New Zealand: Alcohol Fuels Homicides
Alcohol was a factor in 331 out of 1068 cases of homicide in New Zealand. This translates to 31% of the total.
Stuff’s Homicide Report analysed 1068 cases of homicide involving 591 men, 283 women and 194 young people from January 2004 to March 2019. According to their data alcohol was a factor in at least 336 homicides, 31% of the total. They report the actual figure is likely to be higher because there are many homicides in which we suspected alcohol played a part but were unable to confirm it.
The findings align with international research.
A 2009 study from the Australian Institute of Criminology looked at solved homicides recorded over a six year period. Of the 1565 homicides, nearly half (47%) of the incidents were classified as alcohol-related and of those, over half involved both the victim and offender consuming alcohol prior to the incident.
In a 2012 paper, Massey University professor Sally Casswell found the proportion of offenders affected by alcohol in New Zealand was greater (44%) than the proportion of victims (35%).
She also found that of the 357 deaths of children and young people (aged four weeks to 24 years) during the years 2005 to 2007, one in four involved alcohol.
Alcohol harm in New Zealand
As the WHO reports, alcohol per capita consumption in New Zealand is 10.7 litres which is comparatively higher than the average for the WHO western pacific region. Binge alcohol use is staggering in youth between 15 to 19 years where more than half the alcohol using youth engage in this harmful habit. Alcohol use disorders are also higher than the regional average for men in New Zealand.
In this view it is imperative that the government takes strong alcohol control policy action to curb the alcohol harm.