Since December 18, 2013 the national maximum trading hours for all on‐licence (8 a.m. to 4 a.m.) and off‐licence premises (7 a.m. to 11 p.m.), was established ending the existing 24‐hour licences. The new study analyzed hospital records of patients discharged after assault during the weekend and cases of assault recorded by the police to measure the effectiveness of the implemented policy.
The study has found that following the new restrictions in 2013,
- the number of assault-related hospitalisations reduced by 11%,
- the decline was the largest among 15 to 29-year-olds, who made up more than half of those hospitalised, at 18%, and
- number of assaults recorded by the police reduced.
The findings were heartening and were consistent with both reduced numbers of assaults and reduced severity of injuries, due to lower levels of intoxication late at night,” said Professor Emerita Jennie Connor, lead author of the study from the University of Otago, as per New Zealand Doctor.Jennie Connor, Professor Emerita, University of Otago
It seems the restrictions did not affect most of the alcohol outlets either. More than 90% of alcohol outlets were not affected by the changes, as they were already operating within the maximum hours. Those that were compelled to close earlier had been disproportionately contributing to alcohol-related assaults.
Professor Connor has said even stronger restrictions on night alcohol sale would be better.
New Zealand’s alcohol regulations are still very permissive and further reductions could provide many benefits with little downside. California is an example of 2am closing being compatible with a vibrant nightlife,” said Professor Connor.Jennie Connor, Professor Emerita, University of Otago
The research, published in the international scientific journal Addiction, is part of a larger University of Otago project to evaluate the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.