Jack Yan hears Wellingtonians' alcohol policy concerns first-hand
Wellington, June 19 (JY&A Media) Wellington City mayoral candidate Jack Yan last night heard the concerns of Wellingtonians around the city’s draft alcohol policy by working behind the bar at Dragonfly.
‘Like all Wellingtonians, I’ve witnessed what the city can be like on a busy Friday or Saturday night, but engaging with citizens gives you an even clearer picture,’ he says.
‘The Wellingtonians I spoke to last night believe that early closings were tantamount to punishing the majority for the misdeeds of a small minority.’
Mr Yan served drinks at Dragonfly on Courtenay Place alongside co-owner Brent Wong and bar staff, talking to locals through the evening.
Fresh from the launch of Martin Crowe’s autobiography Raw were Mr Crowe himself and his wife, image consultant and former Miss Universe Lorraine Downes, who came to support Mr Yan.
He says that when attending a WCC meeting last week, where many interested parties gave presentations, there was a sense of strongly opposing views. He was more interested, however, at getting to the core of the problem.
‘At the meeting, we hadn’t heard presentations from everyday punters, nor did we hear from the Health Promotion Agency, and these were seemingly obvious gaps that I felt had to be addressed,’ he says.
Mr Yan says that he accepts a lot of the views of those who presented, from the need for better public transportation after hours and a greater police presence, and keeping the centre of Wellington vibrant. He says he has also read the City Council’s own residents’ survey on the role of alcohol.
The balance must come, he says, from the city working with central government agencies on programmes to discourage “pre-loading”, and using the council’s discretion on punishing only irresponsible bar owners.
‘We seem to want to punish all bar owners because that discretion has not been exercised,’ he says. ‘We are a small enough city to be able to target individuals rather than entire precincts.’
He adds, ‘The presentation from Dr Stephen Palmer at Regional Public Health indicates a causal link between pre-loading and the alcohol-related incidents recorded by the hospital.
‘What each side seemed to disagree on was the percentage of “pre-loaders”, though they all agreed it was happening and that it was undesirable. It’s a good place to start.
‘I realize the police are concerned that the bars are a magnet for young people but that is more a consequence of successful marketing by the venues, something that we should not discourage if we are to maintain the hospitality sector in our city.’
Mr Yan says that the marketing efforts of bars tended to target all audiences, including visitors to the city.
Closing them early would shift drinking to different areas in Wellington where police could find it harder to patrol and identify criminals.
He says he would, if elected later this year, encourage partnering with police on crime prevention as a way of reducing the rate of offences after 3 a.m. and to ensure residents in the inner city have a safer and cleaner environment.
For events where a higher number of hospital admissions are recorded, such as the Sevens, Mr Yan believes that partnering with programmes such as the HPA’s present ‘Yeah nah’ campaign in the lead-up as well as attracting better entertainment acts would reduce crime, emergencies, and associated social costs.
However, Mr Yan maintains, as he did in 2010, that the antisocial elements of the drinking culture stems in part from citizens feeling concerned for their futures, and especially about the economy.
‘We don’t engage elements of our population on the direction this city should move in. We aren’t having a conversation with, say, younger people, or with our Māori and Pacific populations. I don’t see it as any surprise that we can so readily identify at-risk groups.
‘Much of this has come from treating people differently and even excluding their voices altogether,’ he says. ‘Certain elements in the establishment are not setting an example and we are approaching drunkenness both with acceptability and as bravado.
‘It’s why I felt it was important to be the only candidate to publish a comprehensive manifesto and a 10-point plan on getting our economy moving, as part of generating dialogue.’
He believes the compromise position that was presented by the Hospitality Association of a shift in licensing hours, coupled with greater cooperation between the police, the Association and WCC officers on identifying trouble spots, would help, but warns that it must come with real change in this year’s local body elections.
The Wellington City Council will begin consultation on its alcohol management strategy and draft local alcohol policy on July 2.
Note to editors
This release may be viewed online at http://jyanet.com/info/2013/06/jack-yan-hears-wellingtonians-alcohol-policy-concerns-first-hand/.
Additional images may be downloaded from http://jyanet.com/press/photo.htm.
A short video from the evening, directed by Isaac Cleland and edited by Lawrance Simpson, can be found at https://vimeo.com/68679891.
About Jack Yan
Jack Yan founded Jack Yan & Associates (http://jya.net), one of the world’s first virtual firms, in 1987, operating internationally. Among his company’s interests are business consulting, imaging, software and media, including the fashion magazine brand Lucire. He writes on topics, ranging from branding and business responsibility to fashion and typography, in numerous publications and journals worldwide and is a regular international speaker. He serves on the editorial board for The Journal of Brand Management. He has authored or co-authored numerous books, including Beyond Branding, Typography and Branding and, most recently, Nation Branding: Country Concepts and Cases. His personal site is at jackyan.com. He is a director of the Medinge Group (http://medinge.org), a think-tank in Sweden devoted to cutting-edge branding. He was one of the parties behind the successful bid for Miss Sweden in 2003 for Panos Emporio, and is general counsel of the Miss New Zealand Consortium, the New Zealand licensee for Miss Universe. Since 2006, he has been a mentor with Business Mentors New Zealand. In 2013, he announced his second bid for the mayoralty in Wellington, New Zealand, after netting 12 per cent of the vote on his first attempt.
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