of the blocks soon defending alcopops.


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  • Insider

    The ‘alcohol wars’ go like this:
    – small liquor retailers blame supermarkets even though supermarkets only sell beer and wine;
    – bars blame everyone else for pre-loading even though once loaded with liquor bar staff and owners are happy to serve intoxicated people who turn up drunk;
    – the supermarkets blame culture and small liquor stores who sell RTD’s and spirits;
    – the police blame liquor licensing and want liquor sales controlled;

    • andrew carrot

      You know that when a guy wants to start a deli, to sell food from his adjacent restaurant, along with a small amount of high-quality wine to complement the high-end takeaways, and then has his off-license application declined because 1) the RTD outlet across the road and a Liquorland one km away formally opposed, and 2) off-licenses aren’t allowed to sell food other than peanuts and chips, you know the licensing system in Auckland is fucked. This was a unique scenario that many local residents supported, yet Len clearly wouldn’t, in concept anyway. Back to the Ark we do go…

  • Insider

    The problem is many things but not one. Everyone is to blame. Councils, the Police, liquor stores, supermarkets, bars, the law, culture, ethnicity, youth, boredom and then all the public who drink too much and make dicks of themselves.
    Len thinks regional control is the answer. But regionally it is difficult to deal with local issues.

  • Daz

    57 million litres of lolly water vs 300 million of beer?

    • Euan Ross-Taylor

      Beer is consumed by all age groups, whereas lolly water is consumed predominantly by under 25s.

      • Saccharomyces

        Does the age of the drinker matter? Perhaps the fact that parents and other role models are drinking is as much of a gateway as RTD’s?

        • Euan Ross-Taylor

          You raise a different issue. But I agree with you, if the role model demonstrates getting drunk as the aim of drinking, then the role model is flawed.

  • LionKing

    Ahh nice to see David Farrar aka ‘Insider’ already earning his keep from Independent Liquor for the posts.

  • Hillary Green

    My lord that’s an awful lot of alcopops being manufactured. No wonder its young peoples drink of choice. My daughter says that its the only thing her friends are drinking at parties and usually result in all sorts of problems. Those producers should be held responsible for the chaos they create.

    Nice to hear Judith Collins comments about wanting to close down some of those small booze shops in Manurewa. Its a pity Auckland Councillors didn’t bother to listen to people like Angela who really understands the local area.

  • DLM

    Love the comparisons. Manufacturers of RTD should be ashamed of themselves. Time for Collins to give them a serve. I’ve seen that there’s some lame voluntary code covering RTDs which is self-policed by the industry. What a fucking joke. To think that companies like Independent Liquor will comply with it is like saying McDonalds is concerned about obesity.

  • Naylor

    FFS Farrar is turning into a corporate whore. He’s running the polling for the Nats and is in bed with a booze company! How the fuck does that work. No wonder the Nats caved in to the alcohol industry over RTDs.

    RTDs are the drinks the kids binge drink on and then get themselves into trouble. I would like to see more restrictions placed on how they’re sold.

  • Michael

    RTDs have about 7% alcohol, wine has 12%, most spirits have 40%+. People who are drinking to excess are the problem, not the drinks, not the outlets, not the manufacturers.

    • LionKing

      You don’t see kids hooking into a bottle of Cloudy Bay Sav. Perhaps occasionally into mum’s Vodka, but sure as the sun comes up in the morning, RTDs are gateway products into more boozing. That’s why they need greater attention than wine or spirits. Let’s not forget the pricing for them as well – cheap as piss.

      • Michael

        You’ll see kids hooking into the Vodka if you ban RTDs. There are plenty of cheap spirits on the market already.

        If you think banning RTDs means the end of excessive drinking then please get in contact as I have a bridge for sale.

      • Saccharomyces

        They didn’t exist when I was a teenager, we just drank cheap vodka – straight most of the time! Or mixed with rasberry fizzy drink.

