CAYAD Ōtautahi mobilises community to reduce alcohol harm

Thursday 25 November 2021

St John of God Hauora Trust

CAYAD (Community Action on Youth and Drugs) in Ōtautahi has mobilised community support to prevent three liquor stores from reopening in Christchurch East.

The stores were shut when the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority stripped the previous owners of their licenses due to serious breaches in employment law. The stores were also selling cheap singles, which the Authority considered inappropriate in a lower socio-economic community.

CAYAD is a public health initiative that aims to reduce the harm young people experience from alcohol and other drugs. In Ōtautahi, CAYAD is operated by St John of God Waipuna, a social services agency that delivers a range of services for young people.

St John of God Waipuna lodged objections against all three licensing applications and is advocating for community action via its CAYAD team.

CAYAD Senior Project Worker, Paul McMahon, said “this is a unique opportunity to reduce harm in Christchurch East. There is no way there should be three liquor stores within 1.2km radius in a deprived community like ours, nearby a number of primary and secondary schools and community organisations.”

“Our experience working with rangatahi in this area, confirms the body of local and international evidence on alcohol. We know that availability and price are strongly connected to alcohol-related harm, so keeping these stores closed will reduce that harm.”

“The CAYAD team encourages people to get in touch about issues they have on their streets with alcohol-related harm – whether that be rubbish, vandalism, noise from parties, or more serious things like violence and crime.”

“It is simply not fair that more deprived communities like ours have to put up with such a saturation of liquor stores. Poverty and inequality are compounded by such ready access to cheap alcohol.”

“We have noticed a marked improvement since these stores were shut. That’s a good story to tell and I’d love to hear from people about their experience,” said McMahon.

Big Barrel Enterprises Ltd, which currently has no stores in Christchurch, has applied to takeover two stores on Pages Rd – one on the corner of Cuffs Rd and the other opposite Ngā Hau E Wha National Marae. A Christchurch company that owns three other bottle stores, Satya Enterprises, has applied for a store on the corner of Gloucester St and Woodham Rd.

Objections closed on 22 November (Big Barrels) and 24 November (Bottle O), but objectors can submit evidence for consideration at the hearings (like in the New Year). Contact the CAYAD Senior Project Worker Paul McMahon to discuss your views at [email protected].