Source: Radio New Zealand, 14 January 2016
British anthropologist Dr Anne Fox last year released an
international, alcohol industry-sponsored study which blamed New
Zealand's macho culture, rather than alcohol, for violent
"When you blame alcohol for this, what you're doing is you're
taking the spotlight off the real cause which is violent people
committing violent acts," she said.
"No one is actually looking at the perpetrators of this violence
and trying to devise reasonable ways of preventing this. By blaming
the alcohol we are simply giving them an excuse to commit further
acts of violence."
Now, Auckland University students have published a retort,
saying the study is, in a word, wrong.
One of the researchers behind the article, PhD student Nicki
Jackson, said Dr Fox's study was "dangerous", as it undermined far
more credible research that proves alcohol is a factor in violent
"We were absolutely compelled to provide a counter-argument to a
report we thought was low in standard in terms of scientific
research, and one which stood in the way of efforts to reduce the
harm in New Zealand and Australia."
The study was biased as it was entirely funded by alcoholic
beverage giant Lion, she said. Left unchecked, it could end up
being promoted by government agencies to defend alcohol laws.
"It basically mirrors exactly what the industry has been saying
for years, that you don't have to change the drinking, rather
factors around the drinking," she said.
Ms Jackson said she was in favour of potentially reducing bar
opening hours and raising the price of alcohol.
Hospitality New Zealand president Adam Cunningham described
alcohol as a "social lubricant", and said bar managers and bouncers
knew how to respond when things escalated.
"It's an important responsibility we hold to help be a part of
the team which helps keep people safe," he said.
"People should be more concerned worrying about violence in the
homes, which is where the much bigger issue is."
Police statistics show about a third of violent offending
involves alcohol in some way.
Dr Fox has been contacted for comment.