      • James

        When I was a kid there weren’t many RTDs available. So we used to mix vodka with Ribena and drink that out of water bottles. I even took some into my A-level maths exam like that.
        Banning RTDs because kids drink them is stupid – as kids will just drink something else if they aren’t available. Deal with the suppliers, rather than the product supplied. And deal with the behaviour rather than the drink – as it is perfectly possible to be drunk without being a nuisance.

    • kehua

      Trouble is the kids` are supercharging the RTD`s with elcheapo Tequila / Vodka/Gin to up the alcahol and kill the sugar.

      • Michael

        Precisely, banning RTDs is going to solve exactly zero problems with binge drinking. Just bump up cheap and nasty spirit sales, plus the sale of Coke and juice.

  • Obese1

    Yes, comparing it to those huge items makes it sound worse.
    Maybe the fact that 57,000,000 litres is actually less than 1 alcopop each per week would set some context.

    However given that most of he population dont drink these, using 4M people is a bit of a stretch, so maybe let’s assume 500K people drink them occasionally each year. That’s 6 each per week, so now it sounds like a lot again. However given the low alchol strength (compared to wine), maybe using a rough calculator (wine avg 13% alco pop 4%-8% so avg 6%) means equiv of just over 1 bottle of wine per week. Again sounds small.

    But now ignore the alcohol and look at the Sugar and you have a real problem (the Sugar and artificial flavouring hide the taste of the low quality alcohol). It’s about 0.8kg of extra sugar per week on top of any fizzy drinks and normal food.

    “The reality is that these drinks are just cheap alcohol, artificial flavorings, and lots of added sugar, giving them more calories than beer. Three alcopops have more calories than a ¼ pound burger and a small fries.”

    • Euan Ross-Taylor

      Given that there are about 300000 kiwis aged 15 – 25 yrs and this is the age group that consumes most of the alcopops, then your 1 alcopop each per week is somewhat out of context. If you now work it out with these figures, each young person is consuming around 9 RTD’s per week. Now I will let someone else guess how many of these young people actually don’t drink any RTD’s.

      • James

        Is it really the 15-25 age bracket? Or is that for some RTDs rather than all of them?
        I’m partial to the occasional RTD rum and coke / whiskey and coke and my Mum enjoys the RTD G&Ts when out fishing.

        • Euan Ross-Taylor

          My kids have already stopped drinking RTDs (3 of them) and they are 20 -24 years old. I don’t know any adults who drink them but I see my experience may not be the norm?

          • GregM

            Two or three times a year I would buy a 4 pack of G & T’s, but I don’t know anyone else my age ( 49 ) who does the same.

  • Anonymouse Coward

    I like canned RTD’s. My families typical use of them is on picnics. My mother who does not like to drink beer or wine likes a canned gin and tonic. The can is preferable in a picnic situation over glass and easier to carry a away after the picnic.

    I encountered RTD whiskey and cokes, my first reaction was this was an abomination and the person responsible should be run through with a highland broadsword, however on sampling the product I was pleasantly surprised.

    My plea to RTD manufacturers is to produce RTD versions of traditional cocktails even singles of canned wine.

  • James

    Who gives a shit about how and where RTDs are sold? Where they are sold is irrelevant; where they are drunk is irrelevant; the only thing that is relevant is the behaviour of the individual after drinking them.
    If they do not make a nuisance of themselves then that’s fine – no need to worry, move along, nothing to see here.

    If they do behave in a drunk and disorderly manner then arrest them, throw them in a drunk tank, put them in front of a magistrate the next morning and do not let them go until they have paid a $1,000 fine.
    The only times the place of sale matters are if the person is behaving in a drunk and disorderly manner and continues to be sold the booze, or if the person is under age. In both cases the remedy is simple; close the establishment down for a day for the first offence in a 365 day period, for a week for the second and then remove the licence for the third.
    It isn’t hard – and, most importantly, it doesn’t restrict the freedoms of people who just want to enjoy a drink.