The Social Worker - Barbara Te Kare
Social worker at Tamaki College and member of the Glen Innes Drug and Alcohol Group.
Barbara Te Kare says those opposed to alcohol price rises need to stop thinking about having to pay a little more for a glass of wine and start considering the positive impact a price rise could have in a household where alcohol is abused.
“That’s what I’d like people to think more about. In the end, we’ll have a better quality of life, especially for our kids.”
Te Kare is a social worker at Tamaki College. She says Glen Innes, where she has worked in various community roles over the last 33 years, is a decile 1 location with much state housing, but it’s also a community blessed with positivity and a vibrant collection of community agencies.
“There are a small number of people that cause the majority of the harm because of alcohol-related issues.”
She says alcohol instigates or accentuates a variety of social problems in Glen Innes. Te Kare says alcohol-fuelled domestic violence is a big problem, as are the drinking habits of parents whose hangovers render them incapable of getting up in the morning to get their primary-aged children off to school.
“In homes where there’s a lot of alcohol, young people get very confused. They see it every day, and they need to know there’s another way.”
There are many parks and green spaces in Glen Innes but parents do not let their children play in them because they have become too dangerous. Often, there will be groups of young people in their late teens binge drinking in the parks, and broken glass is commonly littered around playgrounds.
When a local stream was recently cleaned up, half the litter pulled out of it was alcohol debris – empty cartons and bottles.
Te Kare is concerned about the proliferation of outlets selling alcohol in her suburb and their proximity to schools.
“It becomes the norm.”
The Glen Innes Drug and Alcohol Group, which Te Kare has belonged to for about 18 months, relayed to the Law Commission its concerns about the ready availability of alcohol. The group also called for a liquor ban in public parks in community neighbourhoods and a rise in both the purchase age and the price of alcohol.
Te Kare says New Zealanders who are not living in an environment where heavy drinking is a concern may be opposed to a price rise for alcohol, but she hopes they will reconsider that stance because they can appreciate the potential benefits of making it harder for heavy-drinking parents and young people to abuse alcohol.
“People are worrying too much about themselves.”